When the average person in the street is asked to describe what a seniors life might involve, more often than not, ‘aged care facility’, ‘retirement village’ and ‘hospice’ will be banded about but this approach to senior living is being challenged by those in its midst.

Increasingly seniors are re-writing the script of how they ‘should’ be doing their final years and are laying out plans that are off the beaten path.

Many seniors, after reflecting on the final years of their own parents, are starting to act, plan and schedule for later life situations that are on their terms and in line with their tastes.

Pam Luscombe and her husband Chris were recently facing some tough decisions.

They had to decide, and set in motion, how they were going to do their end of life stage.

They had initially gone down the orthodox path of aged care facilities and villages but came to the conclusion that they would not be able to pursue those options.

Pam said “The traditional villages, we felt, and we looked at some large ones, [they] felt like an enclosed compound for old people”. The Luscombes decided that they could not be happy in a situation where they felt trapped and relegated.

What did Pam and Chris decide to do in light of their feelings and capabilities? They bought an apartment, off the plan, in the city. At first this step may seem radical but if the layers are peeled back, the option that Pam and Chris have opted for caters to many of their needs and the needs of many seniors.

The apartment, once it is finished, will have a spacious and efficient lift to take them up and down between their living quarters and street level. The apartment will be around half the size of their previous house meaning that the size of cleaning and distance of moving about to achieve tasks will be capped at a manageable level. Their apartment in the city will be close to the full range of health care services that they may need as they grow older and journeying to them will be short and relatively swift.

Chris does speak of the significant change of moving from a large family home to apartment. He acknowledges that while there will be some getting used to, the move on the whole will be a reasonable and accessible life change, as it provides a way for he and Pam to do ageing on their own terms.

More and more seniors are looking to creative retirement options so that they can mould retirement to their needs, without relying on family or friends or being stuck in living situations that they regret.

Pam and Chris are one such example of seniors analysing themselves, their needs and pragmatically and creatively carving out a way to thrive in retirement.

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