The aging of American Baby Boomers, a generation now numbering approximately 75 million, is expected to have an enormous impact on American society. An estimated three million individuals will turn 65 every year for the next two decades or so. For the most part, Baby Boomers are healthier, wealthier and more active than previous generations. However, retirement in the traditional sense may not be part of the plan for many of these healthy, active seniors.
There is no denying that society is changing on a global scale as more and more individuals live longer.
While previous generations of empty nesters may have looked forward to retirement communities and lives of leisure, the current crop of seniors is more likely to continue working, taking “aging in place” in stride. Even though Baby Boomers may be in better physical condition than their predecessors, aging takes a toll on physical well-being, with mobility and vision problems causing the most concern.
The option for an increasing number of families today is sharing, whether it stems from need or preference. There are many factors at play. Grown children often remain at home or return home; single parents frequently share homes with their own parents. Changes in the structure, size and makeup of American households requires taking a new look at architecture and design that will address the needs of various age groups, from toddler to senior citizen.
Safety and Comfort
Take a cue from commercial standards if you must modify your home for an older resident. Resulting from passage of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, there are some relatively simple ways to accommodate an elderly person.
Such things as “comfort-height” toilets, bath bars, step-through tubs, and showers with no curbs add safety and convenience in the bathroom. The addition of a chair lift makes two-story homes suitable for seniors who have trouble walking, and exterior ramps can be added to facilitate entry. Replace door “knobs” with levers and trade traditional faucets for models with blade handles or single controls.
Lighted switches or motion-activated lighting is a convenience as well as a safety feature. Also consider electronic door chimes and alarm sirens that sound throughout the home, as well as self-closing entry doors and a keyless door lock
Million American Baby Boomers