Laguna Beach Seniors “Age in Place”
As homeowners get older, reach retirement age and progress into their golden years, many want to make the conscious decision to stay in their own home, as long as they can maintain the comforts and quality of life that is important to them.
In those later years, this could also include adding supplementary services to maintain those comforts.
This concept is known as “aging in place.”
An advocacy group known as Laguna Beach Seniors supports a service, called Lifelong Laguna, that provides an ambitious vision of services to help residents age gracefully in their homes.
The goal of this group is to create a supportive network of trusted and trained volunteers who assist seniors to age in place by providing help with everyday tasks, social support, and a trusted connection for Lagunans to call on when life happens.
One of their primary partners is the Laguna Board of REALTORS®, which over the past two years secured Housing Opportunity Grants to help address the challenges of aging in place.
“Securing the first grant in 2017 was part of our ongoing mission to lend a helping hand and be part of the solution to assist seniors with staying in their homes,” said Bobbie Jordan, association executive for the Laguna Board of REALTORS®.
A second grant followed in 2018. The combined funding has enabled Lifelong Laguna to conduct focus groups with numerous partners throughout the community and to engage in outreach about the Lifelong Laguna Home Modification Assessment.
More recently, it has supported workshops on accessory dwelling units, which, once a revision of municipal ordinances is complete, could benefit seniors wanting to age-in-place.
The Home Modification Assessment allows members of Lifelong Laguna to identify safety and accessibility upgrades in homes that can often be fixed with slight modifications such as installing handrails, better lighting, door widening to accommodate a wheelchair, or even something as simple as removing an area rug that could be a little too loose and pose a slipping hazard.
“In addition to our volunteer participation, we have many seniors among our REALTOR® members,” Jordan said. “This partnership … is a wonderful way to stay connected with our seniors and to provide assistance where and when needed.”
There are many social, economic, physical, emotional and medical needs in this group. Governments at the local, state and federal levels will need to start prioritizing resources for older residents and until they do, aging in place will remain a challenge.
“REALTOR® involvement brings so much value to what we do with Lifelong Laguna,” said John Fay, program specialist for Lifelong Laguna. “Many folks who bought their homes decades ago worked with REALTORS® who are still active, and several REALTORS® are now volunteering with us at Lifelong Laguna. The REALTORS® are the main funders and volunteers for this community model, and we really couldn’t do it without them.”