There will be a day where we must face the truth, we aren’t as young as we once were. Chores around the house are becoming steadily more difficult to finish, taking care of ourselves is a bit more strenuous than before, even the stairs we climb every single day seem to be leaving us more winded than usual. If you’re living by yourself, this can be frightening. You may become fearful for not only your own safety, but for that of your friends and family as well. You might need to consider moving to a retirement home.
This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though! With technology ever evolving you’ll find that these homes are now more than just assisted living facilities. They’re entire communities, full of people who are either in a similar place in their own lives or staff members who want only what is best for you and your loved ones.
The Media hardly does senior communities justice. Often they’re shown as nothing more than depressing and boring buildings where senior citizens are seen in their bathrobes, scooting about in a depressive way. However, this is never the actual case, and most retirement homes are actually welcoming, well maintained communities with staff members that genuinely care for the members of said community. In fact you may have never even thought about some of the major benefits of living in a retirement community. Here are some things to consider when the time comes to make a decision.
How Much Home Maintenance is Involved
Home maintenance has never been an easy task. There is so much work involved in owning a home, and age only makes things harder. This is arguably one of the biggest benefits to living in a retirement community. Most communities will offer a 24/7 staff that’s able to ensure your home is safe and secure. If you have plumbing issues, there are on-call plumbers that can bring swift repairs. Your yard work will be done by professionals. Staff members will shovel walkways and parking lots in the snow to be sure you’re kept safe. A few even offer weekly cleaning services, so you won’t need to be concerned with dusting, vacuuming, or sweeping. This will allow you to do more of the things you want, like getting involved in fun activities, or even planning and going on a vacation.
The Financial Issue
Despite the common belief that these homes are costly, you can find a variety of options that can fit both your budget and your needs. As well, remember that you may not even have to think about transportation, and certainly not maintenance, so in some ways you’ll be saving money. Those with a fixed income can relax, as most communities operate with a fixed rate.
Health is probably one of the biggest financial concerns seniors have. Treatments can get expensive quickly, and often require multiple doctor visits, prescriptions and subsequent refills, and sometimes these treatments require some sort of physical therapy along with it. While it isn’t exactly cheap to live in a retirement community, there is the added bonus of having all of your major expenses put together into a single lump sum, which never changes, so that you can more easily track your spending and know what you have to work with.
The Problem with Feeling Safe
Yet another perk of living in a 24-hour service community, security tends to be really reliable in retirement homes. Often you’ll find these communities, along with having friendly and concerned neighbors who’re likely to check on you semi-regularly, also have on-call EMT’s, security cameras, and a good relationship with law enforcement. You’ll also notice that these places are always being upgraded to include the newest and the best in security technology. The fact remains that these communities are some of the safest places that you will ever find, let alone live in.
The Freedom of Travel
Playing off the misconception in movies, seniors living in retirement communities aren’t prisoners. In truth they are encouraged to be active and social. It’s a relief to know that when you go out, whether it’s on a quick trip to the store or a long vacation with your family, your home will remain under lock and key, guarded by a caring staff. If you live with cats or dogs, you can rest assure that someone responsible is looking after them while you go enjoy yourself.
Things You can do in a Retirement Community
Retirement communities place great emphasis on social activity. It’s important in keeping the seniors from becoming those stereotypical zombies on the silver screen. As with many things, nowadays it’s easy to get yourself involved in a retirement community. Many communities offer some sort of extracurricular activities, including cooking classes, swimming classes, lawn games, board games, exercise classes, and even the occasional live musical event. Some even offer weekly or monthly trips to local animal shelters or hiking trails. If you don’t find something that you like initially, the staff is often really receptive to new ideas and can usually work something out with you. It’s hard to be bored when there’s always something to do!
Do Retirement Communities Offer Transportation?
Since many senior citizens find themselves in need of transportation, many communities have included it in their services. They can take you wherever it is you need to go, including local events, hospitals, post offices, grocery stores, and even shopping malls. You may even find more freedom in this as you’ll know that wherever you need to go, and whenever you need to get there, you’ll have a way. On top of these, these vehicles will often come with cushioned seats and lower steps, for the sake of comfort and convenience to seniors.
Meeting Your Healthcare Needs
The older you are, the more you’ll find yourself worrying about your health. Sometimes we are faced with health problems that require time and rehab to recover. Part of the 24-hour service includes on-location, highly skilled nurses who can meet any and all special needs you require. They’re encouraged to learn more about you, so that they’ll be sure to see you as a human being and not merely a patient, so you can be assured that you’re getting proper care. As for more serious situations, most retirement homes are located near hospitals, assuring absolute timeliness for those devastating emergencies.
The staff will also help to make sure you stay as healthy as possible. While it’s hard to keep yourself healthy in your older age, you’ll find the nurses are there, ready to aid and encourage you in whatever ways they can. They can help keep track of your diet, assist in physical therapy, or simply help you down the stairs. No task is too small for them, as your well-being is always their primary concern.
How Easy is it to Move?
It can be hard to move home when you’re older, and often seniors will either need to ask friends and family for help, or hire a moving company, which can get quite expensive. Often the retirement communities will either offer their own services, or will offer to pay for the services you need to get yourself moved in. These staff members know how stressful and frustrating moving can be as well, so they are trained to be as efficient and smooth throughout the entire process.
Staying Fed in Retirement
Most retirement communities offer a meal plan program, which guarantees a certain amount of meals per day from an experienced cooking staff. These meals are well prepped, nutritious and often healthy. They can also be catered to individual needs, such as medication routines, allergies, etc. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have the opportunity to cook for yourself as well. You’ll always be able to cook for yourself in your home, whether or not the community offers prepared meals.
Staying Social as a Senior
We realize when we’re older that our social lives and emotional needs have shifted. The people who have been a part of our lives begin to change one way or another, and it can be hard to adjust to that. Usually around this time, our kids have grown up and moved away, and our grandchildren are more than likely off to school, which potentially can leave one feeling lonely. By living in a retirement community, you’re surrounded by like-minded people, as demonstrated by the fact that you’re all living in a place that speaks to you and them. Living with or near peers can begin to fill those roles that had been previously been emptied. Neighbors become friends, and those friends become the foundations of our social ladders. Communities encourage neighbor interaction, whether it be having a friend to go to the store with, get a cup coffee with, or even play a few rounds of poker with. When you live in a community, there’s no need to feel isolated.
Are There Ways You can Volunteer?
Volunteering is always an option at retirement communities. It’s a healthy way to remain active and be a part of a bigger project outside the immediate community. It will help keep you emotionally stable as well, as you’ll be making a difference in and around your community.. You’ll find many fantastic opportunities, which can include:
- Fixing up gardens from around your city.
- Playing with and caring for the animals in your local shelters.
- Spending time with children from low income / high stress home situations.
- Support groups
- Charity work
- Helping to chaperone local youth groups.
- Senior Corps
It’s hard to embrace change. Humans often desire familiarity, and the comforts that we have associated with it over decades. It’s alright if you’re a little reluctant about moving into assisted living. It’s normal to fear the unknown. But remember, these communities aren’t like what you see on tv. They’re warm, welcoming, secure, and are filled with wonderful opportunities. Yes, for some people living in a retirement community just isn’t going to be for them. It’s alright that some people prefer the quiet solitude of their own homes, of the sense of independence living in your own home may bring. At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the benefits that retirement communities provide, from reliable staff members to countless services and volunteer opportunities. It’s a viable option, to say the least, and worth serious consideration. Be sure to discuss these benefits with your doctor and your family before making a decision just yet, but take solace in that you have an idea of what you’ll be discussing with them when you finally decide to have that talk.