Senior Living (2)

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Senior Living - Retiring to Long Island, New York

Extrapolation shows that approximately 24,246 people over the age of 65 moved onto Long Island between 2017 and 2018. Of those, 24,005 were from New York State, and 241 were from other states.

Data Used

  • Potential retirees are 60 years of age and over.
  • According to the US Census, Long Island is composed primarily of Suffolk and Nassau County. Census data for those two counties will be used.

Suffolk County

  • In Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, there were 1,481,093 people in 2018.
  • Twenty-four percent, or 355,462 of those residents, were over the age of 60.
  • Of those over 65 years of age, 6% live in poverty in Suffolk County.
  • In total, 3% of the people in Nassau county moved from a different county/state in New York state in the previous year.
  • Extrapolating from that, 3% of 355,462 senior citizens means that approximately 10,663 seniors moved to Suffolk County.
  • Of those, 106 moved from a state other than New York.

Nassau County

  • Nassau County, Long Island, New York had 1,358,343 people in 2018.
  • Twenty-five percent, or 339,585 of those residents, were over the age of 60.
  • Of those over 65 years of age, 5% live in poverty in Nassau County.
  • In total, 4% of the people in Nassau county moved from a different county/state in the previous year.
  • Extrapolating from that, 4% of 339,585 senior citizens means that approximately 13,583 seniors moved to Nassau County in 2018.
  • Of those, 135 moved from a state other than New York.

Long Island

  • In the 40 years since 1970, the population of Long Island grew by less than 300,000 people in total.
  • Maps with demographics between 1970 and 2017 show that the population of Long Island is "aging out."
  • In total, Long Island has approximately 695,047 residents over the age of 60. [calculated]
  • Of those 695,047 senior residents, 24,246 moved onto Long Island. [calculated]
  • Of those who moved to Long Island in 2018, 24,005 were from New York State, and 241 were from other states. None were reported as moving from another country. [calculated]

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Senior Living - Nontraditional and/or Self Serve Approaches

Considered large and influential, Baby Boomer retirees are growing rapidly in the US. Baby Boomers are said to be growing by 10,000 every day in the US. Insights surrounding non-traditional approaches to senior living for the younger senior segment include self-started co-housing communities, Airbnb for senior living, and retirement at sea. Most of the findings included in this report were largely based on Baby Boomer retirees, as there was limited insight on non-traditional approaches to senior living for Generation X retirees. While some sources mentioned retirees in general, they did not specify whether they were referring to Baby Boomers or Generation X retirees specifically.

Self-Started Co-Housing Communities

Airbnb for Senior Living

  • Airbnb cited that seniors over 60 were their fastest-growing age group in the business. They reported having over 400,000 senior hosts and as guests, bookings by seniors over 60 grew by 66% in 2018. In 2017, Airbnb notes that revenues of $2 billion were made by its senior hosts globally. Unfortunately, there was no revenue data specific to the US in the same or other periods.
  • In 2018, Airbnb reported a 260% spike in experience bookings by seniors worldwide and an 1100% increase in experiences hosted by seniors. Unfortunately, there was no data more specific to the US.
  • Airbnb posits that seniors are drawn away from traditional forms of travel, like resorts, because Airbnb allows them to travel with "greater access to and belonging in a local community". According to Airbnb, the meeting of different people and the lasting connections made help seniors cope with feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Dubbed the "Airbnb for senior living", the website Seniorly enables senior living communities to fill unoccupied rooms. It has a network of over 30,000 senior living communities, spread across 44 cities and states in the US.
  • Seniorly enables short stays for seniors in their network of living communities when they need a break or when their caregivers are away. The short stays also serve as a trial period for them to experience what everyday life would be in a senior living community.

Retirement at Sea

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Senior Living - Missing Social Wellness

The term Senior Living can encompass a variety of living situations for the elderly, ranging from nursing homes and assisted living centers to senior apartment communities. Most senior living facilities offer residents help with day to day things that become harder for people to do as they age, such as food preparation, cleaning, laundry, and keeping track of prescriptions. These are all very important but not necessarily connected to social wellness.

Social wellness can be defined as positive interactions with others, or the human element that enhances life and makes it enjoyable. In some senior living facilities, these kinds of concerns might not be as heavily emphasized in favor of more pressing issues related to medical care or general operations. When residents of senior living facilities are unsatisfied with their environment, this can often be because social wellness is lacking.

Circumstances Impeding Social Wellness in Senior Living

Problems with activities: There may not be enough or appropriate activities in the facility, or residents aren't properly informed about them. Communication around this issue among residents, their families, and the facility staff can be difficult.

Lack of independence: Another problem seen in the worst kind of senior living is not allowing residents to have some degree of control over their own environment. Resident social wellness can be lessened by rules against personal decor items, or a lack of books or games for them to use independently, or even showing disrespect by talking down to them.

