How to Find Elder Care Options That Don’t Feel “Elderly”

How to Find Elder Care Options That Don't Feel "Elderly"

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



Perhaps your parent is starting to struggle with their normal daily tasks and they are beginning to need outside support more often. You have been able to provide love and care as much as you can, but it is now getting to the point in which it’s challenging to keep up on your own.

This is completely normal, and it is time to be realistic about your ability to care for another person—even if that person is your parent. When it comes down to it, the main concern is your parent’s happiness and well-being. In order to make that possible, there are some new options you can start to explore together.

Where your loved one goes next all depends on how much assistance is needed and what sort of environment is the best fit. Older adults want to maintain the fact that they have a choice. They like their independence and the way life is at home. This can make the transition to a place that has been labeled for the “elderly” seem like something to approach with caution.

However, not all of the elder care options out there will feel like such a drastic change. Baby Boomers have disrupted expectations their entire lives and senior living will be no different. They represent the “have it your way” generation so the choices today offer much greater personalization. You may be surprised how comfortable and appealing communities for older adults are these days.

What’s Out There

There are a great selection of options that are specifically created to assist older adults in the things they require a little more help with, while at the same time giving them space to maintain their independence, continue to flourish in their lives, and simply be themselves.

Assisted living communities are often mistaken for nursing homes, though they are actually incredibly different. With the right community and care plan in place, not many of the important things in your parent’s life have to change. The changes that will be made are purely positive ones. Take some time to check out the options available now and you will see that there really are opportunities for people that don’t feel elderly at all, but more like the much-deserved break they have been looking forward to.

How Assisted Living Keeps You Independent

When looking for the ideal fit for your parent, you will want to find a place that provides something to be excited about along with trustworthy healthcare support. Look for communities that provide:

  • Access to physical activity and fitness with diverse, fun class options like Zumba, yoga, and cycling.
  • Plenty of new learning opportunities such as computer classes, book clubs, and art classes. Some communities near a college even allow residents to take advantage of their education resources.
  • A wide range of healthy, interesting, and enjoyable dining experiences. No matter if your loved one likes to stick to their favorite foods or prefers to explore different cuisines, every kind of food enthusiast should be taken into consideration.
  • Housekeeping and transportation assistance that ensures that comfort and mobility are easy and convenient.

Maintaining Independence

Because of the examples listed above, the right community will balance care with a rewarding life that provides room for fun and discovery. According to research documented in JAMA Internal Medicine, two million people over the age of 65 who live alone are completely or mostly homebound.

Assisted living, on the other hand, opens up a world of opportunity by eliminating barriers such as transportation to create a more purposeful, vibrant life at any age. Your parent will feel younger and healthier, without being weighed down by his or her inability to carry out daily chores and appointments.

Visiting communities together can empower loved ones and will help your parent see how enriching a life in a senior community can actually be.

What You Can Do to Help

You will likely have to make some adjustments to prepare for this change, too. For most of your life, your parent has been supporting you through your journey and now the roles have been reversed. Here are a couple of things to consider as you start down this path:

  • Help your loved one embrace this change as a positive one. Know that this move is an adjustment but one that reopens doors that have started to close for your loved one. A move will ultimately benefit your parent’s health and happiness.
  • Include your parent in the decision.  Find some decisions that your parent can make so they feel in control.  If possible, narrow down the choices and then bring your parent for a visit or lunch so they can have a voice in the final choice.  Have your parent choose the apartment, what to bring and how to arrange their space.
  • Visit communities at different times. Your parent will be living at the community 24 hours a day so it is important to experience the community at various times.  Communities can operate differently on weekends when the management team is typically off. Ideally, there will be managers scheduled weekends and holidays so there is leadership in place.
  • Stay for a meal. The dining experience is important.  Your parent will have most of their meals at the community so quality, service and variety is critical.  When you get close to a decision, be sure to sample the food.  It is also a great opportunity to talk with the residents to get their perspective of the community!

There are many organizations that exist to help people find the right place for their parent. Here are a few:

You know your parent best—what brings them pleasure, gives them purpose, and nourishes their spirit. Our best advice is to take your time to consider all the options so you will find the place that will support their individuality and create a vibrant space to flourish. But most of all, find a place that will allow your loved one to live their best life. Don’t worry—with the right research and ability to explore all of your options, you will find the right place.

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