A Challenging Decision
Many of us find ourselves at a point where we must accept that our parents may be at that point in their lives where the challenges of maintaining the family home become too much for them to handle. There are many options available to support them if they decide they would like to continue for as long as possible in their house: visiting nurses, cleaning services, lawn maintenance, and snow removal coupled with regular visits from the family will all help greatly. However, there may come a time when the appeal of joining an independent living community is seen as the perfect place for active seniors who are able to enjoy an active life and want the total freedom of a carefree retirement lifestyle. The headache of maintaining the house and yard no longer require constant attention and the option of participating in a community that offers a wide range of services and amenities— like dining, social gatherings and entertainment, transportation and field trips, cleaning services, health, physical fitness and wellness activities, a secure environment, and more--so your parents can truly live the lives they want to live.
How can your parents benefit from “Senior” independent living?
Senior independent living allows your loved ones the opportunity to pursue the more relaxed lifestyle they have worked so hard to attain. The responsibilities of homeownership and other daily chores become a fond memory of the past. While their new setting will offer a social, senior-friendly community. Adults who choose to live in an independent living retirement community are able to spend more time exploring interests and connecting with friends and loved ones. In fact, independent living offers several perks for active, retired seniors.
The joy of maintenance-free living
Household maintenance and chores are not only a burden but can also pose a serious safety hazard for aging parents. While some may find cooking or gardening therapeutic, other housework — such as bending over to clean floors or climbing ladders to change lightbulbs — can be time-consuming and may lead to unnecessary injuries. Maintenance-free communities appeal to many who no longer wish to climb ladders, shovel icy walks, or spend all of their free time working through a long “to-do” list of household repairs.
The independent senior living community rids residents o lawn maintenance, home repair, or housekeeping concerns.
Dining out or dining in
Older adults who live on their own may not want to spend time cooking healthy, nutritious meals for one. Even those who enjoy cooking may find daily meal preparation a burden. Good nutrition is central to a healthy lifestyle. But seniors are at increased risk for poor nutrition – even malnutrition – for many reasons. Lack of transportation to the grocery store and health conditions that make meal preparation difficult are two. In a community senior living environment, mealtime becomes a nourishing and social experience. Older adults enjoy well-balanced meals prepared for them and served in a dining room, where they can interact with friends.
Nearly 13.8 million seniors age alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While living alone doesn’t necessarily lead to loneliness, certain factors may make it more difficult for older adults to stay connected with loved ones. Chronic conditions, mobility impairment, lack of transportation, and changes in family dynamics — such as divorce or loss of loved ones — may contribute to senior isolation. Loneliness and isolation may worsen health conditions and increase the risk of cognitive decline in seniors. Healthy relationships with people who understand age-related changes help build strong interpersonal connections. Having someone nearby who can identify with, empathize with and even laugh at shared struggles helps older adults stay positive.
Recreation and social activities
Older adults who are active and engaged tend to live happier, fuller lives. However, issues like limited mobility and lack of transportation may be barriers for aging adults who want to stay social. While you’re out and about in your community doing what you love, you’ll meet other seniors who enjoy the same things. If you find your social circle has gotten smaller, you can join a music group, a yoga class, or take an on-site class to meet interesting people your own age.
While amenities vary from one community to the next, many residents find independent living facilities encourage seniors to stay active, healthy, and engaged without the need to go far. Most communities offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities for seniors. This might mean helping with book clubs, leading current event discussions, spearheading craft programs, knitting for hospitalized children – in fact, depending on the individual community and the needs of the region, the possibilities are limited only by imagination and initiative.
Safety and security
Falls are a major health risk for older adults, often leading to serious head and hip injuries. In fact, nearly 3 million adults end up in emergency rooms each year because of fall injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although your parent may not need help with personal care, accidents can still happen. Household falls and injuries could occur, and if they live alone, the thought of not receiving the help they need can be a little scary.
Independent living apartments are designed with seniors in mind. Common areas and apartment units come with accessibility features to cater to different levels of physical ability. These often include wide doorways, low thresholds, well-lit spaces, handrails, walk-in showers and tubs, and more.
Many independent living facilities also have staff available 24 hours a day to assist residents in case of an emergency. Some may offer each resident a personal emergency response device or have emergency alert systems in apartment units so seniors can get help at the push of a button.
Older adults are at increased risk of car accidents. When driving becomes unsafe for seniors, some communities offer reliable transportation to nearby shopping areas, restaurants, events, and doctor appointments. Transportation services allow residents to get around town at their own leisure. While some independent living residents may choose to continue to drive, they may also rely on the convenience of scheduled, complimentary transportation services provided by many communities for outings, medical appointments, shopping, and other errands.
Moving to an independent living facility doesn’t mean you need to say goodbye to furry friends. Pet-friendly senior housing units usually allow cats, small- to medium-sized dogs, and other small animals such as birds and fish. Some senior communities have “community” dogs and cats that live on site. However, some may have rules and restrictions related to the types, size, and number of pets.
If you’re planning to bring a pet to live with you at an independent living community, be sure to ask about their pet policy and fees. You may even find a community that offers pet care and grooming among its extra services.
One monthly price for everything
We’re not going to tell you senior living communities are inexpensive. But when you add up your monthly living expenses from cable and internet access to your property taxes and everything you spend on entertainment, you’ll discover that senior living is more affordable than you thought.
Most residents in a senior community don’t need a car, since almost everything they need is located on-site and transportation services are provided to get around town. That’s another cost savings you might not have considered. Many independent living retirement communities are all-inclusive. This means the monthly base rent fee covers housing, utilities, meals, and amenities. An all-inclusive independent living arrangement allows residents to spend less time managing and paying bills and more time enjoying life.
Helping Your Parents Take Control of Their Future
It is stressful for a parent to sell their home and consider moving into a senior independent living community. Your help guiding them to take control of their retirement and future well-being will ease choosing the retirement community of their dreams. It’s time to show your parents they deserve to start enjoying retirement in a whole new way.
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