Report: Older adults benefit from living with others

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A new report from the Pew Research Center reaffirms the decline in use of some forms of senior living but also offers some potential angles for industry marketing professionals.

The Feb. 18 report, which analyzes data from center surveys as well as the U.S. Census Bureau, finds that the share of Americans aged 85 or more years who are living in nursing homes or other “group quarters” has declined dramatically. In 1990, 24% of this age group lived in such settings, but that number had dwindled to 11% as of 2014. Increasingly, according to the researchers, these older adults are choosing to live by themselves or with a spouse or child.

When looking at the larger group of people aged 65 or more years, the researchers found that 6% lived in skilled nursing facilities or other group settings in 1990, but that number had decreased to 3% by 2014. “The decline may reflect both better health among adults and increased preference for other types of long-term care” as well as living alone or with a spouse or child, according to the report.

Living with family means that an older adult will see those family members more often, the authors say, but older adults who live alone can experience several downsides from their living arrangement. They can be less satisfied with their social lives, less likely to enjoy hobbies and other benefits of the free time that comes with aging, and less optimistic about their personal financial situations.

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