Lack of privacy: Depending on the type of facility, social wellness can be impacted negatively by the lack of privacy seniors may experience, with staff entering their rooms, and with the public areas of the facility being full of other residents. Alone time to recharge and rest can also be a part of social wellness.

Lack of age diversity: For some seniors, social wellness can be lessened by the fact that everyone in the facility is pretty much in the same age group. Those who are used to having family around or interacting with people at all stages of life may find it hard to be part of a group that is more homogeneous in age.

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Senior Living - Pitfalls and/or Deficiencies

The current senior living model attempts to support seniors, though several pitfalls exist. The move from living in one's own home to a senior living environment can be stressful and scary, and the current senior living model often fails to support seniors during this transition. Seniors have concerns regarding the loss of independence, the cost associated with moving and continued care, loss of privacy, and obtaining high quality care, which are valid concerns due to pitfalls and deficits in these areas. Senior living facilities could do more to help bridge this gap from independence to assistance for seniors.

Loss of Independence

  • Approximately 20% of surveyed seniors over the age of 70 acknowledged difficulty or inability to live independently without support or community resources, meaning they will require senior living options.
  • Moving from living in one's own home to a senior living environment, which can include independent living, assisted living, or nursing homes, leads to a loss of independence for the senior.
  • Seniors worry about being constantly monitored and not allowed to move about freely when going to a senior living environment, and often senior living facilities fall short in addressing this fear.
  • Senior living facilities should encourage new residents to bring personal items and decorations, which can give a sense of comfort and control over the new environment.
  • More seniors may be able to retain independence due to the continued advancement of technology, such as medical alert systems and smart home technology, which can assist seniors with maintaining their standard of living in a less restrictive setting (i.e. in own home or independent living). Lack of using these technologies, or making these options known, is another pitfall that should be addressed.

Costs of Care and Moving

  • More and more low and middle-income seniors need senior living environments, especially as baby boomers are aging. This strains federal and state budgets, creating a deficit in the senior care model.
  • Middle and low-income seniors lack resources needed to pay for housing and care, particularly the middle-income seniors who do not qualify for Medicaid.
  • Monthly costs associated with assisted living vary by state, ranging from $2803 to $6700 per month, and the senior living model needs to find ways to assist those who need care yet lack this amount of coverage.
  • Spending cuts in the federal budget negatively affected several senior care assistance, such as the Older Americans Act and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Cutting programs that help seniors live independently has added to the deficit in covering costs of senior living facilities.

Privacy Concerns

  • Many seniors are reluctant to live in senior living communities or facilities due to a fear of losing privacy.
  • Some senior living facilities do have 24-hour supervision, which can be daunting to the senior, even if his/her needs warrant this level of care.
  • The concern of having a nurse or aid invading personal space can be mitigated with increased use of medical alert systems. These allow the senior to signal for assistance as needed rather than having a stranger enter his/her living space frequently.
  • The current senior living model would be able to mitigate some of these fears by embracing technology that allows additional independence when possible, and informing seniors of these options prior to moving.

Quality of Care

  • Senior Living communities struggle with hiring and retaining high-quality caregivers.
  • While working in a caregiver role for seniors is rewarding, it is also challenging. Many potential caregivers find jobs in competing industries, such as in-home care, dining services, and social service workers, which have similar rewards with less challenge.
  • The unemployment rate in the US is low at this time, which means fewer candidates are looking for jobs in senior living support fields, continuing this deficit in caregivers.
  • Today's senior population tends to have more chronic conditions yet are living longer lives, which leads them to need significant physical and emotional assistance. This takes a toll on caregivers, both emotionally and physically, which often leads good employees to seek alternative employment.
  • Administrators of senior living facilities will need to funnel resources into staff development, foster a positive culture, and offer competitive pay to overcome this deficit.

From Part 03
  • "Senior living is a term that can have multiple meanings. In its most broad use, senior living is a term that describes an exclusive community of people who are above a set age such as 55 or 60. "
  • " Such services may include meal preparation, laundry and cleaning services, and help with medications. Availability of such services through the place of residence may help older Americans maintain their independence and avoid institutionalization"
  • " That’s why social wellness—the ability to interact with people around you, use good communication skills, have meaningful relationships, respect yourself and others, and create an effective support system—is so important."
  • "There are several studies where researchers concluded that nursing home residents have greater well-being when they are able to make decisions about their environment than when the staff made decisions for them."
  • "And it can be hard to maintain privacy when you’re constantly surrounded by other people. Assisted living staff members are constantly going in and out of seniors’ living quarters to check on them. It can make the seniors feel like they aren’t able to get access to the privacy they crave."
  • "If you want friends of all ages and enjoy interacting with young people, you might be frustrated that most people in the community are older. It might be depressing, too, watching many folks there get frailer as they age."