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The Transformation of Senior Living


A lifetime ago, nostalgia icon Bob Dylan strummed that “the times they are a-changin’.” Fast forward 60 years and, particularly for contemporary Baby Boomers and other seniors, the times are still a-changin’.

Times change. Situations change. Mostly because the expectations, wishes, wants and needs of 60+ seniors are a-changin’. Not surprisingly, seniors are triggering changes in housing and lifestyle options, health care, consumer trends, travel, entertainment, recreation, good times and quality of life.

For business and all levels of government, Alberta seniors are also a massive demographic force to be reckoned with. StatsCan and other trending is unanimous and undisputable. Albertans are living longer! A slower population growth rate, coupled with increasing life expectancy, means seniors will constitute an even greater share of Alberta’s population in the future than they do today. According to the Fraser Institute, the proportion of Albertans aged 65 will reach 18.8 per cent by 2040.

In the past 20 years, life expectancy has jumped by six years – from 64 to 71 – and with factors like breakthroughs in biomedical technology, it will probably increase even more in the next 10 years. Conservative estimates suggest life expectancy to reach 80 for both men and women by the year 2050.

Government projections show that a growing senior population will put pressure on health care spending, because Alberta seniors use more health care resources than other age groups as they are more vulnerable to illness and chronic disease that require acute care.

When it comes to lifestyle options and preferences and the various vital factors which impact the quality of life, the entire concept of “senior living” is being redefined. Alberta senior living professionals and businesses are now focused on the basics, the essentials, the options and new ways of doing things for the needs and wants and preferences of today’s and tomorrow’s 60+ generation.

The transformational concepts of senior living. The features. The amenities. The emphasis on quality of life, enjoyment, relationships and all-important social interaction opportunities. The experts underscore that, for today’s senior living lifestyle, being connected and feeling like a valued member of a community brings vibrancy to life.

Yes, health factors often do figure prominently into the realities of the senior lifestyle. But, despite the easy cliches and stereotypes exaggerating the misleading impression of pre-occupations with aches and pains and health worries, contemporary seniors are a diverse group with diverse interests.

Trending senior living research points out that today’s 60+ generation neither buys into or accepts the tired golden years cliché of sitting in a rocking chair or considering retirement as a time for idle speed. Senior living is a unique dynamic, focusing attention on health as well as the good times and joys of life: family, friends, hobbies, adventures.

Staying involved – with activities and people – is a key aspect of today’s senior living. Whether it is exercise, educational programing like lectures, or seminars and fun-type activities from art classes and travel groups to aquacise and wine tastings. Seniors expect – and demand – an enriching lifestyle that provides the services and amenities to enjoy an engaging, entertaining, fulfilling life full of experiences.

More and more, the design, layout, focus and aging-in-place amenities of contemporary senior living communities are dynamic indicators about the changes to the demographics of senior living residents.

The common perception of what ‘being a senior’ means is dramatically changing, as today’s Baby Boomer generations expect the new normals of senior living.