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Trends in Independent Living

by Mary Fetzer

Retirement Living has evolved. Transitioning to senior housing no longer means settling for a sedentary lifestyle in a sterile, institutional environment. In fact, one of the biggest trends in today's senior housing market is a shift away from the traditional assisted-living format toward Independent Living facilities. Healthy, active seniors are looking toward Independent Living facilities to provide them with the mobility, amenities, and freedom needed to maintain rich and active lifestyles.

Age is no longer a barrier to enjoying a full, active life. Today's seniors are more mobile and affluent than their predecessors. They are remaining healthier and living longer which has led to a view of retirement as merely a lifestyle change, not the end of everyday living. These seniors have led rich, fulfilling lives and are not through discovering what else life has to offer. They worked hard and planned their careers, their children's education, and even their retirement. Now they can give up some of the mundane tasks that were part of their daily existence and spend that time enjoying the things that they have loved for years.

Ideally, seniors can take advantage of the good lifestyle with the peace of mind of knowing that their future is secure.

Here are some of the retirement trends now promoted by independent living facilities:

The New Florida?
New retirement facilities are popping up all over the country. No longer is it "off to Florida" to relax. Today's seniors are living it up wherever they are. Some northern retirees go to Florida only to find it too hot, too expensive, and lacking in cultural opportunities. But they don't want to go back to winters, so they might opt for a more temperate area like the Carolinas or even venture out of the country to Latin America, where temperatures and property prices are milder.

Urban Retirement
A big house and yard can be a hassle when you're older. Some retirees with the cultural inclination and financial means are moving downtown. Time previously spent on maintaining the home is replaced with fine dining and the theater. Many seniors willingly give up their car and walk wherever they want to go--a boost for their health and the environment.

Adventure Activities
Swimming, golf, fishing, and bowling are not the only retirement sports these days. Modern seniors know the importance of staying in shape and working out and enjoy active team sports like softball, tennis, and track. Becoming increasingly popular are adventure activities like kayaking, hiking, and rollerblading. Some independent living facilities even offer hang gliding, skydiving, white water rafting, hot air ballooning, skiing, and parachuting adventures. For those retirees who are feeling less adventurous there's Pilates, Tai Chi, yoga, spinning, personal training, and other health and fitness activities.

Technology
There is increasing interest in technology among the senior demographic. Independent living communities incorporate a broad range of technology amenities to meet the expectations of the new tech-savvy generation. Features may include wireless Internet access, computer labs staffed with stimulating software, and Internet cafes and bistros where they can take their laptops and socialize with others while surfing the Web. Additionally, the families of seniors can use technology to be greater participants in their parents' lives and care.

Senior Co-Housing
Wouldn't it be nice to spend the golden years with lifelong friends? In an elder co-housing community, residents own their own apartment or townhouse and a portion of separate common areas, including a kitchen, dining and living rooms, and perhaps a housekeeper's apartment. The residents share chores, maintenance expenses, and even the cost of a nurse, if needed. Results of such co-housing arrangements include spontaneous socializing, shared shopping excursions for the common house, and continued meaningful friendships.

University Retirement
Not all seniors are fourth-year students! Initially intended to keep alumni involved in campus happenings, many major universities and colleges have introduced campus senior housing. Such university programs have become the ideal for those seniors who are true to their school. University retirement programs emphasize lifelong learning and personal growth and offer the benefits of an intergenerational community.

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Co-housing is a good idea. Another is "Group Home."
by yin wei submitted on Nov 15, 2011



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