3 Anticipated Trends in Aging in 2024 

As we embrace the New Year and the wisdom that comes with aging, the world of gerontology is abuzz with anticipation for what 2024 holds. Whether you’re intrigued by medical breakthroughs or technological innovations in this field, we’re here to spotlight these three emerging aging trends that could shape the year ahead. 

#1 A Growing Demand for Elderly Mental Health Care Professionals 

It should come as no surprise that COVID-19 has led to increased anxiety and depression among people of all ages. In 2021, an American Psychological Association survey revealed that 43% of psychologists observed a rise in patient numbers since the pandemic’s onset. 

Younger individuals found it relatively easy to access mental health services through telehealth, phone consultations or in-person visits. However, seniors aged 65 and above encountered challenges in locating suitably trained professionals to address their mental health issues, including loneliness, anxiety and substance abuse. 

Seniors’ access to counseling can also be limited by insurance coverage and financial resources. For example, Medicare doesn’t always cover the mental health providers that older adults need, and in some cases, therapists don’t accept insurance. 

Many who do manage to secure a spot in therapy value the opportunity to discuss the new challenges they face, from transitioning to assisted living facilities to coping with the emotional aspects of losing loved ones. However, a significant number of those interested in mental health services are not fortunate enough to have the financial means or cannot find trained professionals specializing in older adults. 

As we advance into 2024, it is vital to acknowledge the growing need for mental health professionals trained to address the unique challenges that older individuals face. This can help them receive the necessary support and care for healthier, happier and longer lives. 

#2 Aging in Place 

Aging in place refers to the practice of living in your current residence for as long as you’re physically able. In years past, many older adults moved to assisted living facilities when they (or their families) believed they could no longer live alone. 

According to the AARP, 77% of adults over 50 would prefer to age in place if given the choice. And why shouldn’t they? Staying in their home gives them a sense of independence they wouldn’t have elsewhere. 

But what does modern-day aging in place look like? It’s different for everyone and depends on the resources available to them. Here are some of the most popular aging-in-place services that exist for seniors who are interested in keeping their independence and living in their homes: 

  • Home meal delivery 
  • Senior transportation 
  • Errand services 
  • In-home companion care 

We don’t see the aging-in-place trend going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, we might see an increase in the need for geriatric healthcare workers who perform in-home services, such as helping prepare meals or assisting with personal care needs. 

#3 The Multigenerational Housing Comeback 

Have you ever considered living with your parents or having them live with you? While it may sound unconventional, families have been living in multigenerational housing for hundreds of years. It declined in popularity until the 1980s, when it slowly started increasing in popularity again — and for good reason! 

Generations United has identified several benefits for families spanning multiple generations who opt to live together. The following results are from a survey they conducted among families residing in multigenerational households: 

  • 79% noticed enhanced relationships among family members. 
  • 79% agreed that it was easier to provide for the needs of their family members, young and old. 
  • 76% stated that living together had improved finances for at least one family member. 
  • 76% noted positive impacts on their family members’ mental or physical health. 

With several noteworthy benefits of multigenerational living arrangements, we may see a rise in the number of families who choose to live together in the coming year. Professionals in the field of gerontology are poised to play a vital role in supporting these families. They can provide caregiver training, offer guidance on home modifications to accommodate older relatives and establish support groups to assist families in the transition to multigenerational living. 

Create Your Own Story in 2024 at the University of Florida 

As we step into 2024, the field of gerontology presents a landscape filled with promising trends and opportunities. From the growing demand for mental health care workers for the elderly to embracing the appeal of aging in place and the resurgence of multigenerational housing, the year ahead holds immense potential for positive change and innovation. 

Where do you see yourself in the middle of these exciting developments? Consider advancing your career and pursuing your dreams in gerontology with the University of Florida’s online graduate programs. Our cutting-edge programs are entirely online, affordable and designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to make a meaningful impact in the world of aging. 

Join us in shaping the future of gerontology. Explore our graduate programs today and apply to be a part of this exciting journey. 

Sources: 
https://www.apa.org/pubs/reports/practitioner/covid-19-2021 
https://livablecommunities.aarpinternational.org/
https://dreamcollaborative.com/full-house-a-history-of-american-multigenerational-living/
https://www.gu.org/explore-our-topics/multigenerational-households/