Friday was a red-letter day for me and not just because there was birthday cake in the conference room—well, mostly because there was birthday cake in the conference room—but also because our publisher Rick Rector practically gift wrapped me a blog post when I overheard him telling our sales rep Jo-Ellen about the community-wide aging-in-place survey he received in the mail.
Photo taken by Tim Purpura, publisher of Security Systems News, Instagram Filter Master-at-Arms, Grand Sorcerer (first class)
According to the letter (sent by Yarmouth’s Aging in Place Project), the information gathered will be used to create programs to help Yarmouth seniors stay in their homes longer and make the community more age-friendly as a whole.
Rick gave me the survey to look over and the one question that jumped out to me was, “How likely is it that you will be a Yarmouth resident 10 years from now?”
I’ve written numerous articles extolling the benefits of aging-in-place—from cost savings for families and health systems, to the general happiness and well-being of the patient—but these articles are always written from the provider's/consumer’s POV. When I looked over the survey, I realized there was a third invested party: the community.
When people “age out” of their homes, it’s not just lost tax revenue for the town, it’s an emotional loss. Communities are only as strong as the people living in them, and whenever a member of the tribe leaves, whether to live in an assisted living facility or nursing home, it disturbs the fabric of the neighborhood—of families and friends. Staying in the home doesn’t just improve the health of the patient, it improves the health of the community.
The second thing that struck me about the survey was how forward-thinking it was. Settled in 1636, Yarmouth, Maine is anything but fast-paced, boasting just over 8,000 residents and a small, village atmosphere. While it’s the HME industry’s job to look ahead for aging-in-place trends, it’s nice to see that Yarmouth is looking ahead, too.