Sunday, September 09, 2018


Earlier I wrote HERE about my interest in the concept of living in place in which I’m engaged.

I’ve had a related idea I decided to pursue that attracted the interest of others to whom I presented my thoughts earlier this year.    Subsequently, I mentioned here I would be sharing further information on the matter in the future. 

Meanwhile, some of the questions and thoughts I considered follow, that I think many of us have had or will have sooner or later.   

Where do we want to live these later years of life? 
When should we begin thinking about how and where we’ll live in these later years?   Probably we’ve gradually been accumulating thoughts on the subject for a long time as have I.

Our work, financial status and family or friends are usually the major factors influencing how we formulate our plans.  These are matters we each must assess individually.

What sort of living arrangement do we prefer?   Many factors will determine if we’ll live with others or on our own.

Our choices can include preferring housing with age limit requirements as for Seniors – usually age 50 or 55 and up.   Some classic groupings involve housing in Assisted Living or Retirement Communities, the latter offering multiple levels of care.

Select living settings are sometimes needed by those with any one of a variety of special medical needs, such as those experiencing behavioral problems, some cognitive issues affecting memory in dementia types, especially including Alzheimer’s Disease.

Those are some of the considerations in our decision-making process about our later life living environment. 

Another thought crossing my mind is that unlike the early years of our lives some choices we could make might leave us with less opportunity to alter them later, if for some reason we might desire to do so.  So, wise consideration of these issues can matter.

Choosing an option characterized with that broad label of Aging in Place usually means living in the community rather than in residential care as described in "The Gerontologist" article HERE.  The research discusses this choice
     “ linked to sense of attachment and social connection”
     “ linked to sense of security and familiarity: home as a refuge, community as a resource”
     “ tied to sense of identity, linked to independence and autonomy

The person(s) aging in place may be living in a room, apartment, mobile home, house, with or without friends, family and this may also even include their receiving any care-giving help needed but they must seek these services.

I have preferred to think of this Aging in Place arrangement as Living in Place with the emphasis on a goal of living, even though we are also aging.  

That brings me to elaborating on my idea, as I occasionally mentioned it in earlier posts and elsewhere, to an activity I proposed to our local city-coordinated Senior Services.  My idea was enthusiastically received, has been developed, expanded upon and implemented beginning this week. 

In the collaborative process of creating this offering, what I consider to be a most descriptive name suggested in our group was provided which most precisely describes what participants want.

Not only will be aging in place, with a focus on living, but what we really want is to thrive in the process. 

So, our group will be known as and directed toward “Thriving in Place”.  

This is the most recent brief summary as it appears in our city’s monthly digital newsletter, "The Clicks", announcing this new program with monthly meeting dates and times. 

Aging can often pose new emotional and technical challenges, especially for those who wish to live independently at home for as long as possible. Join this group of peers as they discuss issues and trends, exchange information and tips, and receive informational presentations about living in place.”

The extent of my involvement I’ve limited to acting as a facilitator as I’ve envisioned this group to be very dynamic – adapting and fluctuating with the needs of participants which may change in the future.   The value of the gatherings will be dependent upon the attendees’ involvement and participation which I’ll certainly be encouraging to be strong. 

We’ve established through a variety of means, including survey questions, the demographics of initially interested attendees.  They will present a variety of differing perspectives including those of some who live alone – also subgroups of those both with and without friends and/or family in the area – with and without support systems.  There will be couples physically independent, others less so; some who are caregivers for a spouse/companion and any other possible situation as might be imagined.  Some are already committed to the idea of “Thriving in Place” and doing so. 

Others want to explore the idea to determine if this or another option would be best for them and discuss what are those other options.  Sharing experiences, positive and negative may benefit one another. 

We will have multiple sources for presentations for which the group has expressed interest.   I have specified wanting others to be responsible for arranging those sessions as I choose to limit my group obligations.  I also want the group to be able to thrive without the dependence of my presence.   

