There is enormous variability in the living situations of women as we become older. Women’s living situations are strongly influenced by socioeconomic status, geographic and family circumstances, health needs and declines in physical and cognitive abilities. These choices also depend on whether women are still with a partner or completely on their own.

Some women continue to live in their homes or apartments until well into their old age and may even die while still living in their homes. Others live in their homes, sometimes with increasing amounts of caregiving support, until they are no longer able to care for themselves or their disabled partner or spouse. Dementia is an especially difficult illness to manage at home once it has become very advanced. People with terminal illnesses my utilize hospice as a resource.

Many older adults will live with family members, frequently adult children. This may work out well or poorly, depending on the amount of space available and the relationships among family members. Independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing facilities are among the most common options available if one has the financial resources or long-term care insurance to help with the expense, which is considerable. Other older women, heterosexual, bisexual and lesbian, are creating special communities that support a broader range of lifestyle options and a community spirit of caring for one another.

Questions to Consider:
1) What is your current living situation and how do you feel about it?
2) What options do you feel are available to you as you become older and might need more assistance with activities of daily life?
3) What variables influence the options available to you?
4) If you could design your ideal living environment for accommodating your changing needs as you become older, what would that look like?
5) What do you see as the benefits and disadvantages of living in a community with other older people?

All rights reserved © 2020 Beth Firestein, Ph.D. Wise Women Group