Senior Independent Living communities are scoring high grades from Baby Boomers. This does not mean Baby Boomers will not face challenges but, according to a number of studies, terrific progress has been made on many fronts in the independent living community sector.
In 2013, Holleran Consulting LLC surveyed 57,900 senior residents in 265 senior living communities spread across 36 states. With 89.3% of these respondents rating their satisfaction levels at good to excellent, the survey is a ringing endorsement for the evolution of 21st century senior living communities. Perhaps even more impressively, 84.5% of the respondents said they would recommend their senior living community to another potential resident.
Here’s the real surprise. Residents in the nation’s assisted living and skilled nursing communities awarded grades of 80 percent or higher to their communities. Much of the success is attributed to new wellness programs and better trained staff members.
From AARP Public Policy
A review of AARP public policy indicates that Baby Boomers can expect a stable senior living marketplace until 2030 when the ratio of caregivers to patients begins to become more challenging. The AARP study indicated that for persons 80 years of age or older, the ratio of family caregivers, aged 45-64, per senior was 7/2.
Unfortunately, the study projects that the ratio will fall to 4/1 by 2030 and to 2.9/1 by 2050. AARP senior policy analyst Lynn Feinberg explains: “More than two-thirds of Americans believe they will be able to rely on their families to meet their needs when they need long-term care.” This will probably not be the case by 2030 and certainly by 2050.
Building a Healthy Mind
In conjunction with our article regarding the importance of hobbies for seniors, the Association for Psychological Science reports that seniors who engage in “prolonged mental challenges” derive extraordinary quality of life and psychological benefits. Photography and quilting are examples of the mental exercises that yield big return for seniors.
Interestingly, today’s senior living communities usually offer hobby centers and even retain the services of hobby instructors who can help seniors engage new mental exercises. Denise Park, a researcher from the University of Texas at Dallas, says that seniors get more out of new mentally stimulating exercises than from familiar games and puzzles. The consensus is that being outside the senior’s comfort zone has advantages.
Senior Living Community Costs Rising
The cost of home healthcare and the cost of senior living communities are on the rise. In 2014, the median cost of home health service was $20.00 per hour, a 1.39% increase from 2013.
Genworth Financial reports the following average monthly expenditures for seniors in 2016:
- Homemaker services – $3,813
- Home Health Aide – $3,861
- Adult Day Health Care – $1,473
- Assisted Living Facility – $3,628
- Nursing Home Care semi-private room – $6,844
- Nursing Home Care private room - $7,698
Despite these costs, Mather Lifeways Institute on Aging reports that 77% of family members of residents in Continuing Care Residential Communities (CCRCs) are likely to consider CCRC living in the future.
Underestimating the Need for Long-Term Care
One red flag was reported by Age Wave. Most people facing senior living grossly underestimate the likelihood of long-term care. About 37% of persons aged 50+ feel they may need long-term care in the future. Age Wave reports that the more realistic figure is closer to 70%.
At the same time, 62% of persons aged 50+ are providing some financial aid to grandchildren, children, parents and/or siblings. According to Age Wave, the bottom line is that families who have open discussions about senior living planning are better prepared to face the very real challenges ahead.