Like any age group, seniors are diverse and impossible to fit into one category. While it's only too common for the media to portray older adults as homogenous, the desires and behaviors of those over 65 are just are variable as they are in anyone else. A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau identifies some key trends in how and where elders age, using data from a number of population and health surveys.
One of the broadest trends that the agency found was simply in how long the average person lives. The number of people living past 65 in 2010 was 12 times what it was a century ago, comprising more than 40 million individuals in the U.S. As a percentage of the total population, seniors grew three times, from 4.1 percent to 13.0 percent in that same time frame. By 2050, nearly 21 percent of Americans are predicted to be over 65.
Most people do not change residences past age 65, according to the report, but the percent who do has remained constant, while younger populations have been in fewer numbers. Seniors who do relocate often go to retirement communities, but what type they choose is changing. The percentage of people in skilled nursing facilities declined from 4.5 percent to 3.1 percent between 2000 and 2010. Assisted living has become a more popular option over the same period. According to the report, part of the shift is related to Medicaid funding, which now favors independent living. Benefits for home services expanded from 13 to 43 percent between 1990 and 2007.
An AARP survey in 2010 showed that people over 45 prefer to live near family and friends, and within reach of basic services. The desire to stay close to the people and services that they rely on may be one factor keeping seniors in place.
Dating can be stressful for any person, regardless of age, gender or experience. For some, the process has become much easier with the rising acceptance of online dating. According to the Pew Research Center, 11 percent of adults who go online use virtual dating websites or apps to connect to other singles in their areas. Adoption among seniors remains low, as only 3 percent of online adults over the age of 65 are present on these platforms.
Financially planning for retirement living can be difficult for some, especially if they have to complete tasks on their own. Developing a budget, speaking with different senior communities about cost and trying to balance income after retirement takes a great deal of time and patience. Seniors who may require assistance from a professional when examining their financial options should consider working with a financial adviser.
There are a variety of benefits that come with old age, including an accumulated lifetime of wisdom that can be passed to younger generations and, according to a series of recently released surveys, a bundle of confidence.
People in the U.S. are living longer than ever and remaining active until much later in life than previous generations. While some of that has to do with better health care and overall healthier environment, a lot of progress has been driven by people following better habits. According to research from Information Resources Inc., older adults are leading the trend of consumers spending more on their health.