As we age, financial security becomes top of mind. A survey by the National Council on Aging found 71 percent of seniors rank it as very important, above keeping connected with friends and family, practicing healthy living habits and staying active with interests and activities. Costs rise and most post-retirement incomes do not. Senior living, often thought of as more costly than aging at home, is often less cost than staying at home with support services. One reason is the predictability of knowing how, when and what you can expect to pay for. Senior living also gives you benefits that go beyond financial security.
Above and Beyond Financial Security
With financial security in place, you can put more importance on the other factors mentioned above – friends and family, healthy living and staying active. We like to think of this as investing in your wellbeing, and that’s invaluable. Let’s look at each benefit in more detail.
Senior Living Keeps You Connected
The AARP Foundation calls social isolation a “growing health epidemic” among seniors and equates the health risks of prolonged isolation to the dangers of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Senior living communities fully understand this risk and make sure you have plenty of ways to meet new friends and keep in touch with friends and family. Opportunities include:
- Common areas perfect for hosting friends and family
- Technology available to foster connections and overcome barriers such as distance
- Special events that encourage family participation
- Social Engagements that make it easy to interact with neighbors and make friends
For more information on the benefits of senior living, check out our Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing!
Healthy Living Can Be Convenient
The U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 67 percent of seniors are sedentary for at least 8.5 hours a day, which increases your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, Type 2 diabetes and even cognitive decline. But at home it can be hard to get as much exercise as you need, particularly with mobility issues and/or a lack of transportation. The same holds true for nutrition. It’s just easier to opt for takeout or frozen meals, right? We get it!
A key benefit of life in a senior living community is the dining experience. Enjoy meals in a restaurant-style setting that often features daily entrees, an a la carte menu, Soup of the Day, fresh salad bar and delicious desserts. What’s more, menus are prepared by a dining staff that knows your dietary restrictions and/or preferences, often in collaboration with a nutritionist or dietitian to ensure a healthy, well-balanced diet.
And, right outside your door, you’ll find plenty of options to help you feel your best, such as:
- Health and wellbeing services
- Fitness center
- Fitness classes including yoga and tai chi
- Onsite spa and salon
Staying Active Starts Now
Beyond staying physically active, it’s also important to stay mentally active. One reason is to help ward off Alzheimer’s disease which, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, someone in the United States develops every 65 seconds. While there’s currently not a cure, research has shown that the brain benefits from staying both socially and cognitively active.
And that’s certainly easy to do in senior living as most communities have a dedicated program director and monthly calendars filled with options for any interests, such as:
- Classes – cooking, crafts, art
- Outings – restaurants, movies, cultural events, shopping, day trips
- Clubs – book clubs, men’s club
- Games – bingo, trivia, karaoke, brain games
- Socials – happy hours, seasonal events, birthday celebrations
- Church services
- Volunteer opportunities
- Educational events
Senior living also offers benefits you may not even be thinking about right now. First, the environment fosters independence, perhaps even more so than at home, by providing just the right amount of support, if and when it’s needed.
Second, the lifestyle is worry-free with housekeeping and laundry provided. This bears repeating; you’ll be free of chores and maintenance!
Lastly, senior living communities today offer home-like comfort with lush green landscaping, beautifully decorated interiors and spacious accommodations, often with multiple floor plans from which to choose, as well as safety features such as emergency response systems as standard.