Is 90 the new 50? Look at older adults like the vivacious Betty White, who still takes the world by storm at the age of 89, or Warren Buffet, who continues to be the investment guru for thousands of people who follow his every piece of advice--at age 80. It's certainly more possible than ever to successfully age into our 80's, 90's and beyond with a complete and active lifestyle.
Are we seeing the full picture?
But does that mean 90 is the new 50? Aging happens differently for each individual. There are many who will never see an 80th birthday. Many will become very sick in their 50's, 60's or even younger and struggle to maintain the independence that should be rightfully theirs at such a young age.
According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA), the average age of assisted living residents is 86.9--and that data is from 2009. The typical assisted living resident is a female, 86 years old, who requires assistance with two activities of daily living (ADLs).
There's no question that people are living, staying healthier and remaining active longer than ever. While assisted living facilities and other senior living providers are constantly evolving to meet the demands of an increasingly active resident population, they're also trying to accommodate residents of increasing ages. We hear more and more stories about residents celebrating their centennial birthdays, while at the same time the youngest residents can easily be a few decades younger.
Senior living providers meet wide range of needs
This is precisely why the long-term care continuum is so vitally important in a community, and why continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) are gaining popularity. CCRCs provide a range of service levels within the same community, enabling residents to adapt their services and level of assistance as their needs change without making a move to another facility--and often another provider altogether, which can mean big changes to the daily routine a person has become accustomed to.
It's an extension of person-centered care in that it allows aging individuals to maintain a sense of home even as they age and at whatever pace their bodies and minds are aging.
Seniors are feeling better, later in life
Today's seniors benefit not only from extended lifespans, but from greater feelings of well-being. PsychCentral reports on a study by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Stanford University. The Successful Aging Evaluation (SAGE) study evaluated more than 1,000 adults in San Diego with a mean age of 77.
The SAGE study finds that older age is associated with better mental functioning. "After adjusting for age, a higher self-rating of successful aging was associated with higher education, better cognitive function, better perceived physical and mental health, less depression, and greater optimism and resilience," PsychCentral describes.
There's a clear trend emerging that seniors are reporting greater feelings of well-being with advancing age, and that those positive emotional vibes are contributing to physical health. What's your attitude on aging? Are you embracing your golden years and all they have to offer? Join the ranks of the increasing number of seniors who are living life to the fullest in good physical and mental health as they approach their centennial birthdays. After all, 90 is the new 50!