Your senior loved ones deserve the physical and mental well-being of a happy retirement. Independent and assisted living communities offer social interaction, a full and productive lifestyle, and safety for seniors.
Consider these nine benefits to understand how a move to senior living could help keep your aging relative happy and healthy.
Loneliness can lead to depression, high blood pressure, and early mortality in seniors, according to research from University of Chicago. Even if an elderly relative is in good health, aging alone can be emotionally detrimental. During the coronavirus pandemic, planned interaction is more important than ever.
Seniors aging at home are currently unable to see family and friends or visit local senior centers, which can lead to increased isolation. Independent and assisted living communities have worked hard to adapt to social distancing, creating new activities for seniors to stay engaged and safe. Happy hours, communal art classes, and outings to stores and museums are currently on hold, but the happiness of elderly residents is still a top priority.
Assisted and independent living communities offer opportunities for lifetime learning. Now, as communities practice social distancing, many are delivering books, subscribing to online courses for residents, and even encouraging book club discussions across hallways.
Sunrise Senior Living offers a “live with learning” program, which encourages seniors to read, attend lectures, and explore new academic possibilities. Communities also have access to “brain training” resources and brain games for seniors that may lower the risk of long-term cognitive decline.
Keeping seniors healthy and safe is a priority for independent and assisted living communities.
Seniors who are physically active tend to live longer, according to research from Johns Hopkins University. With exercise classes like tai chi, and personal trainers well-versed in the needs of older adults, assisted and independent living communities offer all-inclusive opportunities for physical fitness. Even as communities practice social distancing, activities directors have come up with new ways to keep seniors active, like hallway exercise classes and in-room chair yoga.
Seniors living alone may find it difficult to adjust to cooking for one, and it may be challenging for family caregivers to ensure their loved one is getting adequate nutrition. In assisted living, residents are served up to three meals a day, with attention to special dietary needs for people with diabetes and food allergies.
Home maintenance can be both physically difficult and emotionally stressful. A water leak, broken ramp, or downed tree can make a senior’s home inaccessible. Outsourcing lawn care and minor repairs can also be expensive. If your loved one enjoys yard work or tinkering, look for a community that allows them to pursue that passion. Some independent living communities have gardens or offer work programs where residents can do handiwork in exchange for rent credit.
Almost 80% of help with activities of daily living (ADLs) comes from unpaid family caregivers, according to an AARP study of caregiving in the U.S. Minor assistance with dressing, bathing, and daily grooming provided by senior living can help keep aging adults feeling independent longer. Plus, less reliance on friends and family members for daily help leads to more fun, quality time with loved ones.
After retirement, seniors may be overwhelmed by free time. These extra hours can be used to pursue passions or pick up new hobbies. Many independent and assisted living communities offer activities that appeal to all walks of life. Art classes, foreign language lessons, and community service projects are all ways to kindle new interests, while lending libraries and movie nights provide classic entertainment all in one place.
Rent at independent and assisted living communities is generally all-inclusive. That means seniors don’t have to worry about housekeeping, laundry, or chores. Transportation is also available, so there’s no stress about finding rides to appointments if there isn’t health care on-site. Twenty-four-hour on-call staff members provide peace of mind in case of medical emergencies like falls or maintenance emergencies like broken pipes. Currently, senior living communities are focusing on minimizing coronavirus-related stress in seniors as well.
If your aging loved one would enjoy the lifestyle benefits of independent or assisted living, reach out to A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors to explore the best options near you.
Claire Samuels is a content writer at A Place for Mom. She worked with senior living communities throughout the Midwest before pivoting to writing. She’s passionate about sharing ways of living well at any age.