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.
1. Senior social interaction
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.
2. Intellectual stimulation
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.
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.
3. Senior safety
Keeping seniors healthy and safe is a priority for independent and assisted living communities.
- Senior living minimizes the risk of falls
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Independent and assisted living communities are designed for accessibility and mobility, with ramps, flat thresholds, and hallway hand railings. Raised toilets, specially designed walk-in showers, and grab bars in bathrooms also reduce the likelihood of falls.
- Security is always available
Elderly people are often targets for break-ins and scams. Senior living communities have security companies to keep older loved ones safe, as well as alarm systems to provide peace of mind.
- Senior living communities are prepared for disaster
Elderly people aging in place are responsible for checking smoke detectors, installing carbon monoxide alarms, and replacing fire extinguishers. In the event of an emergency — like a tornado, earthquake, or fire — they might have to find safety on their own. Assisted and independent living communities have disaster plans and staff prepared to help seniors in case of emergency.
- On-call staff provides peace of mind in medical emergencies
Rooms in independent and assisted living communities have medical alert systems to notify staff in case of falls or injuries. This means seniors don’t have to worry about struggling to contact help or waiting to be found after a medical emergency at home.
4. Fitness and physical activities for seniors
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.
5. Chef-prepared, nutritious meals
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.
6. Maintenance-free lifestyle
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.
7. Help with activities of daily living
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.
8. No more boredom
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.
9. Stress-free lifestyle
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.
Learn more about independent or assisted living
If your aging loved one would enjoy the lifestyle benefits of independent or assisted living, reach out to Forever Home Placement Services Senior Living Advisors to explore the best options near you.