The Trends in Today’s Family Life are Changing the Game for Senior Living Providers

5 Trends in Today’s Family Life are Changing the Game for Senior Living

There are changing family dynamics happening all across the country increasingly affecting senior living. In March of this year, experts met at the PEAK Leadership Summit to present and discuss the changes in family life as one of the major disruptors for senior living providers. Here are a few of the latest trends:

1. Divorce of Older Adults

We all know divorce rates are much higher today than in decades past. In recent years, while divorce has declined slightly for people in their 20s and 30s, it has increased dramatically among older adults. Studies show Baby Boomers and adults age 60+ are divorcing or separating at unprecedented rates as they age. And the uptick is continuing through the latest stats from 2015.

2.  Rise of Re-partnering

Divorce doesn’t mean seniors are living alone. Research shows cohabitation has increased more rapidly among older adults than any other age group. The good news is – whether older adults choose to remarry or cohabit, studies find it has a positive impact on well-being, and is associated with mental and physical health benefits. But re-partnering also presents the following challenges.

3. Looser Family Ties and Care Obligation

Studies show that parents’ divorce and remarriage weaken their adult children’s sense of obligation to provide care later in life, particularly for stepparents. In cohabiting households, ambiguous family relationships can hinder caregiving from adult children and limit the assistance they feel they should provide.

4. More Complexity in Care Decisions

Changing family dynamics leads to more indecision and conflict with children involved, stepchildren, step-stepchildren, stepsiblings, in-laws, etc. As the care continuum progresses and it’s time to make decisions relating to the power of attorney and authority to make care decisions, it can lead to some very emotional discussions. Senior living providers have a new set of family variables to sort through to deliver the best care and service.

5. Elder Care Gap

Changing family patterns and relationships indicate more people will reach their senior years without a solid support structure for care from family. To address this potential care gap, researchers point to expanding the availability of long-term care insurance. As well as designing more aging-friendly communities and an increased demand for paid care services.

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This article was revised on 4/10/24.

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