Offerings examples of some of our resources, in addition to other type living accommodations, there are a number of senior communities, at least three within a half-mile of our meeting center, offering all levels of care which I have served at one time or another when I was working.  Other desirable settings are available though at slightly greater distance.  Most offer get-acquainted sessions of their own interested individuals are encouraged to attend, often focused on downsizing.  

A prominent member of our group is associated with our local non-profit group REAL Connection 
that established in our city a decade or so ago.   Joining this group which does have a subscription charge can be very beneficial and will be one more resource of value.   This organization came into prominence on the east coast years ago based on the Village concept you can read about HERE.   There may be a similar group in your area.

I’m very enthusiastic about this free “Thriving in Place” group meeting the needs of some in our community including mine, who want to interact with others choosing this living arrangement.  This group does offer a socialization opportunity, too, through this shared living style community.

I know some bloggers I visit here are “Thriving in Place”.  Others are living in or have tried some of the options as in Assisted Living with various reactions.  Perhaps, some are currently living in retirement communities offering all levels of care.  Others, only now, may be considering where they’ll live in their later years.

What choices have you made about where and how you want to live in your aging years, or what options are you considering?   

Any thoughts you may have about our “Thriving in Place” community group are also welcome.


  1. I love the name, Thriving in Place. In my opinion, finding the right, forward thinking facilitator is going to be key to its success, assuming you don't want the full-throated responsibility.

    I struggle so MUCH over the decision of moving or staying where I'm at. At my age I don't have time to correct mistakes, if I don't make the right choice. A local group to discuss my choices with would be great.

    1. Perhaps you could start a similar type group where you are. My perception of the group has been to deliberately not have one person assuming "the full-throated responsibility" as you put it. In fact, I had envisioned rotating facilitators from the group since the more involved, the stronger, but we'll see how the meetings evolve. The REAL Connections gal will be available to be involved as will selected staff at the Center so there will be continuity, but not all on the shoulders of one person. I can envision that attendees will be involved for a period of time, then leave as their situations change, but, hopefully, new people be participating. Flexibility for change in attendees, topics, focus will be of the essence.

      Yes, I think the decisions we make determining what options are realistically open to each of us, acting to follow that path, adapting to possible needs to alter that choice when the unexpected occurs, does carry with it a sense of finality and may not be reversible for a variety of reasons. This is unlike life when we were younger, especially when we were still working, when there were more options for change and seemingly more time to effect those actions. Of course, physical endurance, health status may have become more significant factors, too.

  2. I am trying to thrive in place but if I can afford it later, I think I would enjoy assisted living. I have visited enough friends and family in one to see where they are not all that bad and can be entertaining. Effie Wilder wrote quite a bit about her experiences in one.

    1. Wise that you're checking them out, and especially with those residing in any you are considering. Living in these various settings does come down to personal preferences. I'm only vaguely familiar with Effie Wilder's books, but see she published for the first time when she was 85 years -- pretty impressive for what is possible.

  3. We made a deposit on a full-service community several years ago because the waiting list was about five years. Services range from a freestanding 3-bedroom home with yard to a skilled nursing facility and several places in the interim. We are now at the top of the list but can continue to decline and still remain at the top for the next house of which we approve. That said, we have added a stair lift to our home and decorative but functional railing along our stone walkway. We built our home with a walk-in shower and now have had several grab bars placed in appropriate areas of the shower.

    We intended to move when we got to the top of the list, but since we have made the changes we will stay here longer. We live in a gated community with several "good neighbor" clubs that offer transportation, food service and lists of qualified help to hire for personal assistance. And we have long-term-care insurance in case we do need assistance in the future.

    Our biggest negative is that we are in a community without a good hospital so we have a 45-minute drive for hospital care. We had a very negative experience at our local hospital and would never use it again.

    So it seems that by default we are going to stay in our home. Fortunately, we still have the option of moving to the full-service care community at any time we choose.

