RISMEDIA, July 22, 2010—People are living longer today. The century-long expansion in the world’s population that is 65 and older is the product of dramatic advances in medical science and health lifestyles. Currently, 13% of the U.S. population is 65 and older, up from 4% in 1900. As Baby Boomers turn 65 in high and higher annual numbers, it is estimated that one in five Americans will be over age 65 and about 5% over 85.
All this calls for growing care and services for the elderly population and pre-planning for lifestyles in the future.
The senior housing industry has been growing dramatically over the last 15 years as many adult children, especially daughters who have usually been the main caregiver for aging parents, are now in the workforce and unable to provide the attention to their parents’ needs, whether physical or social.
There are a number of things to be considered when choosing lifestyle alternatives.
-Location. Keeping your parents close to home should not be the number one consideration. Although it is important that the community be convenient for family and friends to visit, being close to amenities they need and trust will make their senior living experience rewarding and more fulfilling.
-Type of community. Visiting to make sure the current residents have similar interests, backgrounds and values will allow for a more enriching life in the golden years. Many communities invite prospective residents to tour their community and enjoy lunch with the community which is a wonderful way to ascertain if the culture is a fit. Many communities offer a weekend stay to experience more fully what the community has to offer.
-Staff. Is the staff appropriately dressed, personable and outgoing? Do the staff members treat each other in a professional manner? Does the staff call residents by name and interact warmly? The answers to these questions will determine quite a bit toward whether the community is right for your loved one.
-Medical needs. Does the community have on site medical supervision? If not, is there an agency that is associated with the community that can help when needed?