When I remember my grandmother I think of one of the most genuinely loving individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, with an impressive collection of alligators. Not the real ones…although that would have been interesting as a child…I’m talking stuffed toys and porcelain figurines. Side note, this was also how she received the nickname Gator, at least, that’s how the story goes in my head. Not only was she incredibly sweet, but she was also a progressive and independent woman in many different ways. This woman had mastered the art of maintaining her independence through her extensive familial and social network.
Now, Gator was very lucky to have both of her children and many of her grandchildren living nearby, and I believe this to be the main reason she was able to remain in her home into her 90’s. However, I think those of us that want to remain in our homes can learn a lot from this radiant woman. Every week, she would receive a visit from her acupuncturist and massage therapist, her daughter-in-law would come over to do her hair and bring her groceries, her son-in-law took her to bible study and cook her dinner, and her grandchildren would come over to engage her brain through her favorite card game. (You had to watch her closely, this lady was sharp…probably due to all the Chinese Herbs she was taking.) My grandmother successfully found a way to live a long, happy, healthy life in her community and the home of her choosing. This is what we all want right? But how do you get this if you don’t have such a strong network nearby?
This was the inspiration behind the creation of our business and the services we offer. Our goal is to provide personalized, in-home fitness, nutrition, and technology assistance with mobility focused home modifications, so you too can feel empowered to live independently, regardless of your age or ability. We are not alone in this pursuit. In the spirit of on-demand services, many companies have developed apps to make all our lives a little easier, not just those of older adults. However, if you are home-bound these apps can be extremely helpful. So you don’t have a daughter-in-law to come do your hair? No problem! You can sign up for Stylebee and a stylist will come right to your home. CareBeacon will keep you safe and monitor falls using the accelerometer and GPS functions of your smartphone. Uber (or perhaps Lyft considering recent events) can take you anywhere you want to go; helping you stay engaged socially, which can add years to your life according to a new study from the University of Queensland. Instacart will deliver groceries that you have handpicked on the app right to your door. Researchers at the MIT Age Lab have come up with some pretty interesting new technology as well, and I can’t wait to see what they create in the future. Check out the suit they developed called AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System), which helps researchers gain a better understanding of the physical challenges associated with aging. You can watch AGNES in action here.
There are so many exciting developments and innovations that will help us make the transition from planning for retirement to planning for longevity, and this is just the beginning. As JoAnn Jenkins, CEO of AARP and leader of the #DisruptAging movement said,
“It’s not really about aging, it’s about living.”
So simple and yet so complex at the same time. What are you going to do to continue your vibrant lifestyle into your 90’s? What services will you find most useful?