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An Active, Engaging Retirement: Top 5 Benefits of Independent Senior Living Communities

Claire Samuels
By Claire SamuelsAugust 28, 2020
Independent living seniors toast and enjoy the company of friends.

Independent living communities are places where active seniors looking for a low-stress, all-inclusive lifestyle can thrive. While independent senior living doesn’t offer medical services, it provides benefits that lead to a retirement with opportunities to enjoy hobbies, pursue new passions, embrace a healthy lifestyle, and be yourself. These five ways aging adults can benefit from independent living are just a few of many.

1. A soothing environment

Most independent living and active retirement communities require residents to be 55+. That means no late-night college parties or children’s cries in your neighborhood. And amenities for seniors provide a relaxing, judgment-free environment. Float around a splash-free pool, play cards with peers, and participate in fitness classes designed for your body.

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2. Physical wellness

Independent living communities are experts on the health and wellness needs of older adults. From on-site nutritionists to fitness instructors, a network of professionals is there to offer healthy lifestyle options. Those choices allow you to try new things alongside old favorites.

Nearly one-third of adults over 55 aren’t physically active, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But physical activity lowers the risk of chronic disease, pain, and premature death. It may be difficult to start an exercise routine at home, but independent living communities offer unique options to stay active. Not a fan of jogging? Try water aerobics, chair yoga, or an outing to a local golf course.

Proper nutrition boosts energy, helps control weight, and can prevent conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. In an independent living community, you can enjoy dietitian-approved meals packed with fresh ingredients and nutrients at the community cafe, then go home and make your favorite chocolate-chip cookies in your kitchen.

3. An antidote to loneliness

Nearly one-third of seniors live by themselves, and often become less socially active as they age. While some alone time is a good thing, senior isolation poses a very real — and common — risk to older adults. In fact, loneliness can lead to health complications, depression, and increased cognitive decline.

Independent living communities offer the opportunity to be social without the difficulty of arranging transportation or making plans. A weekly activity schedule may include social events like happy hours, board game nights, book clubs, or trips to local theaters or museums.

Whether you prefer to discuss a book over a cup of coffee or play poker while enjoying a beer, there are plenty of ways to live a vibrant social life in independent living.

4. Peace of mind — no more chores or home modifications

Maintaining a household is hard work, and after decades of cleaning toilets, clearing gutters, and doing laundry, you may be ready for a break. Independent living communities provide a maintenance-free lifestyle that gives you time to enjoy your retirement.

Senior living apartments are built to fit your needs

By 2035, 8.6 million U.S. seniors will spend over half of their monthly income on housing expenses, including repairs and adjustments for aging in place, according to projections by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Some fixes, like adding grab bars, improved lighting, and shower seats are fairly inexpensive. But depending on the accessibility of your home, renovations needed to age in place can add up. The national average cost for modifying a standard bathroom runs around $16,000, while making a kitchen accessible is slightly over $21,000, according to Remodeling Magazine. Adding ramps runs about $200 a square foot.

Independent living homes and apartments are built to be accessible, with widened doorways, low thresholds, and walk-in tubs to accommodate all levels of physical ability. You don’t need to worry about making changes to age in place.

Housekeeping and maintenance make life easier

The average senior spends more than three hours a day on household chores, maintenance, and lawn work, according to a study of more than 35,000 older adults in the journal BMC Public Health.

Some housework, like gardening and cooking, may be therapeutic. But other chores, such as bending over to clean floors or climbing ladders to change light bulbs, can be dangerous.

Most independent living communities provide light housekeeping and laundry services in addition to on-site maintenance. If your refrigerator stops working or a light burns out, someone will come fix it at no additional cost to you.

5. Freedom to pursue your interests and be yourself

Many people spend decades pursuing a career or raising a family. Those important responsibilities sometimes push other passions to the side. An independent living retirement offers seniors the opportunity to pursue interests you didn’t have time for, like painting, gardening, or even learning a new language with included group classes.

You can be who you want to be and live how you want to live, without any of the stresses of aging at home. If you think you may be ready to explore independent living, reach out to one of our local Senior Living Advisors to learn more about options and next steps.


Sources:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Housing for Seniors: Challenges and Solutions. 
https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/summer17/highlight1.html.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults Need More Physical Activity. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/inactivity-among-adults-50plus/index.html

Medline Plus. Nutrition for Older Adults. 
https://medlineplus.gov/nutritionforolderadults.html

Claire Samuels
Author
Claire Samuels

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.

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