There comes a time in our lives where we have to face a terrifying notion, and that’s the fact that we aren’t as young as we used to be. Caring for ourselves has turned into a chore, chores have become near impossible to finish without pain, and stairs have become a nightmare all of their own. If you’re living alone then this mare terrify you. You might be concerned about not just your safety, but for your friends and family. It might be time to think about moving to a retirement home.
This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though! After all, technology grows more sophisticated with each passing day, and because of that, these homes are so much more than assisted living facilities. They’ve become entire communities, all built around those who are in a similar place as you, and filled with staff members who want to ensure you get only the best.
Retirement homes tend to get a bad rep in the media. They’re usually depicted as bland, depressing buildings (always seemingly from the 70’s for some odd reason) where senior citizens are sadly scooting around the common areas in their bathrobes. 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, there are a lot more benefits than disadvantages compared to living at home on your own, including some that you might not have even thought of. Below are some things to think about when it’s time for you to decide.
The Differences in Home Maintenance
Home maintenance has never been an easy task. So much work goes into owning a home, and it only gets harder as we get older. 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. Plumbing issues can be resolved in a snap. Professional gardeners will maintain your lawn. 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 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.
How Money is Affected
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. Along with that, consider that you no longer have to worry about things like maintenance or even transportation in some cases; retirement communities can actually help you with budgeting for the future. Most communities have a fixed rate, which means you can find one that matches your fixed income.
One of the greatest concerns a senior has when it comes to money is their health. 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. No, it isn’t always the cheapest way to live, but having all of your regular and major bills lumped together in a fixed payment does help relieve some of the stress and uncertainty that comes with budgeting.
Read more about assisted living near Bellevue WA.
Reliable and quick emergency help is another bonus to living in a 24-hour community. These homes come standard with security cameras, on-call EMT’s, have working relationships with local law enforcement, and generally speaking, these communities are full of like minded people who just want to live in a safe place, so it’s reasonable to expect neighbors to check in with one another frequently. 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 fact, they’re encouraged to go out and lead very social lives. 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.
The Available Activities
Retirement communities place great emphasis on social activity. It’s important in keeping the seniors from becoming those stereotypical zombies on the silver screen. It’s easier than ever to keep yourself active in a retirement community, and there’s always something for everyone. 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 nothing offered at the time interests you then you can normally speak with the staff, and they’ll do their best to meet your needs. It’s hard to be bored when there’s always something to do!
How to get Around as a Senior
Many communities will offer transportation as part of their services to meet the needs of seniors. They can go anywhere that you need locally like grocery stores, local events, hospitals, post offices, and shopping malls. It even helps with your sense of freedom, as it means you’ll always have reliable transportation that’s able to get you to where you need to be. Along with that, these community shuttles are designed specifically to ensure absolute comfort and safety for all seniors, including lower steps, cushioned seats and friendly drivers.
Having Access to Care
Health is always a major concern, especially when we get older. There may be problems that require rehab and some time for you 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 are encouraged to get to know you as a person as well, and not just another patient, so you can feel more comfortable knowing that you’re being properly cared for. As for more serious situations, most retirement homes are located near hospitals, assuring absolute timeliness for those devastating emergencies.
Staff members are dedicated to making sure you’re healthy as well. When you get older it becomes more difficult to care for yourself, but the nurses will continue to encourage you as you go. 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. No task is too small for them, as your well-being is always their primary concern.
Finding an Easy way to Move
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. Many communities will offer to either pay professionals to help you move, or will offer their own moving services so that you can get in quicker. The staff understands that you’re going to be stressed out when you have to move, and they’re trained to handle the whole situation smoothly and efficiently.
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. These meals are well prepped, nutritious and often healthy. They’re also able to meet special needs, including medication routines and allergies. This doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to cook for yourself of course. Whether or not a community offers meals, you’ll always be able to do your own cooking in your home.
Staying Social as a Senior
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. Just be joining a retirement community you know that you’ve found like-minded folks, since all of you have made the same decision for your lives. By living with or close to your peers you’ll have the opportunity to fill in some of the roles in your life that have been empty. Your neighbors will become your friends, and the foundation of your social structure. You’ll be encouraged to interact with you neighbors, whether it be by you going out for coffee, going to the store, or even playing a bit of poker. When you live in a community, there’s no need to feel isolated.
Are There Ways You can Volunteer?
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 will help keep you emotionally stable as well, as you’ll be making a difference in and around your community.. There are a multitude of volunteer opportunities as well, such as:
- Fixing up gardens from around your city.
- Playing with and caring for the animals in your local shelters.
- Socializing with children from low income / high stress situations.
- Support groups
- Charity work
- Helping to chaperone local youth groups.
- Senior Corps
Embracing change is always difficult. Humans often desire familiarity, and the comforts that we have associated with it over decades. It’s understandable to be a little reluctant to move 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 welcoming, secure and full of wonderful experiences that are firmly established in peaceful communities. 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. However, it’s impossible to simply brush off the benefits found in retirement communities, including the reliable staff, the available services, and the chances to get involved and be active. 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.