    1. Sounds like you have provided for various options. Staying at the top of a full service community list when your name comes up is certainly important as I've been told that choice does not always exist with every such group. Hospital service is an important issue, especially as we get older. Perhaps your local hospital will be forced into some improvements in time to come.

  4. I am not only thriving but, also flourishing where I am. I live in my own comfortable three bedroom home with a manageable size garden and get a comfortable pension from a corpus fund that will revert to my heir on my death. I have a comfotable balance in my Savings Bank Account. I hardly need to access these as almost all my living expenses are taken care of by my son. This is quite the norm in India where elders are cared for by their children almost without exception. The exceptions are where the children are away from their home town, like for instance many of our diaspora spread all over the world. I am fortunate that my son has decided to live in India and in our home town.

    I am active in a number of local groups who meet regularly as well as exchange information on social media. My far flung relatives are also in regular touch thanks to modern communication methods.

    My son and daughter in love live with me and spoil me silly with their attention and care.

    I live in India, where middle class families like mine can comfortably afford help and we have three who are more or less part of the family as, they have been with us for decades.

    I have health problems but not so that they come in the way of comfortable living and also not giving trouble to my family. At least that is the condition now.

    And in all humility, I add that, I had very little to do with this very nice state of affairs as, they just happened despite me. I just seem to have been in the right places at the right times.

    And to talk about tomorrow, I will simply state that I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

    1. Sounds like you have an ideal setup. Certainly having that additional help would be an asset to you and the family in many ways. You must give yourself some credit for having achieved this status.

  5. Thank you for your words. I have struggled with this decision and want to be at home and want family but family is impossible. They are not near
    busy with careers and teenagers. Never thought this independent one
    would be needy. I have always had a full life and now most in this area I was close too have past away, I love the smaller home that I built 10 years ago and now have good part time help that is reasonable because of the area I live in. Main desire is to have my family around more, impossible and finding it difficult to accept. Enough sharing
    but since not feeling well for several days nothing seems right.

    1. You seem to be gradually, but successfully, adjusting to living these years with different arrangements than you might have expected or wanted which occurs to many. Glad you have the part time help as having such assistance can be necessary for most, sooner or later. Wanting family around more is a common desire that I heard even from those living in full service retirement communities with all levels of care. Technology today does make it possible to have more contact across the distances . Hope you'll be feeling better soon.

  6. I am afraid that for me this falls under the heading "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans' and I am no longer able to consider much beyond remaining here, and that is not something I relish. Spending the rest of my life at dysfunction junction is very low on my bucket list. If I can make it back to CA and the part of the family I get along with, things would improve but the financial restraints are significant

    1. I like that saying and it surely applies in varying degrees to a lot of us. I'm also reminded of Robert Burns' "The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley". Whatever applies, the end result is we're left with making the best of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. I hope your situation may alter in the future more to your preferences.

  7. I want to age in place, but I think I might be placed in a care home if I am too incompetent to fend for myself.

    1. Perhaps that could be avoided, unless you're referring to becoming mentally incompetent which would mean special considerations. Considering how we manage if a spouse is left to live alone, and/or we become less able to do as much for ourselves can be time well spent. You might want to explore what sort of support systems are available should that situation arise for you or spouse.

  8. This is a very interesting post/article. As I am now on my own I have had all these thoughts: what to do when, how to do it, is there money to pay for it, and, very important: what is it that makes me feel contented and reasonably happy.

    Currently I am determined that I will age in place, i.e. stay in my house, have my friends and acquaintances near, enjoy a social group that fits my own priorities. When the time comes, if it does, and I cannot cope on my own, I will employ carers to assist me, or, in the case of dementia, move into a care home of my choosing. The one where my husband spent his last 7 weeks would be my preferred choice. The house will pay for that and possible one carers.

    Now all I need to do is inform my solicitor and have my wishes made clear for the assorted members of the family.

    Oh dear, that all sounds very dry and theoretical as of now but it may become reality.

