According to recent surveys, the majority of the Americans over 50 prefer to remain at home when they get older, and not to be sent at a nursing home. However, this sort of lifestyle can be quite costly, and not too many of them can afford it.
On top of that, the elder require support services, as many of them become unable to take care of themselves in the proper manner when they reach a certain age. Beryl O’Connor is one of the people who managed to stay at home, but she benefited from a very helpful community. She just turned 80, and for the past 18 years, since her husband dies, she lived alone in her home.
The importance of support services
She stated that she cannot imagine living near old people, and she believes that the reason why she is so healthy and so physically spry is because she remained in her home, and she remained engaged in the community. She is able to live the life she wants thanks to the city of Verona. Located in the close proximity of Newark, the city of Verona has around 13,500 residents who live in less than three square miles. The elder people can use a transportation network designed especially for them, in order to go to medical appointments or shopping trips.
The city benefits from a $100,000 federal grant in order to establish the aging-in-place program called Verona LIVE. The program which is administrated by the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New Jersey, intends to educate the elder about the different services which can help them stay at home, and remaining active in the community. The health and the police departments, the religious groups, the public schools, and the rescue squads are partners of this program.
The elders receive benefit from free safety checks, minor home repairs, and access to a walking club, a job counselor and a social worker. Connie Pifher, a social worker, and Verona’s health coordinator, stated that one of the most important things is to make sure that the elder are able to plan ahead in the proper manner. She said that these people need to know the difficulties they might face by aging at home, and to make sure that they are fully prepared for this type of life.
She also stated that some people have no trouble doing it, whereas others simply cannot handle such a lifestyle, and that it is best for them to go to a retirement community. According to a study from 2005, 89 percent of the people over 50 stated that they would like to age at home. The survey helped with the creation of various programs which help the elders accomplish that desire, programs such as Verona LIVE.
Verona was suitable for such a program, because there are numerous people living in a small area, and many of them are over 65, so they can help each other. There are also village organizations which help people go to various places, such as the market, or to the doctor’s office.