The words “senior living community” still conjure up some dread among most people in our society, when in truth, these communities are significantly different than they were decades ago. There are so many positive benefits to living in retirement communities or independent living communities and shouldn’t be discounted when families are beginning to look at elder care options. A senior care community isn’t the sterile, institutional center that many imagine — instead, they can be anywhere from a very simple, homey apartment or home to a luxurious hotel suite or cruise ship! For both seniors and family members alike, independent living can be a blessing — seniors may report that they feel safer, less stressed, and enjoy senior care organized outings or on-site activities that are organized by the community. Furthermore, a huge fear among the elderly can be alleviated — the feeling that they’ll be a burden on their family.
The Big Step
The average age that people retire is 63 and many will never need an independent living center. Over 80% of retirees agree that good health is crucial to having a happy retirement, and engaging in a variety of activities (between three to four) keeps them happiest.
However, there may come a point where your loved one and your family may start to think about alternatives. If a spouse dies and leaves the other partner alone in the home, it can get lonely and sometimes frightening. Maintenance in the house and the yard can be exhausting and become expensive, if they hire out for help. If your loved one is still very mobile and independent, looking at independent living is probably the best course. Assisted living and nursing homes are good options if your loved one needs more extensive medical care or supervision.
What Are Some of the Major Benefits to Using Independent Living?
Entertainment and Company
Your loved one will never feel alone at an independent living community. There are plenty of people his or her age to befriend, eat with, and do activities or share events with. Even if they’re more private in nature, there’s still the option to socialize and know that there’s people around. Furthermore, there’s always something to do, whether it’s on site or organized trips into the local community for music, museums, hikes, or other cultural experiences. There are also plenty of activities or hobbies that your loved ones can pick back up — whether it’s a book club, chess games, or gardening, the independent living center can make it happen.
Any home requires a significant amount of upkeep, and even more is required if you have a yard. As one gets older, physical tasks may become more difficult, especially if arthritis, fake joints or bones, or other physical issues are at play. Residents won’t have to worry about sweeping, mopping, dusting, pulling weeds, changing lightbulbs, or any of the other myriad tasks that involve heavy lifting, bending, or getting up on ladders. The stress of driving will also be taken off their shoulders if that’s been an activity that’s been causing anxiety.
Meals will also be provided, so residents don’t have to worry about grocery shopping, meal prep, and cooking. If your loved one has dietary needs, those can be accommodated, and they’ll usually have different choices for every meal.
Resentments may fester between the elderly and their adult children or other family members who act as caretakers, on both sides. The children may feel guilty at feeling resentment, or worry constantly about their parents’ well-being and safety, and unhealthy emotions can easily take root, making visits strained. Independent living creates a level of independence coupled with care that takes the stress off both parent and child. Visits become meaningful and enjoyable again — a time to just focus on each other and catch up.
If it’s time to start discussing alternative senior living options with your elderly loved one, do look into independent living if your parent or family member is mobile and healthy enough. It might be the perfect solution that they — and you! — have been searching for.