Host Bob Roth recently had the privilege of featuring renowned aging expert Howard Gleckman on his weekly radio show and podcast, Health Futures Taking Stock in You. Roth, the managing partner and co-founder of Cypress HomeCare Solutions, has hosted this program focused on aging issues in Arizona since 2014.
You can find the podcast on any of these sites:
The full episode can also be found on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/lSE5m51-KF4
Bob’s distinguished guest Gleckman is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington D.C. and one of the nation’s most influential voices on long-term care challenges. He writes frequently on caregiving and aging policy for Forbes and is the author of the book Caring for Our Parents.
With November being National Family Caregivers Month, Roth engaged Gleckman in a timely discussion about the lack of preparedness for aging among both families and policymakers. They covered topics like social isolation, dementia caregiving, the need for public education, and potential solutions like intentional retirement communities.
Gleckman shared his expert insights on the “looming dilemma” of long term care needs outpacing both family caregiver capacity and public resources. The conversation highlighted practical steps individuals and legislators can take to better support the tens of millions of Americans aged 65 and over needing assistance to age with dignity. Here are some insights from the episode:
As our population ages rapidly, more older adults are facing social isolation and needing supportive care to continue living independently at home. Traditional family caregiving is on the decline due to smaller families, greater mobility, and longer life expectancies. At the same time, the costs of formal in-home care services are out of reach for many.
Some experts believe that intentional communities may help fill the gap. Intentional communities, sometimes called villages, are grassroots membership-based nonprofits that coordinate volunteer services, shared housing, social connections, and other supports for older residents aging in place. They may ultimately reduce the need for paid home care down the road.
The Rise of Intentional Communities for Older Adults
Over 200 villages currently operate across the U.S. Members pay an annual fee in exchange for accessing ride services, home repairs, daily check-ins, social activities, and other basic supports from vetted volunteers. This allows them to maintain independence longer and delay or reduce the need for extensive in-home care.
While villages cannot legally provide medical or hands-on personal care, they can significantly improve quality of life for older adults. Reducing isolation, ensuring safety, providing transportation, and helping with household chores are all key aspects of home care that villages can cover through community support.
How Intentional Communities Support Home Care Goals
At their core, intentional communities aim to help older adults successfully age in place in their own homes and communities. This aligns precisely with the mission of home care agencies like Cypress HomeCare Solutions.
By coordinating volunteer assistance and social connectivity for members, villages directly support many goals of home care:
- Reducing isolation through community events and volunteer visitation
- Improving nutrition through grocery shopping assistance and community meals
- Providing transportation to medical appointments and errands
- Assisting with household chores and home maintenance
- Conducting daily check-ins to monitor safety and wellness
- Identifying emerging care needs to connect members with additional supports
The Future Role of Intentional Communities
While villages cannot replace professional home care services over the long run, they can be a crucial first line of defense. By providing supplemental supports, intentional communities have the potential to delay and reduce the need for paid care.
As more adults reach advanced ages with chronic conditions and functional limitations, new models of care are essential. Integrating villages and other community-based supports with traditional home care gives older Americans the best chance to successfully age in the place they call home.
If you or your family member is in need of home care services, or you want to learn more, give Cypress HomeCare Solutions a call today. As a leading Arizona home care agency for over 25 years, we have many flexible options to help everyone in our community age gracefully in the comfort of their own home.
From personalized care plans to vetted caregivers, our dedicated team supports older adults and provides families much-needed peace of mind. Contact us to discuss the possibilities of bringing compassionate supportive care into your home and family. Together, we can ensure respect, independence and joy for our aging loved ones.