While We All Age Differently, Aging Together is Key
No one escapes the process of aging, save maybe Mario Lopez. We all face similar realities, despite whether we’re rich or poor, in terms of the things we must consider as we travel forward through time.
Where will I live? Will I be healthy? What will I do? Will I have enough resources and support?
The fact is we are all aging now…as I type and you read. Senescence begins in our twenty’s and exists throughout our entire life. Because we’re all actively aging, we must plan for its cumulative effect over time. The further we are able to mentally propel ourselves into that future reality, the better perspective we have on the plans required to age successfully.
One key plan is to identify a support system around us in order to age intergeneration-ally. According to experts, aging as a family is a primary driver for successful aging. For many cultures, this comes naturally and for others it has become, seemingly, ignored.
Where nearly three-quarters of parents in Japan, Korea and China live with their adult children, elder care in the West is far more isolating. Parents and grandparents live far from loved ones now more than ever and those who require care are more often than not living in facilities. The University of California San Francisco reports 43% of seniors feel lonely resulting in a 59% higher risk of declining health, and a 45% higher risk of death.
But, it doesn’t have to happen to you if you can share in this process. “Aging together,” says Fast-Forward Director Michael Eric Hurtig, “has been a common theme in our research for more than a couple of years now and with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become increasingly more common and complex.”
In February of 2020, 47% of young adults aged 18 to 29 lived with their parents and, in July, that climbed to 52%, according to a recent September study from Pew Research Center.
Aside from Covid-19, growing diversity in the U.S. has contributed to this surprisingly positive trend in intergenerational living in the US, says Pew. Asian and Hispanic households are more likely to be multigenerational and those populations are growing faster than any other.