15 Senior Living Trends15 Senior Living Trends

Seniors today have more options than ever before. Whether they choose to stay in their homes or make a move to a senior living facility, they increasingly have the ability to seek out a living situation that suits their particular needs. And technological innovations continue to provide options that make them safer and more connected to loved ones.

Here are fifteen senior living trends that are shaping the way seniors of today, and those of the future, will live out their retirement years.

Aging in Place

One of the biggest trends in senior living is the growth in aging in place. 87% of seniors say they’d like to stay in their own homes as they age. That used to be harder to pull off, but a number of new options are putting aging in place within reach for today’s seniors.

  1. Stay-at-home Retirement Villages

A little over a decade ago, many of the residents of the Beacon Hill village of Boston realized that they were starting to get old – but so were many of their neighbors. Instead of starting to move off into retirement communities or assisted living facilities elsewhere, they decided to work together to bring the resources they needed to them.

By pooling their resources and helping each other out, they’ve managed to be able to stay in their own homes. And other seniors have taken note. Around the country, a growing number of communities have started to adopt the Beacon Hill Model to make aging in place more practical.

  1. Golden Girls Model

For whatever reason, women frequently outlive men. Combine that fact with a growth in senior divorce, and a lot of women find themselves single in their senior years. Living alone as you age is often challenging though, especially if you live in a house that needs maintenance, lawn care, and frequent cleaning – oh, and all the costs that go with all that.

Inspired by the beloved TV show, many senior women have started to turn to the Golden Girls model and found other senior women to live with as roommates, splitting responsibilities and tasks amongst them all so no one person has to bear the brunt of them.

  1. Home Modifications

Those that do decide to stay in their own homes as they age will need to make some changes to make the house senior friendly. That means taking on some home modifications, such as adding lighting to various spaces in the house and installing grab bars in the bathroom. Luckily, many contractors know how to assess the needs of a home and help seniors make the necessary changes for ongoing safety and comfort.

  1. In-home Care

Possibly the main factor that makes aging in place possible, in-home care options have become widely available to help fill in the gaps of care that family members can’t handle on their own. In-home care aids can take on the tasks that staff in assisted living typically help with, and home health care aids can go a step further and provide skilled medical care.

Turning to Technology

Seniors may be slower than some other demographics to embrace lots of technology, but many of them are starting to see the benefits that different types of technology can offer for their needs.

  1. Wearables

Wearables are making big changes in how people understand and interact with their health. They allow you to track things like how well you’re sleeping, if your heart rate and breathing are normal, and if you’re getting enough activity into your day.

And many vendors have started to sell wearables for seniors that include features like medication reminders or a built-in GPS to help track the location of wandering Alzheimer’s patients.

  1. Cell phones

Most cell phones aren’t designed with seniors in mind. The texts show up in tiny fonts. The keyboards are small and difficult to use. They just seem like more trouble than they’re worth.

But some savvy technology companies have made cell phones for seniors that address all the complaints and excuses seniors typically have. Features like brighter screens, bigger font, and emergency call buttons make it easier for seniors to use cell phones in the ways most useful to them.

  1. Home monitoring systems

Many family members worry about their senior loved ones, especially if they live far away. Home monitoring systems ensure that seniors are safer in their homes and loved ones can learn quickly if a problem arises. Not only do home monitoring systems make seniors safer, they also bring their loved ones peace of mind.

  1. Social media

When you think about people using social media, you probably don’t picture seniors. Yet seniors are the fastest growing group of social media users. When you think about it, there are lots of reasons for seniors to be interested in social media. It can be a source of entertainment, as well as a way to stay connected to loved ones from afar. As more seniors figure that out, more and more of them are taking advantage of the channels available.

  1. Easier exercise

Everyone can come up with reasons not to exercise. For seniors that have trouble getting around in general, the excuses are even easier: it’s hard to get to the gym, and they don’t want to risk the injuries that sometimes come with exercising.

Options like workout videos and Wii Fit make it possible to work out without leaving the house. And exercise classes like those for water aerobics or tai chi specifically help seniors out in the areas they need most, without opening them up to much risk of injury.

Add all that up, and there aren’t any good excuses left to forego exercise in your senior years.

Specialty Retirement Communities

Even as the number of seniors aging in place grows, the number of attractive options in retirement communities grows as well. To stay competitive and attract the growing senior market, the senior living industry is working hard to provide the kind of personalized living experiences that seniors crave within their facilities.

  1. Green senior living

Has the environment always been a passion of yours? You’re not alone. Green senior living options are popping up to help bring together seniors with a similar passion for eco-conscious living who want to spend their retirement years living in ways that are as responsible and environmentally friendly as possible.

  1. Educational senior living

For some people, our school years just don’t last long enough. If you were always frustrated that you didn’t have enough time for learning during your working years, you can treat retirement as a chance to go back to college. A number of educational retirement communities exist now that give students the opportunity to enroll in college classes and spend their retirement years broadening their knowledge.

  1. Cruise ship retirement

You may have heard rumors of seniors retiring to a cruise ship. While there are a couple of high profile stories of seniors that did just that, most commercial cruise ships aren’t really designed for the needs of seniors. But a few companies are working to build out cruise ships that are designed to be the perfect retirement options for seniors that have a love of the sea. As interest in cruise ship retirement grows, more options are likely to become available.

  1. Dementia villages

The rate of seniors with Alzheimer’s continues to grow. The Hogeway dementia village provides a space where seniors with Alzheimer’s can live life in a way that feels more normal and familiar to them than life in a facility usually does, while still having trained staff members around at all times who can help out. Other cities around the world have paid attention and aim to build their own dementia villages as well. 

  1. LGBTQ friendly

Most of today’s LGBTQ seniors grew up in an era in which their sexuality wasn’t accepted. Now they can live out their retirement years in communities where they can be fully themselves without judgment. Many LGBTQ-friendly retirement communities are now available throughout the country.

  1. Pet friendly 

People with pets know that living without them is on par with losing a human loved one. That means for a retirement community to even be an option for a senior with pets, it has to be pet friendly. Luckily, pet-friendly retirement communities are fairly common, so your loved one can take their furry loved one along with them in the move.

 

 

All things considered, it’s a pretty good time to be a senior. As the baby boomers age and bring their creativity to senior living, the list of options and trends is sure to grow. In the meantime, scope out the options that seem best to you and make the most of those retirement years.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for SeniorAdvisor.com.

3 Comments

  1. Anne Amore July 21, 2016 Reply

    Kristen your endeavor to reach out to Seniors is admirable…I did enjoy the article above…my problem is not being a señor, its of being treated like One….I have all my facilities, health is excellent..I guess you can say I am blessed…I love cultural activities and have done many of the things you mentioned in your article…thats the problem. I don’t belong anywhere. I crave “like seniors”…Senior Centers seem to “dumb down” when it comes to activities..there is no art hanging on their walls, line dancing, really? In the defense of growing older I must say we hold a wealth of experiences and knowledge. Certainly there are those who have had it really hard,,all the more reason to find places they have never experienced. Yes maybe I am asking too much for this part of society,,,but you “young ins” really should start talking to us…and not as if we can’t hear well, or can’t remember, or are off balance…On the inside we really are like you. Thanks. Anne

  2. Linda July 21, 2016 Reply

    Great article and ideas to share with my senior clients.

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