If you are talking about senior living options for yourself or an aging loved one, you may be wondering just how old do you have to be for senior living? After all, the term “old” means many different things to many different people, and the Boomers are showing younger generations that age is, indeed, only a number. You may be surprised to note that senior communities offer a lifestyle suitable for a wide variety of ages, from the mid-fifties and beyond.
The increasing cost of living is always among the top financial concerns that keep seniors up at night, so it can be tempting to evaluate assisted living by cost rather than by the value it offers. But there are unseen costs—emotional, physical, and financial—of choosing the cheapest senior living option instead of the option that meets individual needs both today and tomorrow.
According to theNational Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 6.5 million seniors in 2009 suffered from depression. The statistic may be eight years old but remains startling today because many people still don’t see clinical depression as a problem for aging parents.
If you are weighing your options for choosing to live at a senior community versus staying home, you may find it helpful to consider certain aspects of each. For most seniors, factors such as cost, food, lifestyle, and friendships are crucial to compare before making a decision about your future living arrangements. To better prepare you for this important decision, here are a few things to consider:
According to the U.S. 2010 Census, 28.3 percent of Americans older than age 65 lived alone. If you break that down just by ages 65 to 74, the number drops to 21.6 percent (because many spouses are still alive at this age) but increases to 32.2 percent for the 75-to-84 age group and 48.2 percent for seniors over age 85.
Surprised at those numbers? As Americans’ life expectancy has increased so has their preference toward independence, even if that means living alone. Many seniors do fine on their own, requiring and accepting some help from family and friends (not many 90-year-old grandmothers will change a car tire on their own, for example) but mostly living their lives as they did when their spouses were still alive.
Everyone handles aging a bit differently. While we all may hope to age gracefully, complex medical conditions, pain, cognitive trouble and other unique challenges can sometimes make aging incredibly difficult. If you are finding that your aging parents are becoming a bit more—ahem—difficult in their older years, you are not alone. Even the most kind adults can become angry, stubborn or downright rude due to the litany of obstacles that aging can sometimes bring.
Independent seniors looking to move into a retirement community may feel daunted in choosing someplace that is appealing, comfortable, and affordable. Often, these active seniors are more concerned with amenities and environment and less with care. After all, their move to a senior community is to facilitate and continue their full lives, not to take a giant step back.
So which factors should you consider when choosing a retirement community? There are several, but first, you must fully understand what independent senior living entails.
Outstanding assisted living is also a priority for today’s seniors, and the two goals appear as if they should run parallel to each other. Although dementia care does incorporate many principles of assisted living, the two are not the same. Yet both are incredibly important to seniors and their families.
What comes to mind when you smell freshly cut grass or chocolate chip cookies cooling on the counter? If you are like many people, these smells can bring up memories even when we aren’t expecting it. Perhaps you remember playing with your children or grandchildren when you smell Play-Doh or think of your wedding day when you smell a certain perfume. While you may have anecdotal stories of how smell conjured a memory for you, there is also scientific research that shows us that smell is a powerful tool when it comes to memory and positive experience.