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The 2010 US Census revealed that there are 41.4 million people in our country aged 65 or older. By 2060, that number is expected to reach 92 million, with 18.2 million of those people aged 85 or older. As medical innovations continue to extend the human lifespan and our culture focuses more on healthy living, seniors will live longer and be more active than ever in our history. But where will they live? There are more options available than you might think.
Aging in Place
Many seniors want to age in their existing home. After all, that’s where they’ve built their lives, where their memories are housed. However, this choice can present issues for seniors as they get older. Maintaining a home takes a lot of work, from mowing the lawn to keeping the place clean. Stairs can become a challenge as bodies become stiffer. Individuals looking to age in place can take steps to adapt their home accordingly, including moving necessary resources to the first level of a multistory home, or widening doorways to potentially accommodate a wheelchair in the future. Even in-home elevators and stair lifts are available to keep people in the homes they love.
After a life of hard work, many seniors don’t want to deal with maintaining a large, empty home. The current boom in multifamily apartment housing is as much a product of aging Baby Boomers as it is a response to what Millennials desire. Today’s apartment buildings are in the urban center of cities, often with amenities like grocery stores or restaurants housed in the same structure. Walkability and ease of access to entertainment and cultural assets are some of the main attractions of these residences. Seniors across the country are choosing to sell their homes and rent an apartment. This takes maintenance off their hands and allows them to live the relaxed life they’ve always wanted.
Retirement Communities and Assisted Living
Many seniors are still active enough to live independently, but may need help with tasks like lifting and cleaning. Assisted living facilities are transforming as the population ages. No longer is a nurse hovering over your every move. Many new facilities are attached to apartment complexes and function just like apartments. They also provide structured activities like exercise classes, cooking classes, book clubs, and dances to keep seniors active and connected to people with similar interests. There are always people on hand to help when needed and check in to ensure everyone is safe and well, but the residents preserve their independence.
Though no one likes to consider the end of life, the truth is, we are all mortal. Medicine can extend our lives, but ultimately, many seniors will need consistent medical care close to the end of their lives. Nursing homes differ from assisted living in that residents are provided constant care for serious medical conditions. Nursing homes still offer organized programming for those patients that are able to participate, and work to keep their residents as stable as possible. It’s never an easy decision for someone to admit they need to move into this residence, but often, it’s a choice that improves life greatly in the long run for both the senior and their family.
Ultimately, as the number of people in the US who are over age 65 grows, the question of their housing will be up to them. It’s a complex question, and often depends on an individual’s medical and social needs. Some of these options can present unexpected expenses. If you’re struggling with funding a move into a new facility, you could consider a life settlement to bring in some cash. Use our calculator to see if you qualify.