Nursing home. For many, the term conjures images of a sterile, white walled, overcrowded institutional setting complete with 1950s metal hospital beds. If you haven’t visited a senior community in a while, you may have some misconceptions; senior communities have changed significantly over the last couple of decades.
Senior communities today range from cozy and homelike to the posh luxury of a high-end hotel or cruise ship, and they definitely don’t feel institutional. Most seniors who have moved to independent living or assisted living communities report that they prefer life at their new home to life alone. Here are some common reasons why:
1. The end of yard work and home maintenance
Keeping up a home is hard, especially for those of us who have developed physical ailments. Mowing the lawn, climbing a ladder to change light bulbs, shoveling snow, pulling weeds, vacuuming- these become things of the past. But don’t worry green thumbs: Residents are more than welcome to adopt a garden.
2. Vanquishing boredom
Residents need never be bored at a senior community. There’s something for everyone. All kinds of entertainment and activities are offered, both on-site and out in the local community. Entertainment can range from visiting musicians and performers, to day trips that might include local landmarks, forays into nature, or just an outing to the local art museum.
3. Better family relationships
Older folks frequently become dependent on their grown children, or other close family members, for help of all kinds. Unnatural role reversals can strain relationships and foster unhealthy feelings of resentment, both by parents and their sons and daughters. Younger family members are liberated from the role of full-time caregivers, and are able to assure that time with their older loved one is meaningful and high-quality. Older residents are glad to return to the role of family matriarch or patriarch and often pleased that their grown children no longer have to “parent the parent”.
4. Better food
There are many residents at senior communities who used to live alone, and were not eating right. Some skipped meals, some were living on ice-cream alone, and one lady would put cat-litter in the coffee brewer. At senior living communities, residents don’t have to worry about grocery shopping, meal preparation, or even coffee brewing. Instead, they get to enjoy a fine dining experience every day of the week. The food tastes good, alternative meals are almost always offered and special diet needs can ordinarily be accommodated. It’s common for new residents, who had been eating poorly before they moved-in, to experience breathtaking improvements in their health and well-being just from three square meals per day.
5. No more stressful driving
Driving can be a tense and stressful as we age, and our driving abilities may not be what they once were either. For these reasons, most residents prefer to take advantage of the free transportation that’s provided by independent and assisted living communities. There’s no need to rely on a car any longer, although parking is available for residents who still drive.
6. Feeling like myself again
Living alone, we may not be able to participate in games and activities we enjoyed, that were both fun, and helped keep us sharp. But senior communities offer a wealth of opportunities to keep engaged. This can include favorite games like chess, bridge and poker, engaging reading groups and discussion groups, and fascinating classes and lectures on every conceivable topic.
7. Making new friends
Older adults who live alone often become isolated, which is unhealthy at any age. At senior communities we can make friends, share a meal, and enjoy festive occasions with one another. On the other hand, those of us who are more introverted appreciate that our privacy is respected, but are still glad to have folks around.
8. Finally feeling safe
Residents can rest easy knowing that they are secured from thieves, con-men and ne’er-do-wells. Furthermore, residents enjoy the peace of mind that comes from the emergency response systems that are in each apartment, or sometimes on the resident’s person as a pendant. This alleviates fears about falling and becoming trapped for hours or even days, a scenario that’s all too common for senior’s residing alone.
Certainly, there are seniors who live alone and are just fine. We recognize that senior communities aren’t for everyone. But it’s without doubt that there are vast numbers of seniors living alone in unsafe or unhealthy situations who would benefit immensely from life at a senior community. If you are interested in learning about senior communities in your area, please contact A Place for Mom. Our Senior Living Advisors can help you find the most appropriate options for your family to consider.
Do you have thoughts about how senior communities can benefit elderly people who living alone? We encourage you to join the conversation and comment below.
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