Elder cohousing, also known as senior cohousing, is an opportunity to age gracefully.
A cohousing community helps seniors reap the rewards of aging rather than the problems of aging.
Aging gracefully actually begins in our 40s. However, it is never too late to start and a senior cohousing community is an accepting place to begin.
Quality aging requires that you embark on a new path in order to reap all of the rewards from aging that you can.
We will all get there: how you fare when you arrive is up to you.
1. Develop and maintain a strong social support network of family, friends, and colleagues. Here is where elder cohousing steps in.
2. Develop a personal exercise program combining aerobics and weight work. Hire a personal trainer to come to the common house and get you started.
3. Take charge of your brain. Make an active commitment to learning and growth. According to research on lifespan development: IF you continue to use your brain and develop your intellect and IF you remain socially connected and active, you can actually increase your IQ scores as you age. Form book discussion groups, game nights, and other brain developers with your neighbors in elder cohousing.
4. Take charge of your financial future. Plan, plan, and plan. If you are single, don’t count on getting married to finance your old age. You are on your own! If you are married, learn what is going on with your finances. If you are female, statistics say you will spend seven to fifteen years or more as a widow, depending upon the age difference between you and your husband. You will probably be on your own for a long time. Plan, plan, plan.
5. Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet. Learn to live on fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes as much as possible. Plan a few days a week that include no animal products, not even dairy, in the common house. Offer an animal-free option at every meal.
6. Don’t fall for fad diets. When something sounds too good to be true such as The Atkins’ Diet, it usually is. When something sounds too good to be true and it is too complicated for you to comprehend easily, such as Barry Sears’ Zone Diet, be doubly wary.
7. Remember that the pharmaceutical industry makes money from selling drugs. Read, study, and form your own opinions about taking cholesterol, blood pressure, estrogen and other "old-age" medicines. Very few long-term studies are available to show the results of these medicines. It is your responsibility to read, study, and keep up with the truth for yourself. Maybe a committee can do this for your senior cohousing group.
8. Practice light or no drinking. No smoking, no matter what.
9. Remain goal oriented. Regardless of your age, still set one, five, and ten-year goals. Keep on growing! You will be setting goals for your community. Set personal goals also.
10. Don’t become more conservative than ever. Age is an attitude. Conservative is an old, stuffy attitude that allows life to pass you by and makes you sound/act old and boring.
And if you reached retirement without the best retirement income in the world, take heart. There will be more and better work opportunities for older workers in the future.
Preceding list compiled from Graceful Aging Starts When You Are 45! by Joy Stevens and JB Johnson
Note: The opinions expressedherein are exclusively those of the writers or other participants and do not necessarily reflect theposition of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of ahealth, legal, or other professional whose expertise you might need to seek.