Aging Trends and Preferences of Adults
Aging Matters

People fifty-five and over have higher expectations of how they want to live. Since boomers rapidly join the senior segment and retire, they will transform the golden years. Not one will choose a lifestyle, even briefly, to resemble their parents'.

To name a few of the evolving demands; where and how one lives, staying active and in good health, navigating health care, and remaining connected are top of mind. Younger seniors embrace an insatiable urge to "keep on, keeping on." They probe and cross-examine, even doubt the recognized and traditional perspectives. For the next few minutes, let's examine the emerging trends.

They want nursing homes out of the equation. An AARP survey discovered over 89 percent prefer home to an institution. And because seniors want an enriched lifestyle and to connect; innovations like health and wellness activities, educational centers, intergenerational programs, and volunteer opportunities influence the market.

Even assisted living communities offer restaurant style dining, new technology, social environments, lifelong learning and community engagement and integration. These features blend into skilled nursing and hospice too.

As people age, health challenges rise. The phenomenon drives the need for wellness enhancement services and products. The National Council on Aging says that nearly 92 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 77% have at least two. And the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that more than 76% of older Americans take two or more medications, and 37% use five plus.

With escalating prescription drug intake, the trend shifts to increasing health goals and to adding more exercise to the daily routines. When doing so, an individual will enjoy a healthier and more independent lifestyle.

Being more social and staying connected is another trend that seniors embrace. Recently, the Pew Research Center revealed that older adults go online for social connections, health research, family communications, and learning activities. The technologies that help with staying connected are tablets and iPads, hearing aids, video and computer brain games, Skype, health tracking software, smartphones and wireless home monitoring.

Boomers are active and have desires for community involvement like college classes, and volunteering at favorite charities. Making a difference remains a top priority. Other places they connect are libraries, senior centers, YMCA, and attending lifelong learning classes.

People know that exploring ways to stay vital and healthy are the true ingredients to aging with dignity. Individuals have opportunities to go beyond the traditional lifestyle and integrate purposeful activities like multidimensional wellness programs to address chronic health conditions. Staying focused on lifestyle choices and quality of life will indeed help all Americans have a happier and healthier retirement. The article describes the contemporary senior's lifestyle, and it looks nothing like the generations' before.

Carol Marak, aging alone advocate, columnist, speaker and editor at Seniorcare.com. A former family caregiver, She earned a Fundamentals of Gerontology Certificate from the USC Davis School of Gerontology and writes about personal concerns while growing older.



Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

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