Aging and Living Concerns of Older Adults
Senior housing and living expenses are significant concerns for people 65 and over living alone. Specifically, it's affordable housing, transportation, isolation, and lack of connections and activities that can result in anxiety, stress and health concerns.
It’s no doubt that the 65 and over population is increasing rapidly since Baby Boomers are now entering the demographic. According to the U.S. Census, people aged 65 plus living alone increased to 29 percent in 2016, up from 27 percent in 2010. These individuals, including myself, face similar challenges including acquiring personal care after surgery or if we’re sick, affordable housing, public transportation, social engagement, and feeling lonely due to isolation.
The female population has the greatest numbers in the aging solo category. More than seventy percent of the total seniors living alone in the U.S. are female. Even though men have a higher chance of remarrying, there are a few of them on their own.
The National Institute of Health says that separation is not okay for anyone, no matter the age. That said, isolation can have an especially negative impact on older adults. It is because isolation among this age group comes with a bag of risks, and none of them are good for active aging.
Research examining loneliness has identified many ill effects, including:
- Diminished physical activity
- Diminished motor function
- Heightened depression
- Disrupted sleep and daytime dysfunction
- Impaired mental and cognitive function
Independent and assisted living communities, cohousing, and shared housing are intentional and collaborative. Each combines the benefits of private homes with those of sustainable living. Cohousing promotes active participation in the design and operation of neighborhoods. It also offers shared facilities and relations.
All of them blend resources for mixed-age communities. Like many, I do not want to age alone. I may live on my own, but, I want to do so in an environment that supports social connections, lifelong learning, fulfilling activities and easy access to transportation.
Carol Marak is an aging advocate, syndicated columnist and editor at SeniorCare.com. She earned a Certificate in the Fundamental of Gerontology at UC Davis, School of Gerontology.