Rod Anderson-Executive Director, Bridges Senior Lifestyle Living
Most seniors who have moved to Independent Living Communities or Assisted Living report that they prefer life at their new home to life alone. Senior Living Communities of today are not the dark, depressing homes of the past. They no longer have that institutional feel but rather remind you of home or even a 5-star hotel. Here are eight reasons why more and more seniors are making the move:
Between on-site activities and entertainment, to trips to local landmarks, restaurants and museums there is something for everyone. Games, movies, socials, performers and classes offer residents the opportunity to do as much or as little as they like making the boring old days sitting home alone a distant memory.
Keeping up a home is hard work, especially for those of us who have developed physical ailments over the years. Mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, pulling weeds, climbing a ladder, vacuuming, all these become things of the past. There are plenty of other fun things to fill your time and keep you active (see #1).
When you live at home alone there is a tendency to not eat very well. Cooking for one can seem like a chore, some people just don’t bother and their health suffers for it. In senior living communities, residents don’t have to worry about meal preparation or even brewing a pot of coffee for that matter. Some communities even offer restaurant style dining with an extensive menu to choose from served at times that fit into your schedule. It’s common for new resident’s health to improve in the weeks after moving to a community just from getting better nutrition.
Older folks frequently become dependent on their grown children, or other close family members, for help of all kinds. Role reversals and “parenting the parent” can put a strain on relationships and foster resentment among both parents and sons and daughters. Moving to a senior living community liberates family members from the roles of caregiver, housekeeper or repair man and lets you spend quality, meaningful time with your loved ones. You can return to your role as parent and let the kids be just your kids again bringing back family harmony.
Driving can be a tense and stressful chore as we age, if not for you, maybe your passengers. As we get older our driving abilities, reflexes, eyesight aren’t quite what they used to be. For these reasons, most residents prefer to take advantage of the free transportation that’s provided by independent and assisted living communities. There’s no need to stress over finding a new doctors office or the expense of maintaining a vehicle anymore, although parking and sometimes valet service are available for residents who still choose to drive.
For senior living at home alone there is often a lack of stimulation that can lead to anxiety and depression. In senior living communities there are opportunities to learn, try something new or be reminded of something you used to love to do. Classes, seminars, speakers or maybe even your neighbor down the hall teaching you a new stitch or a new card game can get the brain moving again.
Living at home alone can lead to isolation, which is unhealthy at any age. At senior communities you can make friends, share a meal together and enjoy festive occasions with one another. While social opportunities abound in this setting if you are more of an introvert who likes to just curl up at home with a good book your privacy will be respected also, but it is always nice to have other folks around when you want some company.
In a home alone all those things that go bump in the night can leave you feeling uneasy but in a senior community your neighbors are close at hand, buildings are usually locked to the outside world and some even employ security guards for added safety. Furthermore residents enjoy the peace of mind that comes from the emergency response systems senior communities provide. This alleviates fears about falling and becoming trapped for hours or even days, a scenario that’s all too common for senior’s residing alone.
Certainly, there are seniors who live alone and are just fine. Senior communities may not be for everyone but without a doubt there are a vast number of seniors living alone in unsafe or unhealthy situations who would benefit immensely from life at an independent senior living community.