So many things change as we age, and some of those changes can get us down if we let them. One big change can be our living arrangement. Should I downsize? Should I live alone? What kind of support might I need as I age? Where do I want to be? Is it more important to be near activities that I love or surroundings that I love or friends and family that I love? Can I have it all? Can I afford it all?
I ponder all of these questions. What keeps me where I am? Rent control. Reasonably accessible transportation. Access to friends and culture. What are the trade-offs? Long commute. People don’t want to come to Brooklyn, so I entertain less than I’d like. Many friends and all of my family are spread across the country.
In New York, there’s a rise in Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities. These are neighborhoods where supportive services are in place to support the population aging in place. A friend lives in a building that has a call service to check on residents. The Transition Network has something called the Caring Collective to support members facing a medical crisis. Other communities have organizations that sponsor clubs and excursions. My image of Senior Centers was completely changed when I eavesdropped on the bus recently and heard a women speaking about her bridge club, book club, travel group, yoga class and research group, all run by the neighborhood Center.
More and more communal living arrangements are being created. Dina Wilcox and Ann Fry were featured in the New York Post recently. They have a website called Senior Flatmates that focuses on shared living arrangements. for many urban dwellers, this is becoming an increasingly popular alternative as those with large apartments look for creative ways to continue to afford them. Dina and Ann address the challenges of learning, all over again, how to share space.
How will you move forward?