Seniors On Their Own
Older Americans are living on their own more than ever before in our country’s history.
In fact, a 2012 report by the Council on Contemporary Families for Older Americans called the trend “a revolution in how and where the elderly live.” This change has been remarkable.
One hundred years ago, 70 percent of American widows and widowers moved in with their families. Today, the same proportions of our seniors live by themselves. A full third of all older Americans live alone and that number spikes to 40 percent for those 85 and older. Experts say this trend will only increase as the Baby Boom generation continues to age.
As the Council’s report shows — and those of us in the aging-in-place industry know intuitively — the vast majority of those 65 and older live alone because they want to. Additionally, older people who live alone are, on the whole, a very active and social bunch. They are actually more likely than their married counterparts to spend time with friends and neighbors.
Certainly, there are some downsides. The aging process brings along with it a litany of chronic conditions, physical limitations and potential dangers — from the effects of diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis to deteriorating eyesight and hearing and memory problems. People who live alone are also less likely to carry out routine tasks such as preparing nutritious meals or doing chores.