By Serene Karplus
Aging in Place
Home is that cozy place filled with memories of family and friends, with things that remind us of those we have loved and who have loved us. It is the place we rest and reenergize for our active days, the place that snuggles us to sleep and refreshes our spirits to share ourselves with others. It is the place from which we launch our lives, our connections with others, our participation in the world around us. Home is where our hearts are and where we hang our hat.
It does not matter whether our home is a spacious mansion or a room in someone else’s house. Home is where we retreat and find comfort, where we relax and find our inner selves. We become attached either to a space or to the things in it as we rely on them to remain constant when life becomes a whirlwind. Challenges of lost loved ones, jobs, or health increase our need for the stability of the familiar at home.
Aging in place is a term that describes our desire to stay in our homes as long as we can. Home may be the space that contains our stuff or it may be our community of people or the natural surroundings that inspire us. If we cannot stay in the four walls we have always known as home, we may move items with us that hold important memories and we may seek another home in our community, where the people and places we care about still surround us, or where we know every tree on our favorite trails.
Aging in place is tough in the mountains. After years of living here, we are tough, too. We push hard to stand against the winds, both of sky and time. Staying in this beautiful place is a top priority for many of us.
Here in Boulder County, many services focus on assisting us in achieving this. Our local Area Agency on Aging recognizes a universal desire to live as long as possible at home and even understands the unique mountain spirit that makes it tough for us to move down to the plains. Caregivers assist several local seniors who want to stay here. We know folks who are homebound caring for spouses suffering from dementia, others who are blind or deaf, others navigating dirt roads in wheelchairs, spouses propping each other up as they battle cancer together or recover from surgeries, and singles surviving illness and injury with occasional help from a friend, family member, or professional caregiver.
When challenges arise, we may need to shift gears to conquer them. Some move to be near family eager to help them. Others may have to temporarily move to assistive facilities. For those of us who want very much to stay at home , we may need to adjust our homes to accommodate the changes in our abilities. Minor alterations occur naturally, as we move items from higher shelves to lower ones and add lamps for better lighting.
Some improvements to our homes can make us more safe and comfortable as our needs change. A visit from an occupational therapist can helps us recognize simple changes we can make or larger scale plans we might consider. This customized view from a medical professional combined with advice from an experienced builder can help us determine what is feasible and practical.
Join us at lunch on Wednesday, October 23, to learn about Home Modification for Aging in Place. Kenna Quiller and Dennis Hudson of Hudson Integrative Health Plus Home, along with Occupational Therapist Cheri Cabrera, share stories and ideas about home modifications that can help us stay in a place we love.
Everyone is invited to the Nederland Area Seniors luncheon at the Nederland Community Center at noon. A donation of $4 is requested from those over 60 years of age and $8.25 all others, but no seniors are turned away due to inability to pay. Please make reservations by 4pm Friday for Monday lunch and 4pm Monday for Wednesday lunch at 303-258-0799.
Monday, October 21: Cheeseburger Pie, Broccoli, Stewed Tomatoes, Apples
Wednesday, October 23: Spinach Cheese Squares, Squash, Pumpkin Bread, Tossed Salad, Fruit