When your aging loved one enters retirement, you might start wondering what life will look like as they transition to a new time in their lives. For many adult children, worrying about whether their loved one is thriving at home is common, especially if there have been recent falls, hospital visits, or cognitive decline.
Fortunately, senior care communities are excellent solutions for older adults, no matter their preferences, budget, or needs.
If you’ve started to explore senior living, you might be wondering what it means when communities talk about the lifestyle offered there. The term “lifestyle” has become a part of the senior living industry’s jargon, but it can leave many family members wondering what really awaits their aging loved one when they become residents.
The good news is that today’s senior living communities are active and vibrant, with residents who are working toward their wellness goals—this isn’t your grandmother’s nursing home! Senior living lifestyle is all about the amenities, services, wellness resources, and friendships that keep residents feeling healthy, happy, and comfortable.
Here’s what to expect when your loved one chooses a senior living lifestyle.
The senior living lifestyle begins with amenities that make you feel more like you are in a resort than a senior care community. But don’t let resort living give you the impression that you can’t afford it, or that it’s an exclusive club. Instead, think of these amenities as a way to make daily life more convenient, so your loved one can spend more time pursuing hobbies, volunteering in the community, or simply relaxing with a friend on the patio.
Residents in senior living communities enjoy amenities ranging from beautiful, spacious apartments and free parking to on-site conveniences like beauty salons or fitness centers. Although each individual community features its own unique amenities, you can expect exceptional communities to offer residents the following:
The best news? The monthly fee for most senior living communities often covers the use of these amenities, as well as utilities including Wi-Fi.
Now that your loved one can say goodbye to the tasks associated with homeownership, they can enjoy services designed to make life even easier and more fun. Look for communities that offer perks such as weekly housekeeping visits, linen or laundry services, transportation around town in a community vehicle, and even concierge services. Find a place with team members who are always around to provide friendly and personalized service for residents.
For those who live in assisted living, memory care, or skilled nursing, services include the perk of having helpful and friendly caregivers available to provide personalized assistance around the clock. Caregivers can provide services like:
When residents take advantage of the services included in the senior living lifestyle, they are able to spend more time doing what they love. For those who need additional assistance, having caregivers ready to serve means they can go about their daily activities with confidence, as well as being reassured that someone is always on-hand for emergency situations.
For many seniors, preparing three meals per day is overwhelming and just not a realistic activity anymore. According to the National Institute on Aging, beyond the time and attention it takes to create nutritious meals daily, older adults also struggle with nutrition because of changes to their palate, swallowing difficulties, and dental challenges.
Senior living communities aim to reduce those nutrition challenges and make dining a social affair with delicious dining options. In most senior care communities, residents enjoy delicious and nutritious meals in a vibrant dining room with their neighbors. Residents have meal options to choose from at each seating, and the team of cooks at exceptional communities work hard to develop menus that include a nice mix of comforting recipes and new, seasonal takes on favorite meals.
Depending on the senior living community and the meal plans available, residents also have the opportunity to catch up with neighbors over coffee at breakfast, over a bowl of soup for lunch, or over an entrée at dinner. Some communities even feature more than one dining room and might even include a bistro for snacks and lighter fare, a pub for social gatherings throughout the day, or a kitchen for cooking demonstrations.
Consider searching for a senior living community that offers themed meals a few times per year, as well as family events tailored around the dining experience. These extra opportunities really elevate the senior living lifestyle.
Finally, the senior living lifestyle is really all about the connections that residents make with one another. After all, it is easy for older adults to become lonely when living at home, which can lead to all types of health challenges.
Recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the National Institute on Aging, points to isolation and loneliness as a factor that causes serious health complications. These include increased anxiety, more rapid cognitive decline, and even premature death. Most alarmingly, seniors who live alone or with a partner can often become isolated quickly, before family members even notice the trend or intervene.
When your loved one chooses a senior living lifestyle, they are making a decision that helps them more easily create meaningful relationships than if they lived at home. Senior living communities provide the opportunity to connect with a neighbor in the hallway, in the fitness center, in the therapy gym, or in the living room—making it easy to create a new relationship. Residents also enjoy a variety of on-site events and activities, ranging from live concerts to painting classes and health lectures.
Look for a community with an interesting event calendar that also includes excursions into the local community. Exceptional communities also make an effort to host family events where family members can enjoy an event and meal with their loved ones.
Senior care communities offer an unmatched lifestyle for older adults, no matter their needs or preferences. From convenient amenities and helpful services to the dining and social experiences, your loved one will find that meeting their wellness goals is even easier. Beyond that, they will find new friendships and receive the assistance they need to stay healthy, safe, and happy for years to come
Discover your senior living options by downloading our free guide, Understanding Senior Living Lifestyle Options. You’ll learn a bit more about the different types of senior living communities and how they may fit into your loved one’s future plans.