PsychCentral: The Huge Mental Health Advantage of 21st Century Seniors


If you are approaching later life, you have a huge advantage over the generations before you – an advantage that does not get nearly the attention it deserves. It is an advantage that can probably do more for your mental health than you realize.


I’m talking about the proliferation of options as to how and where to live. Only a generation or two ago, seniors who were on their own, either because they were widowed or divorced or had always been single, often looked at two options: moving back in with family (often grown children) or moving into a nursing home. Married seniors with health problems or other challenges often faced the same two choices.

For some seniors, those possibilities are still options. Some, for example, want to move in with family and are welcomed warmly. Others, though, want as much independence as they can muster, and even when they do need help, they are determined to avoid the nursing-home scene.

Some seniors are creating their own ways of living. As I talk to people about how they live and how they want to live, there is a particular story that comes up fairly often, and it seems to be told most often by women. They say that when they were younger, they had conversations with their friends about growing old in which they fantasized about sharing a home together or maybe just moving together to the same general community or neighborhood while continuing to have a home of their own. Some are approaching retirement and are actually acting on those fantasies.


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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
  • St. Barnabas Senior Services

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