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Aging in Place

A Promise or a Prison?



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Ordolono, the building manager, says the complications of senior citizenship require more than a building manager's help. Society, she says, will have to begin investing if aging in place is actually to benefit society. "It would be really helpful to have a social worker assigned here," she said, a combination ombudsman, social director and senior advocate.

"Gerontechnology" in the Country

Further afield are the suburbs and hamlets, the dense developments or lone historic houses spread among far-flung Valley environs. Seniors aging in our rugged region may have vistas galore, but no way to get groceries, let alone kick up one's heels among other humans. But the principle of stringing together attractions is applicable, although on a larger playing field.

For example, with a little imagination, but a large investment, one could imagine a future of self-driving cars assigned as chauffeurs for seniors living alone in suburbs and hamlets, taking them out to socialize. Routine doctor's visits could occur at home, over two-way screens. Far-flung families can monitor their parents aging in place in the old family home, using smart technology to control lights, thermostats, and even entertainment. They can have face time and visit via Skype on big screens, which, research shows, is effective at relieving isolation.

Such technology, termed gerontechnology, is a growing facet of aging in place. Products to service the market are beginning to cascade from companies realizing where the money is. Seniors may soon face a bewildering selection of options for living in their own home, but the nexus will always be that humans need company to be healthy.

Will we develop ways to keep each other company as we age? So far, the answer is no, but as pressures of demographics and economics grow, then, pardon the pun, time will tell whether aging in place is where seniors still want to be.

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