Living in a Retirement Community

Becoming a senior citizen may sometimes involve some major lifestyle changes, mainly because of retirement coupled with decreased ability to maintain one’s health and perform chores on a daily basis (the specifics will vary person to person). Not everyone who reaches age 65 must immediately move to retirement communities; in fact, many older citizens are able to continue living independently well into their retirement, but in other cases, health issues or simple isolation will make living in retirement communities much safer and more practical for these elderly citizens, and their golden years can be spend in good company and with the benefit of trained assistants who provide around-the-clock care. Even an entire retirement village can be found for elder citizens (such as in Florida) if so desired. Overall, the choice to move to retirement communities is a personal one for both the senior citizen and their family members to make, and finding senior housing can be a major and important life step.

Age and Statistics

Many trends about the health of Americans are carefully monitored, and this includes many vital statistics about growing older and the health complications that usually accompany advanced age. As of now, census data shows that about 47 million seniors are living in the United States, and the National Council of Aging recently shared statistics showing that about 75% of all seniors have one or more chronic health conditions, and in many cases, two or more. Also, the Population Bureau believes that by the year 2060, nearly 100 million Americans aged 65 or over will be living in the country, and that means having plenty of retirement communities built, furnished, and fully staffed so they can all have access to health care and a decent standard of living.

As for the health care of these senior citizens, there are other statistics to consider. It has been found, for example, that about 7% of all senior citizens are depending on personal care from other people for anything ranging from transportation to personal grooming to meal preparation, and anything else that the senior citizen’s current health or residence calls for. Overall, around 8,357,100 seniors are getting support annually from five main types of long-term health care services. They are home health agencies (4,742,500), nursing homes (1383,700), hospices (1,244,500), residential care communities (713,300), and adult day service centers (273,200).

Other Health Issues

Unfortunately, senior living often means facing dementia, most commonly Alzheimer’s disease, which while being impossible to prevent or cure in the regular sense, great lengths can be taken to minimize its impact on someone’s quality of life. Alzheimer’s is the gradual breakdown of a patient’s mental faculties, mostly involving memory, and some physical symptoms such as clumsiness may also be present. Dementia most commonly affects those aged 65 and over, and about two thirds of all patients are women. When dementia or Alzheimer’s presents in a patient, the two main options are assisted living or retirement communities. In the former case, the patient’s residence should be made safer and more convenient, and either family members or hired health care professionals can visit regularly to provide services and companionship alike. Tripping hazards such as rugs and electrical cords should be cleared away, and flame or cutting hazards like knives, scissors, matches, and lighters should be kept locked and only accessed by health care assistants. Whenever the patient goes outside, such as for walks or visiting others, he or she should carry identification with a photo, name, address and more, in case the patient gets lost or becomes hurt and cannot return to their home alone. Finally, the assistants may help with chores, errands, tending to a garden, housekeeping, or anything else the patient needs help with.

Retirement communities will have amenities for any resident, and various health conditions such as Alzheimer’s can be treated and managed there by staff. If a retirement community is at a convenient location and is not too expensive, family members may choose to help the senior citizen move there, where they can enjoy constant health care and companionship from other residents. In fact, it has been shown that regular social interaction, as well as mental stimulation like puzzles, can help slow down the effects of dementia, and these are entertaining, low-cost ways to help deal with this condition.