“Community” has always been a concept that women embrace for caregiving, as Shelley Taylor discusses in her book, “The Tending Instinct.” Through the ages, from prehistoric times until now, communities in which women “tend and befriend” each other have allowed them to survive and even thrive.
Now the presence of community is contributing to the new movement of “aging in place,” seniors remaining in their own homes rather than moving elsewhere. Studies indicate that over 90% of the elderly prefer this option and that it provides a better quality of life for them. This alternative is generally less expensive but depends on the input of a group of people to make it possible.
Pilot projects in several cities have been set up to coordinate services for groups of the aging population – labeled naturally occurring retirement communities – so that they can remain in their homes. These programs are having positive results, offering independence and safety through the connection to community. New social interactions have led to greater efficiencies as neighbor helps neighbor in need. This growing trend attests to the power of women working together to accomplish more than they could alone.
As a Sandwiched Boomer, how would you feel about your parents’ participation in the “aging in place” phenomenon? Are there resources such as these in your areas? Would it reduce your stress to draw upon the community to assist with the care of your parents?