Where Will Boomers Spend Their Golden Years?

Post by Kate Antheil Boyd, VP of Content, Caring.com

Today in the U.S., there are 1.7 million nursing home beds — and about 76 million baby boomers. Even if boomers wanted to age in nursing homes (they don’t), there wouldn’t be enough room.

Then consider this generation’s growing life expectancy. First-wave boomers are 67 years old today and will likely reach age 82 to 85 (men and women, respectively).

We need more options.

Senior Living Redefined

Boomers dread nursing homes, it’s true. But senior living communities are another story. People are attracted to independent living, assisted living, and continuing care retirement communities because they’re ready to give up shoveling snow, cleaning gutters, and changing light bulbs. They want amenities: fine dining, social activities, interesting outings. They’re also eager for nearby help — assistance with health issues or activities of daily living — as their needs develop. If this appeals to you, start planning; it’s best to move in when you’re healthy and mobile enough to make friends and enjoy all the offerings.

Staying Home as Long as Possible

If senior living doesn’t interest you, new are trends emerging for those who want to stay home.

Universal Design

In years past, making a home more accessible to seniors meant adding a lot of clunky, ugly stuff. Universal design is changing all that. Instead of thinking about what some residents can’t do, universal design emphasizes simplicity and beauty for everyone.

Hallways and doors, for example: Yes, a wider hallway means a wheelchair can pass through. But the wider hallway is also helpful to the harried mom pushing a stroller. A push button pocket door means someone in a wheelchair won’t have to struggle with opening and closing the door; it’s also really handy if both your arms are full of groceries.

If you plan to stay in your home for years to come, look into the universal design options available for bathrooms, kitchens, and elsewhere. You’ll make your home more senior-friendly — and more beautiful.

Gadgets, Gizmos, and Services

You’d be amazed to learn of all the inventors out there, hard at work on new gadgets and gizmos to help you age in place. For example:

* Adaptable clothing that’s easy to get on and off, even if you have arthritis

* Remote controls with simpler buttons

* Medication reminders

* Home telephones with amplification systems

* Printers that don’t need a computer to print your e-mail

* Home-monitoring sensors that track every time you open a cabinet door, walk into a room, open a medicine bottle, or even sit on the toilet — and that report to your loved ones if your daily habits go awry

* Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) that let you call for help with the push of a button

* Canes and bifocals that are as much fashion statements as functional tools

* Meal services that bring you a weekly batch of *fresh*, delicious, nutritious prepared meals

The list could go on; the point is, great gadgets are here and more are coming. If you can imagine a way to more easily go about your daily business, Google it and see what’s been invented. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Care Co-Ops

Just because you’re home alone doesn’t mean you have to be alone. In more and more cities across the U.S., seniors are forming co-ops to coordinate aging-related services. For example, in the Beacon Hill Village of Boston, members enjoy discounts; organized outings; transportation; exercise classes; and a network of approved handymen, dog walkers, housekeepers, and home care providers.

In-Home Care Help

Home care services are another area of rapid growth. Many agencies move beyond medical care to offer companions who help with daily activities ranging from driving you to doctor appointments to helping with grocery shopping, preparing meals, and light housekeeping. Personal care assistants are another option — they typically have more training and can help with daily activities that require physical contact, like brushing teeth or shaving. If you’re in pretty good health but need occasional help, it’s an option worth considering.

We’re in for an interesting ride as this giant generation moves through the next chapter. Keep an eye out for new ideas to make aging easier for all.

Kate Antheil Boyd is VP of Content for Caring.com, the leading online destination for caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. To learn more about what makes a great assisted living community see: Top Assisted Living Trends; What You Can Expect From a Great Assisted Living Community.

The Baby Boomer Number Game

From my US News & World Blog

There are 75 million baby boomers who are on the verge of retirement. For the next twenty years, an average of 10,000 people each day will reach age 65, which has historically been the retirement phase of life.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of people age 65 to 84 in the U.S. grew by 3.3 million. While 13 percent of Americans are currently age 65 or older, that proportion will jump to 18 percent by 2030. The current 40 million senior citizens will balloon to 89 million by 2050.

These numbers and their impact are awe-inspiring and a bit frightening. Baby boomers entering retirement age will dramatically change today’s business and lifestyle landscape. Baby boomers may stay in the workforce longer than their parents did, both because they need the money and they’re not ready to leave behind fulfilling careers. And when they finally do retire, their need for health care and assisted living could permanently alter what retirement living arrangements look like for generations to come.

Work. Americans didn’t always aim to retire early. Back in 1880, 78 percent of men over age 64 were still in the workforce. In 1934, the official retirement age of 65 was introduced. And by 1990, only 30 percent of men over 64 remained in the workforce. Now the retirement age is increasing again. In today’s era of economic uncertainty, many would-be retirees will need to keep working to make ends meet and be considered fortunate if they can find or hold on to jobs.

Delaying retirement will certainly improve the finances of individual baby boomers, but could also lead to intergenerational conflict. Older employees who stay on the job longer than expected could be perceived as standing in the way of younger workers who are in search of their chance to contribute to society and make a living. And senior citizens who take up positions far beneath their experience levels could compete with students and recent graduates looking for a first job.

As more seniors stay active in or re-enter the workforce, older workers will increasingly report to younger supervisors, which can also create tension if both parties don’t learn to effectively communicate with one another. Without sensitivity on both sides and a willingness to work together, conflict is likely and the welfare of the company could be jeopardized.

