Assisted Living, Behind the Idyllic Brochure Pictures

[This article was originally published on February 1, 2005.  The links were updated on August 16, 2018.]

Ever wonder what it might be like to move to an assisted living facility? In the last decade thousands of elderly Americans have made the move, and the assisted living population has tripled, to nearly 1 million. The residents are overwhelmingly women and increasingly older and frailer than their predecessors.

New York Times reporter Jane Gross spent time at a fairly upscale Connecticut facility to understand the social organization and daily preoccupations of residents of these communities. What she found is summed up by one researcher as "high school all over again, without the expectations." There are cliques and loners, goody goodies and troublemakers, leaders and followers and everyone knows everyone else's business. According to one expert, because of "naive notions about the socialization of older adults," many residents wonder why they are not having as much fun as the happy people pictured in retirement brochures.

Read the Jan. 30, 2005, article, "Under One Roof, Aging Together Yet Alone." (Free registration required and article may no longer be available free of charge.)

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