The Three Legged Stool for Aging in Place/Community
Based on conversations with our readers and my personal involvement in the Village/Aging in Place/Aging in Community movement I have become convinced that successful “aging” can be described as a three legged stool (yes, I know it’s an overused analogy!)
I feel that the legs of the stool support us having “purpose” in life. The definition of “purpose” should be different for every one of us and it shouldn’t be defined by age or ability. “Purpose” is what gets us up in the morning, puts a smile on our face and gives our life meaning. It could be hitting the tennis ball, helping a child learn a new skill, working in the garden, etc.
- Neighborhood Connections – This relates to how connected you are to your neighborhood and community. I feel this is the most important leg of the stool because it can provide access to services and support you don’t necessarily need to pay cash for. Our neighborhood offers us proximity that can reduce our dependence on our personal automobile. Instead of volunteering across town, imagine how much more convenient and meaningful it would be to help others right down the street!
- Getting Around (Transportation) – For most of us, not having our own personal automobile would make it very difficult to connect to our “purpose” as well as our daily necessities like going to the grocery story. Again, proximity and good neighborhood connections can really support this by sharing rides and carpooling.
- Accessible Environments – Many of us don’t think about “accessible design” until we have a personal health issue that makes it difficult to get around our home, which is not the time that you want to begin a home improvement project! Since it’s so emotionally hard to plan for this, I have found that encouraging our readers to look at making the home “visitable” to someone else with a disability is often a better approach to begin the process.
Is your home environment supporting a purposeful life regardless of your age and ability? What leg of the stool needs to be strengthened?