What It's Like Living In A Retirement Community
May 11, 2021Retirement Communities
Planning to move yourself or a loved one out of their home and into a retirement community requires a lot of consideration. A retirement community can be an excellent place for many seniors, although not all seniors will thrive in a retirement community.
Understanding precisely what living in a retirement community entails is an essential part of the decision-making process. In this post, we will look at what living in a retirement community feels like and what are the facilities offered to seniors.
No two retirement communities are designed in the same way, so there is no hard and fast rule to tell you what to expect when you are checking out retirement homes.
Generally speaking, a retirement home is a community that is designed for adults aged fifty-five and older who are mostly independent. Retirement communities provide safe housing with a focus on community life.
A retirement community focuses on giving residents a strong sense of belonging and commits to helping seniors age well in a home life environment where they are considered a vital part of the community.
Since there are no guidelines to what size a retirement community should be, seniors can ensure that the community environment suits their needs. Some people prefer a retirement community that is large and busy, while others will prefer something small and personal.
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Amenities of Retirement Communities
The facilities that a retirement community offers will contribute to the freedom and peace of mind of seniors and their families. For family members, they can relax knowing that their loved ones are being cared for by twenty-four-hour staff and aren't spending days alone. For seniors, they get the peace of mind knowing that they have the freedom to enjoy their golden years exploring new interests and activities, instead of worrying about the house and yard care.
Every retirement community is going to have a unique list of amenities that it offers. Some of the most common amenities that are offered include:
- Apartment-Style accommodations with personal furnishings: Being able to furnish and decorate the apartment gives the apartment the feeling of truly being home. No two apartments in a retirement community are going to look the same. The doors to the apartment lock and are controlled by the resident. Some retirement communities are geared towards more independent people and offer detached houses designed to meet the needs of seniors, with no stairs, wider doorways, and other safety features.
- Kitchens or kitchenettes: Seniors have the ability to choose to cook for themselves or take their meals in the dining room. A kitchen or kitchenette gives seniors the ability to make themselves snacks and exert control over what they are eating.
- Three meals served daily in a dining room: Knowing that there will always be meal options in the dining room will give seniors the peace of mind knowing they don't have to cook for themselves if they aren't up for it and reduces the stress and inconvenience of cooking for one person.
- Weekly or daily housekeeping services: Weekly and regular housekeeping services allow seniors to enjoy their free time without worrying about keeping their space spotless. If a senior is struggling to wash the floors or run a vacuum, someone will come in and help them.
- Linen and laundry services: Laundry can be a time-consuming chore and is often one of the most complained about chores among seniors. Having access to a laundry service ensures that seniors will always have clean clothing and linen.
- Activities schedule: An activity schedule helps keep seniors busy and offers the ability to try various activities. Trying new activities keeps seniors feeling young and keeps their brains active. Some of the offered activities might include fitness programs, bingo, cards, gardening, and book clubs.
- Regularly schedules outings: As seniors age, getting out in the community gets harder and harder. Regularly scheduled outings allow seniors to go out to do their shopping and explore their communities without relying on family and friends.
- Common areas for residents to gather: Having common areas for residents to gather allows seniors to keep social, instead of being socially isolated in their homes. Retirement communities ensure that their common area spaces are comfortable for seniors, making being socially both more accessible and more appealing.
- Outdoor spaces: Many retirement communities have outdoor areas for gardens and walking paths. Some others have enough outdoor space for golf courses and outdoor patios.
Community and Social Resources
There is something soothing about being around people who can relate to you and what you have gone through in life. When a senior makes the decision to move into a retirement community, they are surrounded by people their age with similar life experiences. Being surrounded by people at the same stage of life helps to ensure that seniors feel supported and can find people who have similar interests. For example, many seniors who are living in a retirement community will have lost a spouse, allowing them to relate and connect to others.
Many retirement communities have groups of residents who get together in committees to help plan some of the retirement community's events and activities. This enables the residents to have a say in what is being offered to them. It also helps the retirement community to ensure it is meeting the needs of its residents.
The community and social resources that are available in the retirement community often improve the relationships that seniors have with their families. This is because seniors no longer feel reliant on their children or grandchildren to care for them, boosting their confidence, and encouraging healthy relationships. This also allows families to visit their loved ones without feeling burdened by having to do chores for the entire visit or worrying after they leave about their loved ones' wellbeing.
When an older adult lives on their own, they are vulnerable to a variety of things. Some of the risks to a senior living on their own in their private home include:
- Getting lost
- Falling for scams targeting seniors
Senior living communities offer twenty-four-hour security and nursing care, ensuring that seniors will be protected while they can live healthy lives.
Security also comes in the form of knowing that there is always someone around. Social isolation, depression, and anxiety are all less prevalent in seniors who live in retirement communities compared to those who live in their own homes.
Retirement communities have nurses on staff that are available twenty-four hours a day. If seniors have any medical needs in the middle of the night or need basic health care, there is no need to go into the hospital. Because there are nurses around all day, seniors are less likely to ignore minor ailments and have them treated before they become a severe issue. As an additional benefit, when seniors live in a retirement community, someone is always available to help them. If a lightbulb needs to be changed, a picture hung up, or the TV isn't working correctly, someone will be available to help you, generally within a few minutes.
As people age, they slowly lose their independence. They can no longer drive, struggle to make nutritious meals, and spend more time alone. Choosing to move into a retirement community allows seniors to get the support they need without sacrificing their independence. In addition to the independence they gain from the retirement home, seniors also gain new freedom they wouldn't have living on their home. Instead of spending their time cooking, cleaning, and doing yard work, they have the privilege of enjoying their days the way they want. The independence and freedom that seniors experience also leads to them feeling less stressed. This reduction of stress has been shown to have positive benefits on both mental and physical health.
A Day in A Retirement Community
For those who live in a retirement community, their days can be as busy or relaxed as they would like them to be. One example of a retirement communities schedule is as follows:
6:45 am - 9:00 am: Breakfast is served in the dining room
10:30 am - 11:30 am: Stretch class
10:30 am - 11:30 am: Gardening class
11:30 am - 1:00 pm: Lunch served in the dining room
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm: Transportation to the local shopping mall
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm: Bingo
1:30 pm - 3:00 pm: Adult coloring
3:30 pm - 6:00 pm: Dinner served in the dining room
6:15 pm - 7:15 pm: Worship and sing
6:15 pm - 7:15 pm: Coffee treat social
Remember, this is just a sample of what could be offered at a retirement community. The actual activities that are offered in a retirement community are extensive to give all residents options that are tailored to their specific needs, interests, and lifestyles. While there might be some options that are available every day, like worship, others, like bingo and excursions to the mall, might only be offered on a weekly or monthly rotation. There is never any obligation for a senior to participate in any activities while living in a retirement home; seniors make their own decisions.
About THE AUTHOR
With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.Read more about David Bolton
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