    1. "Theoretical" should not be discounted. Our group will be getting into a lot of theoretical I expect. Your plan sounds pretty well thought out. Firming up those wishes with your solicitor and letting family know seems a wise action now. I think you've summed up well the end result we desire: "...very important: what is it that makes me feel contented and reasonably happy."

  9. First and foremost, I think the idea and implementation of such a group or organization is a great idea. Seniors, myself not the least of these, really have a lot to learn and be aware about what is out there waiting for them as they get older and how to deal with it if necessary.

    First and foremost in my opinion as elders making decisions about our measured future is nothing short of a ‘crap shoot’. And in many cases some of those choices we may decide to make are not always as they seem.

    Measuring your financial longevity against your pending choices.

    Trying to make some realistic measure of your current life expectancy.

    Are you expecting or will you be relying on any outside help with your care (family members or friends).

    The financial aspect of aging is a very critical issue for a large majority of us. Most seniors want to avoid going on Medicaid based on concerns for quality care.

    I applaud your efforts in this area and from your referenced posts on the many avenues elders must explore, it is quite obvious you have put a lot of thought into the matter.

    1. Thanks for your input, Alan. I know from reading your blog you've had some first-hand experience with some of the choices we have. I also note an important point you make with which I agree from my professional experience: "Most seniors want to avoid going on Medicaid based on concerns for quality care."

  10. Thriving In Place sounds like a very positive and helpful initiative. Fortunately I don't need such a group at the moment as I'm still fit and healthy - and I have a partner to assist me if need be. But who knows what the future might bring?

    1. Glad to hear that, Nick. After our group's first meeting today, most of our singles and couples appear to be fit and healthy, too. They simply are thinking ahead as to what they might want to do -- stay in their homes, or make other choices. They want to explore available options -- what that living might be like as well as whether not they realistically want to live that ideal preferred option. Just as important, they wonder what are the options if circumstances alter their situation, such as due to unexpected health issues or, becoming a caregiver or other. How we regard and/or plan for the future can vary considerably among individuals I think.

    2. I heard some interesting advice about housing for the elderly - stay in a house with stairs as long as possible, as the stairs give you lots of exercise. If you downsize to a bungalow, you'll get less exercise and be less healthy.

    3. I'd sure agree with that. What some, as friends of mine are considering as they become less mobile and unexpected sudden health issues sometimes make stairs a problem, is installing an aid that carries them up and down. Also, expanding bathroom downstairs to add bathing ability (shower/tub?) is going to be needed. They also may alter furnishings in one area as need a bed since their whole downstairs is open -- no separate room for a private bedroom. I think it's helpful to consider our situations like this before we need the change, to lessen the challenge of having to make sudden unexpected decisions should the need arise -- plus we know we're going to age and likely our physical, maybe mental skills, too, may weaken. Also, assuming a spouse or companion will care for us may be unrealistic. Obviously, financial considerations would be a factor influencing the reality of what remodeling could be done.

  11. A lot of my interest covered here, J. I might add, as you know I live in a seniors independent living building, large sprawling building in wonderful grounds with gardens maintained by residents and outdoor patios with bbqs and a two storey community grand room with library, piano, computers, comfy chairs and large flat screens and jig saw puzzles. What intrigues me utterly are the many 90+ residents here, many driving cards and completely independent. I can't get enough of sitting with them and just listening. Much of the talk involves keeping brains healthy and active and challenged as they have seen many go the way of dementia and be moved to a caring facility. My perception of such elders has completely changed.


    1. That's a real testimony for your independent living environment. I, too, have encountered numerous individuals -- active vibrant 90+ elders. When any one of those developed medical issues requiring they spend some time in skilled nursing unit receiving rehabilitation, they were more prone to recovery. They were able to return to their prior living level, or for some, at least move into an assisted living level.

  12. Hi, I saw your comment on John Grey's blog and you mention thriving in place, which is what I am doing too. I live in California and am retired and living in my home. I volunteer at a retirement home but much prefer my own house which is so much more quiet and peaceful. Nice to meet you, and come on over to my blog and say hi.