Aging in Place: Your Life, Your Way

Posted by Lauren Johnson on May 9, 2019

Life’s crazy gambit has twists and turns for the majority of one’s life, but it’s safe to say that by the time most people reach their golden years, they’re ready for a transition of some kind. Some changes are physical, others emotional, but as the years go on, life morphs into something new.

So if you’re the type to stay put for your retirement and onward, and choose to modify your existing environment rather than move somewhere new, we’d love for you to check out some of the resources we’ve found for you. If you’re not already living at Westman Village, it’s probably a good time for you to find out the advantages of aging in our place.

So first off, if you haven’t thought in detail about your aging process, it’s possible that a term like “aging in place” is new to you. Many people are just living their lives and making the changes they need to as they come, which works great. That said, there is a growing umbrella of resources and networks revolving around this idea, and when paired with new ideas and technology, there is a better chance than ever of having a comfortable retirement. With the Western world’s populations growing older all the time thanks to miraculous advances in medicine, this issue is at the forefront more than ever before.

Let’s start with the broad strokes: the governments of both Canada and Alberta have thought about this concept, and have provided information they believe should be considered for people to have healthy productive lives in their latter years. The information provided is, well, common sense really, but many of the resources linked to those pages are handy, and may include some information about programs or tax benefits you haven’t heard of quite yet.

Those types of resources are all well and good, but you’d be forgiven for thinking a lot of the information in them is boilerplate, that is, written in a general fashion to show concern on the part of your elected officials. So where else can we go to learn about advances in aging in place? One of the flashier and more robust options is called AgingInPlace.org. It has a vast array of resources based on different needs seniors may need supported, and every section from Home Modifications to Lifestyle contains a deep and well written trove of articles, thoughts, and how to’s. The entire site is intuitive and easy to navigate, and looks appealing enough to have interested people spend a fair bit of time clicking around and learning how they can improve their lives in the homes they love.

Fending for yourself in the wild of aging on your own can be intimidating, so don’t forget that Westman Village is built perfectly for aging in place. Our community has many versions of connected, comfortable living, ranging from conventional to specifically senior-oriented at the Journey Club. Since the overall intent of Westman Village is to create a cohesive, organic, interaction oriented community with myriad options for life, work and play in one space, it’s not hard to imagine a much smoother, long term oriented transition for seniors looking to gear up for the aging process. Journey Club is fully integrated into the larger community so that individuals taking part in day respite programs can inhabit the same spaces and do the same things as any other inhabitant of the Village - if they so choose. If their needs dictate a more supported, small scale lifestyle, that system exists as well.

Most importantly, a move into Westman Village provides a smoother, more long term plan for the aging process. In traditional “independent living” retirement communities, a significant uprooting of one’s life needs to occur just to get there. That has its own ramifications, emotionally and physically, and yet once someone has transitioned into living on their own in a smaller, more easily managed home, there are very good odds that some additional care will necessitate more transitions in the future. Conventional retirement communities function something like an island for the seniors living there, which means that they and possibly some support staff are the only inhabitants or people on site, without much healthy interaction with other members of their communities or families aside from set visits or get togethers.

In Westman Village, the Journey Club’s variety of supports mean that an individual could hypothetically transition from normal day to day independent living, to occasional respite day programs, and fully into Calgary’s only Butterfly Care Homes program under more or less the same roof, with the same friends and family integrated into their lives at all time. Aging in place is never easier than at Westman Village, because it was designed from the ground up to be fully, organically integrated. The physical design and ethical backbone of the Village encourage strong interpersonal and emotionally intuitive connections on the part of everyone working there, but also everyone chooses to live there. We wear our hearts on our sleeves, and it means the door is wide open for you or the elders in your life to live at Westman Village.