The Baby Boomer generation had a profound impact on the way Americans live, interact and think today. Defiant, dedicated to personal freedom and committed to the pursuit of happiness, Baby Boomers are not giving ground as they enter their senior years. Baby Boomers may face adversity and lifestyle changes but they refuse to go down without swinging.
Unfortunately, aging today includes numerous traditional risks such as hearing impairments, declining vision and osteoporosis, conditions that certainly affect the way seniors live and process information. But, do not be fooled, this generation is approaching senior living with the same vigor they approached the challenges of the 1960’s when they changed the US forever.
Huffington Post on Senior Independence
As the Huffington Post noted in 2015, Baby Boomers have their own view of aging and senior living.
Baby Boomers see driving, that permanent coming-of-age staple, as critical to their independence. Before you say, “That’s ridiculous!” ask your senior loved one how important driving is to them. Despite vision and hearing challenges and slower reaction times, seniors want the benefits of mobility. If you are planning future senior care for a parent of loved one, be prepared with solutions to this dilemma or expect unrealistically stubborn resistance.
Here are a few other pointers that should not only be acknowledged but included in your senior living retirement plan:
Allow the Boomer brain to remain active – Baby Boomers want mental stimulation. Baby Boomers thrived on this in their youth and are continuing in retirement. More seniors are working at home than at any time in history. The Bernard Osher Foundation has created Lifelong Learning Institutes for persons aged 50 and older on 119 college and university campuses. Does your future senior living plan include access to these programs?
Healthy eating scores high marks – This is a huge change in senior living planning. Baby Boomers changed their diets as they learned the benefits of healthy eating. We should not expect them to change to poor diet habits as seniors. Today, there are many options for seniors who want to prepare their own meals. These programs do not necessitate driving to the supermarket to get good nutrition.
The all-important house call – In North Carolina, a group known as Doctors Making Housecalls consists of 52 clinicians that perform 75,000+ home visits to private residences, retirement communities, apartments and assisted living facilities every year. Does the community where your Baby Boomer charge will live have a similar service?
Lifelong housing specifications work – When planning senior retirement living, explore the possibilities of a new strategy known as “lifelong housing.” Rogue Valley, Oregon, has identified lifelong housing certification standards that enable seniors and builders to be on the same page for features conducive to aging in place. Features like no-step entry and first floor baths are examples of items on the lifelong housing checklist. Are you able to deploy this checklist for your senior loved one so they can have important safety features added to their new or existing residence?
Overweight is the enemy – More and more cities, towns and villages are not only encouraging seniors to stay active but are also creating safe walking paths and trails within their boundaries. Allowing Baby Boomers to exercise deters many of the leading risks our loved ones face. Senior living planners should be sure their loved ones have access to fitness and especially walking paths. The combination of fresh air and walking is unbeatable.
The bottom line on senior living planning is to understand the lifestyle that suits the resident as well as the ingredients in healthy living. There are no quick solutions. Senior living is as unique as the Baby Boomer generation. For best results, invest in research and take the time to have meaningful discussions with the Boomer about all their options and the pros and cons of each.
Senior living is a changing landscape and Baby Boomers are making it better for everyone. What would you expect?