Can you imagine what life would be like if living to 100 is the new normal? That is not an unrealistic possibility. Today there are 75,000 people over 100. The highest age growth bracket is those turning 85. AARP has done a considerable study on this project and they maintain that their focus for the future is to shift the social consciousness of what it means to age in our society. They say, “ageism is so last century”.
One thing that would happen would be a change in the retirement age. It could no longer be thought of as something that happens in the mid 60’s, leaving one with 30 to 35 years with no earned income. Your mid-life crisis would certainly be delayed. What happens to the notion of being old at 80, when you have 20 more years to live? There are currently 111 million people in the US over the age of 50. Because of the various life style changes that have become part of our mind set, people are healthier than they have ever been. These 50-year-olds will be the next 100-year-olds and we better be ready for the kinds of changes they are going to bring.
One of the things that is going to change is how we adapt to aging in place, in our own homes, apartments or condominiums. There is a new movement sweeping the country called Village to Village. Villages provide services to those who choose to live at home as they age.
The Village movement allows people to live in his or her home comfortably, regardless of age or physical ability. Services are provided by vetted volunteers, and they include such things as transportation to and from doctors, to airports, to medical appointments, to wherever the Village member’s needs direct. Transportation may be the major part of the services offered, but others are included as well, like handyman assistance for home maintenance, pet walking, shopping and computer assistance. The Village to Village movement already has 200 villages in place in the US and another 150 in the process of becoming a Village.
Village members will be charged for their services. I’on, in Mt Pleasant, currently has a Village up and running. They charge $650 annually for a family of 2 or more, and $400 for a person living alone. This provides much needed income to run the Village. One of the most expensive items on the Village’s budget is the annual payment of liability insurance on the volunteers as well as the computer systems to carry out the services.
We are proposing to set up a Seabrook Village following the national model outlined above. We will need the help of many Seabrookers to make that possible Will you be one of them? If so, contact Sally Kimball(firstname.lastname@example.org) or Barbara Burgess (email@example.com).
–Submitted by Barbara Burgess