There will be a day where we must face the truth, we aren’t as young as we once were. Chores have become far more difficult, caring for ourselves has turned into its own chore, and stairs have turned into the worst enemy imaginable. You might be horrified by this if you’re living on your own. You may worry for not just your own safety, but for your family and friends. It may be time to consider moving into a retirement home.
But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! With technology ever evolving you’ll find that these retirement 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 cruelly under rates retirement homes. They’re viewed as a bland and bleak building where the elderly shuffle mindlessly about in bathrobes. This isn’t reflective of reality though, as most retirement homes are clean, welcoming, and are filled with staff who have a genuine heart towards the retirees. Truth be told, there are numerous benefits to joining a community that you may have never even thought of. Below are some items to consider when the time comes for you to decide.
Home maintenance has never been an easy task. There’s a copious amount of work involved, and it all gets harder to do as we age. This is arguably one of the biggest benefits to living in a retirement community. Most communities have a 24-hour staff working around the clock making sure that your home is well kept and safe. If you have plumbing issues, there are on-call plumbers that can bring swift repairs. Your yard work will be done by professionals. When it snows you’ll find a staff member outside, shoveling snow to help protect the residents. A few even offer weekly cleaning services, so you won’t need to be concerned with dusting, vacuuming, or sweeping. This gives you more time to do the things that you actually want to do, like picking up extracurricular activities, or even going on an extended vacation.
Decreased Financial Burden
Many believe that retirement homes are too costly, but there are many options available, and you can choose the best one based entirely on your own personal budget. You might even be saving some money because you won’t have to fret over the cost of home maintenance or even transportation in some cases. Most communities offer a fixed rate, which can really set yourself at ease if you’re on a fixed income.
Health is probably one of the biggest financial concerns seniors have. It gets expensive dealing with health problems, as they’ll involve multiple doctor visits, prescriptions, and in some cases they may even require some sort of extra therapy treatment. Living in a retirement community simplifies your expenses, and while it may not be as inexpensive as living independently in some regards, having all of your traditional expenses such as rent, electricity, plumbing, etc. bulked together at a fixed rate makes keeping track of your finances and personal spendings far easier.
Reliable and quick emergency help is another bonus to living in a 24-hour community. 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. These places are also constantly being upgraded to include the best and the newest security technologies. These communities are likely among some of the safest places that you can live.
The Freedom to Live Your Life
Playing off the misconception in movies, seniors living in retirement communities aren’t prisoners. In actuality they’re being encouraged to get outside and be sociable. 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. As well, if you have pets then you can rest assured that if you ask then the staff will take care of them while you’re away.
Things You can do in a Retirement Community
Retirement communities put a great deal of emphasis on keeping seniors social. It’s important in keeping the seniors from becoming those stereotypical zombies on the silver screen. In our modern times it’s a simple thing to remain social 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. You’ll hardly find yourself bored when something is always going on!
The Question of Transportation
It’s not uncommon for senior citizens to require transportation, so most communities include it within their services. They can go anywhere that you need locally like grocery stores, local events, hospitals, post offices, and 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.
Having Access to Care
Health is always a major concern, especially when we get older. Sometimes we are faced with health problems that require time and rehab to recover. You’ll find high trained nurses that are always ready to meet your needs when you’re a part of the 24-hour service communities. 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. If something more serious occurs then you can feel safe in that most retirement communities are located near hospitals just to be sure that you can get care fast if you need it.
The staff are also dedicated to ensure you stay healthy. As we know, it’s not always easy to taking care of our own bodies when we get older, so it’s reassuring to know that you have a committed nurse who will encourage you to be as healthy as you can be. You’ll find they’re able to help you with physical therapy, maintaining a healthy diet, and can even help you with stairs should there be any. There isn’t anything too small or too big for them, as you are their number one priority.
Moving with Ease
Moving can be a real issue with seniors, as most either have to ask friends and family to assist them in moving, or hire a moving company which can get expensive. Most communities offer to pay for these services, or even have their own services to help move you into the community. The staff know that it can be extremely stressful trying to move, and they’re trained to be as efficient as possible.
Do You Need Help with Cooking?
Many retirement communities will offer a meal plan program, guaranteeing you a certain number of meals every day that are prepared by experienced cooks and/or chefs. The meals are normally nutritious, healthy, and delicious. They can also be catered to individual needs, such as medication routines, allergies, etc. This doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to cook for yourself of course. While some communities do have meal schedules, there’s nothing stopping you from making your own home cooked meals.
How to Keep a Social Life Alive
Sadly, as we grow older we find that our social lives and emotional states have shifted. The people we once held dear have, in some way, changed or disappeared from our lives, and that can be hard to accept. By now your children are likely off living their own lives, and your grandchildren are either too little to interact well with you, or are in school, which may leaving you feeling alone. 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. Your social structure may begin to shift to accommodate the new friends you gain from your neighbors. It’s always encouraged for residents to meet and get to know one another, maybe over a cup of coffee, or a couple rounds of poker, or even someone to accompany you to the store. When you live in a community, there’s no need to feel isolated.
How to get Involved in Volunteer Opportunities
Retirement communities will have a plethora of volunteer opportunities. It’s a healthy way to remain active and be a part of a bigger project outside the immediate community. It helps with emotional stability, as you feel that you are making a real difference near and around your home. There are many volunteer options that you’ll find, including:
- 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
- Chaperoning 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 valid to have a fear of the unknown. Keep in mind though that these communities certainly aren’t like what you’ll find in movies or on the tv. They’re warm, welcoming, secure, and are filled with wonderful opportunities. For some people living in a retirement community simply won’t be a valid option. Some may feel more independent in their own home, while others simply want to live a quiet and secluded life, and that’s alright. Still, you can’t just ignore the benefits of living in these communities, from the excellent staff to the countless chances to get yourself involved. It’s definitely an option that needs to be given a little more consideration. You should always speak with your family and your doctor before making a final decision, but when it comes time you’ll at least be better informed.