If you are like many over-55’s, or are approaching that age, you may be thinking about where to live when you get older.  Maybe it’s in your current home.  Maybe it’s in a different town or city from where you live now. Maybe it’s closer to your family.  Maybe it’s closer to your friends.  Or maybe you want to start a new adventure in your life and move someplace far from family and friends! To make this decision, it’s good to be thinking about what’s most important to you and your basic needs.  Do you want to age in place or do you want to find a new place to age?  Thinking about what you need in a community can help you make the best decision.

According to an interview in Berkeley Wellness,  Marlon Maus, MD, DrPH, author of  “Aging, Place, and Health”says that whileaging is a process that is influenced by many factors throughout one’s life, “place” is a very important factor as your chronological age increases.  While some people opt to stay in their own homes, if you decide to take this route, there are many things to  take into consideration, such as modifying the interior of your home (bathrooms, stairs, entry ways, kitchens), the exteriors of your home (lighting, pathways, security), and the neighborhood in which you live.  Is your current neighborhood conducive to walking, biking, jogging?  Are there exercise facilities nearby that you could perhaps walk to?  Are there easily accessible and safe paths? Are there sidewalks or hills? These are all considerations that will help you determine if your current living situation is ideal or not.

Which community you choose to age in can have an effect on your aging process.  In addition to the actual physical community, a sense of community can also provide benefits to the over-55 population. While your current home may provide a lot of wonderful amenities and benefits, as well as loving and meaningful memories for you, there are things that you have to do to prepare your home for aging in place, as mentioned above.  While that is not an impossible task, it could add to unnecessary stress factors, and stress is something that many of us can live without and want to minimize!  As reported in The Harvard Health Letter, when people get older there is a difference in coping with stress, from when they are younger.  The article notes that cells age, and there is a decline in heart health and capacity as well as lung capacity, in particular if people are not moving around.

While you can’t stop the aging process, you can make choices that improve your ability to maintain an active life, to do the things you enjoy, and to spend time with loved ones.

An option that might come with much lower stress (no home renovations needed!) is exploring senior living communities such as Brookdale Senior Living. Residents find a sense of community, beautiful amenities and a broad choice of exercise programs..  As Dr. Maus says, “aging is a process that spans your lifetime.”

So if you want to age in place, selecting the best place for you to age can make a big difference in your life.

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