Baby Boomers have been changing the world since they first came into it. As this influential generation moves into retirement, they are once again proving that the status quo will not do. The senior living industry has been working for decades to prepare for these active residents, and now that the Boomers are moving into senior living communities, we are watching as those communities transform into neighborhoods focused on wellness, socialization, and lifestyle. The best part of being a resident in an active senior living community? All of it.
If you are considering moving to a senior living community, you may be wondering what it will be like. As much as tours and community marketing professionals show you the ins and outs of living in a community with other older adults, you may be wondering what it is really like. Will it be fun? Will you make friends? Will you experience new things?
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.
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.
Elder care costs are a major concern in the United States. According to the National Health Policy Forum, spending for long-term services and supports reached $219.9 billion in 2012,which translates to 9.3 percent of all health care spending in the U.S. These costs will only rise as the American population ages, especially considering the first wave of baby boomers are now older than 70.
After those questions are answered, families can go about the task of finding the ideal community and then preparing for the move to senior living. At this point, the challenges continue, and perhaps even become more challenging …