Housing Solutions to Social Isolation

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Hear this discussion from our Longevity Explorers — circles of older adults who meet monthly to explore solutions to the challenges that come with aging.

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from: Longevity Explorers | Palo Alto

Discussion Summary

The type of housing we occupy can greatly affect not only our physical but also our mental wellbeing.

Discussion about different housing options was spirited and informed. Many participants in this Longevity Circle are members of the Avenidas Village that provides resources for people who chose to age in place. But situations arise when living in one’s home becomes problematic – unhappiness from a sense of isolation, decreased mobility, ill health, dementia.

Various options to help counter isolation, one of the worse hazards of old age, were mentioned – accommodating a trusted helper (graduate students for example) in a Granny unit or even part of your house in exchange for help and companionship. The importance of careful screening for such a person was noted.

Co-Housing was identified as a great option that provides contact with younger families, mutual help and sharing but such facilities are few in this area.

Apartment complexes with organized social programs can also provide multigenerational contacts to avoid isolation.

The City of Palo Alto is exploring various ways to meet the need for elder housing and is seeking community input. With all these alternatives, it would be useful to have someone who can advise elders on housing choices and which is best for their lifestyle and needs.

One person warned strongly against For Profit Senior Housing facilities, but extolled the flexibility and care to be found in some Non Profit Continuing Care Retirement Centers.


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Key words: 
social isolation