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Researcher lives in retirement community to study seniors

July 26, 2012

Older adults are quickly changing the way the world views aging, and in an effort to get a first-hand look of exactly how, one Pittsburgh-based researcher recently visited a retirement community to see it for herself. Though she originally went to collect marketing data, Cheryl Slavinsky noticed much more than shopping trends, The Denver Post reports.

Slavinsky, who works for the company Varsity Branding, stayed at a Colorado retirement community for a month to get the experience of one of the residents. She quickly took note of how different senior living is now than it was decades ago. Even as people approach their 90s, they're living like people half their age.

"I'm surprised at the level of activity done at such an advanced age," she told the newspaper. "I was amazed. People were on the bus [at] 86, 87, doing their grocery shopping for the week."

Along with their level of activity, Slavinsky also pointed out that many seniors are making decisions on where to live during retirement based more than just the weather. She highlighted the fact that she attended a lecture with nearly 100 people in attendance. She was also impressed at the number of seniors using the latest technology such as iPods, laptops and smartphones.

Having high expectations for senior living is not unusual given that active seniors often live longer than older adults who are not as engaged. A recent study of nearly 900 seniors conducted by scientists from Chicago's Rush University Medical Center found that seniors who moved around the least had a greater chance of dying over the four-year period of the research, Reuters reports.