Aging in Place or Age in Community? Semantics?

aging in community(1)

On this site I often like to make distinctions between certain phrases that I think make a difference in our perception of these concepts. For instance, I really hate the word “Elderly” and I think for good reason. Why does it have to be an adverb? Let’s just stick with “Elder” as a noun or just “older adult”.

In any case, the particular phrasing that I want to talk about today is “Aging in Place” versus “Age in Community.”

When you are done, be sure to check out our 2019 Aging in Community Update as well.

Aging in place

Aging in place(1)This phrase is garnering a lot of buzz today. Many people feel that the best alternative to aging in a nursing home or other facility is to age in your own home. And for many people, this is a fantastic alternative. There are multiple in-home services that can help people maintain their independence in their own homes as they age.

But for others, this isn’t entirely enough.

Aging in place can be lonely and isolating. Without a support network to provide companionship and resources many older adults are facing crippling depression and other issues related to being cut off from other humans.

Age in community

This is where I like to talk about our ability to age in community. I prefer to use the verb as “age” rather than “aging.” I’ll admit, that is entirely semantics but I prefer its dynamics. Age has grace while aging has aggression. (Although, I admit, sometimes “aging” is just more grammatically correct.)

Community is not only a viable alternative to aging in a facility but it is also a complimentary movement to aging in place. Throughout the history of the United States young families would buy homes in a neighborhood. They would become each other’s support network as their children grew. Eventually the kids would move out to have families of their own. This changed the entire make-up of the community and now the older adults could interact with one another not as parents but as adults. And as needs changed, what greater support system than to have individuals within your own age bracket in your own community?

Aging in place can be to age in community.

As humans we tend to want things to be in absolutes. Either it is aging in place or aging in community, but it can be both.

For more information on how you can age in community, check out the resources page on the Women for Living in Community website.

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  1. You lost me when you wrote that “aging has aggression.” Please elaborate.

Women For Living in Community