Living arrangements. Once they leave the workforce behind, aging baby boomers will face decisions regarding their living arrangements that will impact family and friends. In the ideal situation, baby boomers will remain able to cope with the responsibilities of home ownership, take care of themselves, and live safely where they are. But they are unlikely to remain healthy enough and sufficiently independent to go it alone indefinitely.

As they continue to age, a growing percentage of baby boomers will reach the point where they cannot completely fend for themselves. At that time, moving in with family may be an option. But challenges are bound to arise when family members must adjust their lifestyle to incorporate the quirks and habits of new residents. Parents may face scrutiny in how they raise their children, with unwanted input from the grandparents. And the physical requirements involved in caring for seniors can tax the patience and finances of the rest of the family.

When boomers require more attention than can be effectively provided by family members, nursing homes and extended care facilities will need to be considered. For families already challenged due to the economy and demands of raising a family, this can be brutal. Assisted living facilities that provide hands-on personal care for those who cannot live alone, but do not require the full-time coverage provided by a nursing home, cost an average of $3,261 per month, according to a Genworth Financial survey. Nursing homes with semi-private rooms are $5,790 per month, while those with private rooms ring in at $6,390 monthly.

Baby boomers changed the world in their youth and as working adults. Their impact continues at a relentless pace and will likely change our notions about retirement as millions move into retirement age.

Dave Bernard is the author of Are You Just Existing and Calling it a Life?, which offers guidelines to discover your personal passion and live a life of purpose. Not yet retired, Dave has begun his due diligence to plan for a fulfilling retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.

Top 5 Places to Enjoy the Romance of Resort Retirement in Sunny Australia

Post by Sharon Freeman, freelance Australian writer and blogger

When you think of Australia, whether you are from here or elsewhere, the tendency is to think of a bright and sunny place with rolling deserts, exotic plants, wildlife and endless beautiful beaches. With more and more seniors enjoying active lifestyles well into retirement, there is a new kind of retirement community beginning to gain momentum, known as the ‘retirement resort.’

With all the amenities and enjoyment of a permanent vacation combined with that perfect Australian weather, some of the best new resorts up and down the East and West coasts are made for those 50 and over. Check our recommendations of the retirement resorts in the country.

1) The National Lifestyle Villages

Located in West Busselton, Western Australia is the Busselton at the Bay retirement resort. This resort is owned by the National Lifestyle Villages and only a short drive or pleasant walk from the town centre.

Unlike yesteryear’s retirement facilities designed for 65-and-overs, those operated by National Lifestyle Villages are designed for people aged 45 and up. This young and fun vibe is great for hanging out by the pool, playing tennis, having BBQs or beverages in the outdoor entertaining area or relaxing in the spa. Enjoy the surrounding natural environment of Geographe Bay, Naturaliste and area attractions like Margaret River Vineyards and the Busselton Jetty.

2) Lifestyle

Taking the idea of ‘resort living’ very literally, Lifestyle has a handful of top retirement resorts both existing and in-development across the country.

Victoria offers one of the best retirement experiences and the Lifestyle Warragul retirement resort is one of them. Mixing a ‘Country Club’ environment with resort amenities, Warragul offers a spectacular rural setting an easy drive outside of happening metropolis, Melbourne. Enjoy an active lifestyle with the bowling greens, gymnasium, billiards room, tennis courts and even dance floor! Choose from a range of custom-made 1 and 2 bedroom homes for ultimate comfort and relaxation at home. Just south of the Sunshine Coast, this is a Queensland retirement dream!

3) IRT Parklands Currimundi

For those retires who like the beach, bush and bustle of the city all in one centrally located resort retirement community, Currimundi is the best option.

Currimundi has beautiful world-class beaches and only less than an hour’s drive away from Brisbane. Heading to the west, you can enjoy the serenity of the Glasshouse Mountains and surrounding National Parks. Even without leaving home, residents here live amongst a rainforest habitat and enjoy seeing the natural wildlife wandering the grounds on a daily basis. A unique feature here is the availability of 3 bedroom homes, whereas many retirement resorts offer only 1 and 2 bedroom units. This is great for visiting family and friends. Residents here must be over 50 and pets are allowed.

4) Crighton Lifestyle Resorts

If you aren’t quite ready to retire, it might be worth waiting for The Hermitage Lifestyle Resort- Tea Gardens.

Located just north of Sydney and between two top-touring destinations of Sydney and Byron Bay, this New South Wales retirement village already has several stages completed and more phases to come. Retirees who enjoy golf will love the chance to play a round at the top-tier country club while enjoying the scenery of Waterlilly Lake. For an extra touch of luxury and romance, take a stroll through the “Monet”-inspired grounds and gardens. Check out the newsletter on the official Hermitage website for an idea of what is going on in the community and with the development.

5) Palm Lake Resort Deception Bay

You can find this little gem, the Palm Lake Resort, on the beautiful Deception Bay in Queensland. The resort is truly designed for retirees who want a quiet retirement and those who want to continue enjoying an active lifestyle.

In addition to the usual pools (indoor and outdoor), bowling greens and tennis courts, this retirement resort features a croquet lawn, craft room and handyman work shop. If you are more interested in molding your mind than working with your hands, there are other facilities – a full library and a computer room. If you’re more musically-inclined, enjoy the baby grand piano in the clubhouse. Located right on the water, many residents own watercraft or enjoy dining, shopping and nightlife in town.

Sharon Freeman is an Australian freelance writer and blogger. Since 2007, she has been writing about buying, selling, renting real estate and articles for companies like http://taylors.com.au/