15 Senior Living Trends
Last Updated: May 6, 2019
Seniors today have more options than ever before. Whether they choose to stay in their homes or make a move to a senior living community, they increasingly have the ability to seek out a living situation that suits their particular needs. Technological innovations also continue to provide options that make their lives more connected to loved ones and overall, much safer.
Here are 15 senior living trends that are shaping the way seniors of today will live out their retirement years.
Aging in Place
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. Golden Girls model.
Combined with the growth in senior divorce, a lot of women find themselves single in their senior years. Living alone as you age is often challenging, especially if you live in a house that needs frequent cleaning, lawn care and maintenance – 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 assisted living staff typically help with, and home health care aids can go a step further and provide skilled medical care.
4. 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 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. 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.
Turning to Technology
Many seniors are seeing the benefits that different types of technology can offer for their needs:
5. Cell phones.
Most cell phones aren’t designed with seniors in mind but some savvy technology companies have made cell phones for seniors with bigger fonts, brighter screens and emergency call buttons. These features make it easier for seniors to use cell phones in the ways most useful to them.
6. Easier exercise.
Options like Wii Fit and workout videos make it possible to workout without leaving the house. Exercise classes like tai chi and water aerobics specifically help seniors out in the areas they need most, without opening them up to the risk of injury.
7. 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, but they also bring their loved ones peace of mind.
8. Social media.
Seniors are reportedly 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.
Wearables are making big changes in how people interact with their health. They allow you to track things like breathing, heart rate and how well you’re sleeping. 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.
Specialty Retirement Communities
The senior living industry is working hard to provide the kind of personalized living experiences that seniors crave within their communities:
10. 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 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.
11. 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.
12. Educational senior living.
For some people, our years in university just don’t last long enough. If you were always frustrated that you didn’t have enough time for learning, 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.
13. 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 environmentally-friendly and responsible as possible.
14. LGBTQ friendly.
LGBTQ seniors can live out their retirement years in communities where they can be themselves without judgment. Many LGBTQ-friendly retirement communities are now available throughout the country.
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 companion along with them in the move.
As seniors age, the list of senior living 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.