I learned a lot. Yes at 43 I was one of the youngest at the round table at the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) conference yesterday. We discussed aging in place. The discussion made me realize that I have aged in place for the past 18 years and that the plan is to age in place some more.
One concern that was raised was regarding the community and the support we find there. We discussed ‘what is a community’ without looking up the word in the dictionary, we boiled it down to a place or group of people where there is a common fit, interest and provides support. As the conversation progressed I realized that through my children, my work, my neighbourhood and my family that as many hats as I wear in life I believe it is associated with that may types of communities.
We talked about the changes in life and how we progress and that things change and are always changing. Everything transitions and never remains still. Our body. Our health. Our age. Our abilities and interests. Our family. Our children. Our spouse. Our jobs. Our homes. Our environment. The systems around us. Everything is always on the move.
How can we help, plan and talk about aging in place? Is it just to be discussed with the very old? At what age do we start planning to age in place?
It was and is a very interesting conversation. These are my thoughts: everyday belongs to us to decide what to do with. It is our responsibility to plan for our tomorrow on a financial level, health level and emotional level. Should we be thrown a monkey wrench that side tracks our plans the responsibility still remains on us to adjust and figure out how to move forward toward our older days. We all know we are getting older. What do we want for ourselves at 80? I need to start planning that now by investing in things that nourish me, keep me healthy and to enjoy life now and then as well. No one else can do it for me. No one. Ever.
Having young children made me realize that through them my communities have changed with time, from the day care communities and the parents that I saw there, to the elementary days to now the high school days some of my communities have changed.
Many other communities have changed as well. From being a salaried worker to an entrepreneur. From single to married. Form renting to owning in the same neighbourhood. From no kids to Mom. These have all had an effect of ‘communities’ changing and evolving with me through time.
I have aged in place. My life is transitioning before my eyes. I am the one who must adjust to the choices I have made and what I invest in. On one level my children are guiding me towards and away from different communities as they age. Through my passions, my volunteering, my engagements, all of this this guides me through ever changing communities. It is a neat thing to recognize.
I am grateful for having been at that round table yesterday and for the great eye opener, it made me realize that the transitions in life and the communities we have in place are forever in motion and constantly ask us to adapt (without saying it) to keep a good balance. This is aging as well as aging in place.