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Many options for US seniors to live

A survey said that from 1990 to 1994, the seniority ratio fad multiplied from one in 25 individuals to one in eight. By 2030, the US would see a growth of 2.8 percent in the number of aged people. Most people fail to plan ahead when they get to the golden years. They live their life from day-to-day until something happens and they need to change their plans in midstream. Sometimes this change will result in a change in living situations.

It can be stressful and if unplanned, very upsetting to the senior who may have hoped to stay in their own home and live their life to the fullest. But even with the new plans, seniors can live a full, satisfying life, but maybe in different circumstances then they had hoped. Here are different living options available these days in the US:


• Senior assistant living – This is a wonderful way to enjoy independence, but have extra help available. These resort-type facilities are all over the country and most people love the experience. The senior lives in his or her own luxury apartment with his or her mate. Often there is a small kitchen, bathroom, living room and at least one bedroom. The faculty has a large dining room where meals are served. It is similar to an upscale dining room and residents are treated to gourmet meals. Activities are offered on a daily basis and the senior can join in when he or she chooses. Ballroom dancing, parties and outings are all offered as part of the living plan. The cost is reasonable and includes the apartment, food and all activities. Seniors often find this to be a wonderful way to live and wonder why they didn’t move in sooner.


• Nursing homes – This is usually the highest possible level of care and many people resist this option. Often there is no another choice though because the senior requires specific care. The residents often share rooms and are offered assistance with personal care. They usually eat in a central dining area and activities are offered to those who are healthy enough to join in. One of the biggest differences in this type of care to the rest is the fact that there is a high level of medical care. A physician is in charge of each resident and usually registered nurses are available at all times. It is also possible to get physical or occupational therapy at most of these facilities. Often this type of care is only temporary and the senior moves into a more permanent situation when their medical needs are stabilised like a permanent old-age home where they would be treated with care and love.

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Away from misery island

Professor Dr Hans Becker, CEO of Humanitas Foundation in the Netherlands, shares that away from misery island is the way to go. He is a driving force behind the concept of ‘Apartments for Life’, Agelessvoice finds out more about this concept from him:

Can you share the ‘Apartments for Life’ concept?

Fifteen years ago, the Dutch older people started demanding an alternative to old-style nursing homes and hostels. They wanted to be able to go on living independently and stay in their own communities for as long as they could even if their health declined and they could no longer get around.

‘Apartments for Life’ is a response to this challenge, pioneered by the Humanitas Foundation in Rotterdam in the mid-1990s. It began with 350 apartments in three complexes in 1995 and has really taken off.

So how does it work?

Human happiness – that is the business we are in – is not about ‘cure and care’. There is not much to cure when someone has Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, or even arthritis in the knees. The care elements have to be there, but they should be in the background. The ‘Apartments for Life’ philosophy has four basic values:

  • Boss of your own life.
  • Use it or lose it.
  • Extended family approach.
  • A yes culture.

The Humanitas approach is that residents should be the boss of their own life, with their own front door so they are truly a resident, not just ‘staying’ in a room that belongs to an institution. The Humanitas model for ‘Apartments for Life’ includes carefully designed apartment complexes, lived in and partly run by independent older people, and offering services on a needs basis. These include medical, daily care, recreational, educational and social, up to and including nursing home-type care.

The apartments (minimum 72 sqm, three rooms – the social norm for building requirements in the Netherlands), may be purchased, or rented. The apartments are designed in such a way that – even with a wheelchair – the sink (variable height sinks), the electricity cupboard, and the letterbox, are within reach, and barriers such as thresholds, narrow doorways, awkwardly opening French doors, etc, are avoided. Living arrangements, as a total living concept, is not the only contributing factor to an individual’s happiness, a sense of “belonging” is also crucial and through our approach, we have achieved this.

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State of the US baby boomer, a free US senior housing directory resource online, recently produced an infographic titled, “State of the Baby Boomer” with some interesting statistics about US baby boomers. Baby boomers make up about 25 percent of smartphone users with iPhones being the most popular within the demographic. Additionally, over 1/4 of online boomers have given online dating a try. See the infographic below:

Senior volunteering – something for everyone

A senior tutoring and mentoring an elementary school student.

“I’ll be retirement age in April, and then I face the void,” my friend said to me a few weeks ago. When I asked what she meant, she said that she was afraid to retire. She loved her job, and derived much of her identify from her work. “I don’t know what to do next,” she replied.

Fortunately, there are many options for older adults after retirement. With the ageing of the world’s population, older adults are a naturally replenishing resource. And they have wealth of experience to share with others. Finding an organisation with which to volunteer can be fulfilling, and can be a big help to other people.

Are all older adults ready and willing to volunteer? The answer depends on several things. First, it depends on the nature of the volunteer job. Do you agree with the mission of the organisation? Does the organisation have a volunteer job that “fits” with your skills and interests? Do you receive on-the-job training? Are there easy ways to communicate with staff members, and are you kept “in the loop?” Are you recognised for your contributions?

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New ways of segmenting the older market

This is a podcast of a presentation given by Dick Stroud at the Investing in the Ageing Boom (the age of reason) conference in October where he spoke about the importance of understanding the physiological and psychological aspects of ageing, 10 ways of segmenting the market – the right option for your organisation and using your segmentation strategy to drive all aspects of marketing. Stroud is the founder of 20plus30, a marketing strategy consultancy specialising in the 50-plus market. He is the UK’s leading expert on using interactive channels to communicate with the over-50s market. He is the author of “The 50-Plus Market” and he has a blog.

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