Growing older is a natural part of life, and in many parts of the developed world, life expectancy rates are higher than ever. In North America, Europe, and parts of east Asia, many people are living well into their 80s or 90s, and some are living to their 100s, known as centenarians. All of these elderly adults need somewhere to live, and housing for seniors varies. Some elderly Americans continue to live at home if they are fairly self-sufficient, and some aging parents may move in with their adult children for routine assistance with everyday life. Meanwhile, retirement communities are a popular option for self-sufficient elderly citizens, and the top retirement facilities in one’s area can be found online. These retirement communities may vary in what they offer from one location to another, so interested potential residents may visit those retirement communities in person to evaluate them. And what other options might there be?
Senior Living Today
As mentioned above, more Americans are living longer than ever, and the same is true in many parts of the world such as Europe, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, and Australia, among others. In fact, Japan leads the world in life expectancy, and that nation is home to a high percentage of elderly citizens. Estimates say that by 2050, some 25% of Japanese will be aged 65 and over, and they will all need care. That percentage might not be quite as high in Europe and North America, but all the same, plenty of retirement communities may be built in the United States to keep up with demand. Today, some one million Americans are living in senior communities, and it is likely that that number may double by the year 2030. Today’s average retirement age is 63, but some Americans may keep working full or part-time long after that if they have the health and interest to do so. And many retired Americans volunteer in their communities, too.
Where to Live
Many senior citizens have rigorous health needs, and they may have one or more chronic physical or mental health conditions ranging from back issues to arthritis to osteoporosis to Alzheimer’s. It may be noted, though, that some Americans aged 65 and over actually have limited healthcare needs and they are quite self-sufficient by comparison. These Americans may continue to work at their jobs or volunteer regularly, and they may either live at their original residence or at retirement communities in their area.
These senior retirement communities are made up of properties that residents aged 55 and over may purchase, and they may enjoy the company of many other people their age and may have access to services and features (which will vary). Some retirement communities have a movie theater, a communal garden, or a dining area with a kitchen staff, and similar services. A senior citizen with minimal healthcare needs may choose to find such a community and live there, and they and younger family members may find them online and visit in person for an evaluation. The guests may consult both the staff who work there and the current residents alike, and see if the location, features, and prices make for an appealing community. If so, the elderly family member may agree to move there.
Some senior citizens do not move to retirement communities, but neither do they move into retirement or nursing homes. Instead, they remain self-sufficient for the most part in their private residences, though they may and often do call for minor assisted living services. If this person’s residence is easy to reach, they may expect younger family members and nursing staff to visit and provide assistance as requested. This may involve caring for pets or a home garden, grocery shopping, washing dishes or doing laundry, and the like. These helpers may also move the resident’s bedroom from an upper floor to the ground floor for easier access, and they may also make the house safer if that elderly citizen is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. This involves clearing away tripping hazards such as rugs or electrical cords, and locking away sharp or flame-producing items as well as keeping everything consistent to minimize memory loss’s impact. Regular companionship may also keep the resident cheerful and boost mental health.