Senior Living Alternatives: Compilation

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Hear this discussion from our Longevity Explorers — circles of older adults who meet monthly to explore solutions to the challenges that come with aging.

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from: Longevity Explorers | Comm Club Grownups

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Discussion Summary

After a previous month's discussion among circle explorers of different retirement alternatives, explorer Geri Spieler offered to go out and do some research and pull together a list of the different retirement living options available at present.

Below is Geri's introduction, and at the bottom of this page is an audio of the discussion at the Commonwealth Club. You can read (or download) Geri's compilation below, and view Geri's bio here.

Following the introduction from Geri, in the audio below, the Commonwealth Club Explorer circle discusses the topic. 

Compilation: Retirement Living Alternatives

PDF icon alternative_senior_living_options_march_2016.pdf


For many years, multi-generational families lived together. There were no senior homes and retirement communities.  Grandparents watched the grandchildren while Mom and Dad worked and made money. Mom may not have a career, but she was shopping, cooking, sewing and milking the cows.

Of course, all of that has changed as the U.S. became an industrialized country.  The mobility of society and opportunities outside of many hometowns has contributed to the proliferation of places and a multitude of lifestyles for seniors to live.

As the economy ebbed and flowed, opportunities for new jobs put a lot of pressure on the formerly the multi-generational family to stay together.

 Today, in the 21st century, in the U.S., a large segment of the population, labeled Baby Boomers, has created an industry, both for economics, housing and a growing practice of geriatric medicine.

A plethora of new living arrangements began to appear in the 1960’s known as “senior communities” for people over the age of 55.  These were not convalescent homes where patients went directly from the hospital to recover. These were, and are, living communities that cater to the needs of an older population: Some healthy and active as well as for those infirm both mentally and physically.

Some of the newer active senior communities are built around the condominium style, while some are attached homes. Almost all have a security guard at the entrance and are known as a “gated community.”

Today there many offshoots of the senior lifestyle living arrangements. However, not all seniors, age 55 and up, want to live apart from their communities, but require more assistance for their day-to-day living.  As people age, certain abilities wane, such as the ability to drive, managing meals and some in-home medical support that may include keeping track of medications.

The variety of senior living lifestyles vary. The Baby Boomer population are now entering into their 60’s. The bulk of the demographic, according the U.S. Census Bureau, identifies seventy-six million American children were born between 1945 and 1964, representing a cohort that is significant on account of its size alone.  This includes people who are between 51 and 70 years old in 2016.

With such a large population within those ages, the economic, religious, racial and educational disparities naturally lead to a multiple of desired living arrangements or at least different, as they march into retirement.

In the attached PDF compilation (see top of page) we outline several variations on the theme of senior living styles and communities.

Listen to a discussion of this topic

from the Commonwealth Club, San Francisco circle discussion March 14th, 2016.


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Key words: 
residential alternatives