For decades, most older adults have said they wanted to age in place, remaining in their homes for as long as possible. One AARP survey found that about 90 percent of seniors hope to stay at home as they age. According to a new study published in The Gerontologist, that trend may be changing. Researchers found a roughly equal preference for assisted living and for various aging in place options. This may be due in part to changing perceptions of senior living.
Are Consumer Senior Living Preferences Changing?
The study analyzed data from a random sample of 1,783 seniors 65 and older who enrolled in the 2012 National Health and Aging Trends Study.
Researchers asked participants about their opinions on the ideal care option for a person over the age of 80 who needs help with mobility or tasks of daily living. Participants were about equally divided in their preferences. Roughly three in 10 said assisted living or continuing care retirement communities were best. The same amount of respondents asserted that the best option is care at home with family help or care at home with paid help.
The least popular option, accounting for less than 10 percent of responses, was care in a nursing home or living with an adult child.
Interestingly, seniors were more likely to prefer senior living communities when they already lived in one. This suggests that seniors generally have positive views of their senior living communities. Perhaps those views will grow even more positive as more seniors are willing to give senior living communities a try.
Today’s Senior Living Communities: What Makes Them Different?
Senior living isn’t what it used to be. Contemporary senior living communities are bustling hubs of activity, filled with opportunities to make friends, explore your community, volunteer, master new skills, and remain active and engaged. Research consistently shows that active seniors are healthier, and may even live longer. So the active lifestyle of today’s senior communities may be a recipe for better health and greater longevity.
For seniors with health issues, senior living communities preserve independence by offering support and reducing the risk of injuries such as falls. Healthy seniors relish the chance to enjoy greater freedom without the never-ending to-do list that accompanies homeownership. Seniors eat gourmet meals, make new friends, and get help managing the inevitable challenges of aging. For many, the cost of a quality senior living community is actually less than the cost of living at home. Yet these affordable communities offer better health, more friends, easy access to classes and socialization, an endless variety of delicious meals, a gorgeous home, and more — all without the loneliness of living alone and the endless stress of home maintenance.
Research is increasingly showing that these communities offer real, tangible benefits, and that seniors love living in them. One recent study compared 24 measures of wellness between residents of continuing care retirement communities and seniors living in home or community settings. Those living in senior communities were thriving and scored higher on a wide range of well-being measures. Sixty-nine percent said that moving to a senior living community somewhat or greatly improved their social wellness.
At Arbor, we believe your retirement should be as unique as you are. Whether you choose an independent living community or need additional help via assisted living, we work with you to shape the retirement that feels right for you. To learn more about how we help make your retirement spectacular, download our free guide, The Journey to Senior Living.