Senior living communities are quickly evolving to meet the changing needs of seniors. Read on to learn interesting facts about elderly lifestyles and to discover some benefits of senior living, modern senior housing options, along with activities for seniors in assisted living that may surprise you.
Innovations in health care and a focus on prevention, with exercise for longevity, mean that seniors today can live longer, healthier lives. In the next two decades, the number of people over 65 will increase by 42% and the number of people over 85 will increase by 111%.
The average age of a nursing home resident has reached the 80s, with almost half of nursing home residents over 85, according to the Health in Aging Foundation. Women live longer than men, and so the average nursing home resident is a single female.
The gender gap in life expectancy has narrowed since the 1990s, when there were only 67 men per 100 women in the over-65 population group. But by 2060, it’s predicted that there will be 86 men per 100 women in the over-65 age category.
It can be intimidating to think about starting over somewhere new. Today’s senior living communities often have neighborhood-like designs to make the environment feel like home.
For example, Atria Cary offers a modern, neighborhood-like feel with convenient, on-site social activity spaces that really round out the community spirit:
Humans are social beings who generally desire to fit into a group of like-minded individuals. Seniors experience increased happiness, feel a sense of purpose, and typically live longer when they socialize with others, according to research on the health risks of loneliness in older people by the National Institute on Aging.
With an array of on-site assisted living activities and amenities, senior living communities curate fun and engaging options for all residents to enjoy, avoiding the risks of social isolation for older adults. Senior living staff may even tailor activities to the unique interests and passions of residents.
Activities for seniors in assisted living typically include the following:
Senior living communities tailor their offerings to meet the changing demographics and demands of older adults in the U.S. Examples include the following:
Senior living communities generally tailor services and care to meet the unique needs of each resident, including privacy needs. The benefits of senior living include maintaining a right to privacy in assisted living communities to a large degree, across most states.
Staff and communities can empower your loved one to continue being themselves and living life as they prefer. For example, an introverted resident can choose to live alone, while an extrovert can choose roommates. All residents are free to do the following:
A Place for Mom’s free, local Senior Living Advisors can help you learn more about the freedoms available to your loved one at potential senior living communities.
Memory care is a type of senior living designed specifically for older adults with dementia and cognitive decline. Specially trained memory care staff members tailor care to residents’ unique life journeys, personal preferences, and individual medical situations. Many communities offer memory care activities based on residents’ interests, passions, and prior occupations.
Memory care communities generally focus on holistic, person-centered care, meaning that traditional medical care is complemented with therapies to fit each resident’s individual needs. These programs may include:
Statistics show that the monthly median cost of assisted living reached $4,300 per month in 2020. While this may seem out of reach for seniors with a moderate budget, affordable senior living options are growing in popularity. In the U.S., construction companies have begun building mid-market affordable senior housing options to meet demand, according to the senior living development firm The Douglas Company.
These communities are designed for middle-income seniors and feature smaller units focused on the current trend toward minimalist living, with streamlined amenities and an emphasis on à la carte services. For example, the Senior Suites of Central Station in Chicago, Illinois, offer affordable housing based on residents’ income levels. Mid-market senior housing works especially well for affordable independent living for seniors, where personal and health care services are commonly à la carte.
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
Studies have shown that owning a pet can lead to a healthier lifestyle, as it promotes physical activity, improves emotional health, and reduces high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, according to the American Heart Association.
With such research gaining popularity, it’s more common to find pet-friendly assisted living communities and senior living communities that allow pets in common areas. If your loved one doesn’t have their own pet, they can still enjoy the benefits of animals through on-site pet therapy programs.
For those with disabilities, service dogs and emotional support animals may be eligible to live in communities with no-pet policies through the protections afforded by the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Fair Housing Act.
You can find pet-friendly communities on www.aplaceformom.com.
If your parents are retired, empty nesters with a large, multi-bedroom home, do they really need all that space and the costs attached to it? While it can be difficult to let go, it can make the most financial sense to part ways with the costs of homeownership.
Selling the home frees equity for more retirement funds, as described in Next Avenue, a PBS venture focusing on the needs of older adults. Downsizing will decrease monthly expenses and alleviate the worry of rising property taxes or expensive homeowners insurance. Selling a house to pay for assisted living remains a common retirement strategy for seniors.
Senior living communities can also protect residents from unexpected expenses, like a leaky roof or a broken air conditioner, as the community will typically handle things like maintenance, landscaping, and even snow shoveling for a flat, predictable fee.
Regular, low-impact exercise may be able to extend your loved one’s life and independence. Staying active is the best way to maintain good health, according the National Institute on Aging’s “Get Fit for Life” guidelines. The link between longevity and exercise for seniors has been researched and affirmed for decades.
Many senior living communities recognize the importance of exercise for the elderly, and they may feature fitness classes, gyms, weightlifting, and more. Exercise options at senior living communities also may increase lifespan through healthy socialization. Walking clubs, group classes, and personal training opportunities make it easy for seniors to build day-to-day social connections.
While chair yoga and gentle stretching may be perfect for some, other seniors may prefer a more adventurous active lifestyle. Here’s an example of some communities’ expanded activity options:
The information in this article is for general use only. This is not medical, legal, financial, or real estate advice. Please consider consulting with a financial advisor, real estate advisor, an attorney, or other experts before making changes to your personal finances or real estate holdings. Please consult with your medical team before starting any new exercise regimen.
American Heart Association. (2019, October 7). Can your pet help you be healthier?
Dunleavey, M.P. (2017, July 26). Should you sell your home when you retire?
Harvard Medical School (2021, February 15). Exercise can boost your memory and thinking skills. Harvard Health Publishing.
Harvard Medical School. Get healthy, get a dog: the health benefits of canine companionship. Harvard Health Publishing.
Health In Aging. (2020, October). Nursing homes.
Hg.org. Right to Privacy in Assisted Living.
Movement Advancement Project & SAGE. (2017). Understanding issues facing LGBT older adults.
Mather, M. & Kilduff L. (2020, February 19). The U.S. population is growing older, and the gender gap in life expectancy is narrowing.
National Institute on Aging. (2020, December). Exercise and physical activity for healthy aging: get fit for life.
National Institute on Aging. (2019, April 23). Social isolation, loneliness in older people pose health risks.
Parkman, K. (2021, June 07). 2021 assisted living statistics: current data trends and projections.
The Douglas Company. Middle Market Senior Housing Construction.
U.S. Green Building Council. (2021). LEED rating system.
USAGov. (2021, November 1). Retirement.