Often when touring with clients they will say “Retirement living is for old people” or “I am comfortable at home, I want to stay in my house forever”. What clients don’t realize is retirement living is wonderful for many reasons. Retirement communities can be anything from independent to assisted to memory care. All of them offer the following benefits. Assisted living and memory care offer nurses, caregiver and medication aides too.
- Independence: by living in a retirement community a senior has access to a bus that takes them to the store, pharmacy, post office and bank. There are regular trips to doctors’ offices so residents don’t need to depend on family for help going places, shopping and getting what they need.
- Socialization: There are always people around to talk to and they have experienced similar life events. Residents share tables at meal times offering a good time to chat. There are organized discussion groups, informal gatherings in common areas, men’s groups and social hours. A resident can participate as much as he/she wants or can go into his/her own apartment and close the door for privacy. Just knowing there’s somebody nearby offers a lot of comfort.
- House & yard maintenance: A resident doesn’t have to worry about taking care of the yard, replacing the roof, cleaning the gutters or a plugged sink or toilet. The community takes care of it all and it’s included in the cost of the room. Burned out lightbulb? Call the front desk for somebody to come replace it. Want to mount a TV on the wall or hang a picture? Maintenance will do it. TV remote, phone or iPad doesn’t work? Call the front desk, they’ll help.
- Meals: Tired of coming up with ideas for dinner? Tired of shopping, cooking, cleaning and dealing with leftovers? Three prepared meals with two special main choices and back up options are always available. Communities know good food is the most important thing for seniors so they often hire chefs with a lot of experience and professional training. The food tastes good and is nutritious. They also offer special meals that are diet specific such as low sodium, gluten free, vegan and diabetic conscious. Residents meet monthly to talk to management and the chef about what’s good and what isn’t so good. The staff wants residents to be happy so they do everything they can to meet expectations and make improvements.
- Housekeeping: Communities have housekeepers that visit each resident’s room once a week. They clean bathrooms, kitchens and vacuum. An added bonus? They change residents’ beds and wash the linens weekly.
- Planned activities: There’s no excuse for being bored. Activities range from daily exercise classes to happy hour with adult beverages and live music. There are games such as bridge, cribbage, bingo and bunco. There are crafts, bible study groups, discussion groups and movies with popcorn. Balloon badminton, beanbag baseball, chair chi (tai chi in chairs), yoga and chair yoga are a few of the exercise activities that residents really enjoy. Want something not yet on the calendar? Suggest it to the activity director and if there’s enough interest they’ll add it.
- Bus: Tired of the stress of driving? The communities have a bus that not only goes to stores and the doctor’s office, it takes residents to places like the Tulip Festival, beach, Multnomah Falls, lunch in the community and country drives. Not only can residents get out of the building, they have others to enjoy being out with.
- Safety: There are a lot of safety features that offers comfort to residents.
a. First, there are emergency pull cords and/or pendants to push/pull if a resident needs help. Somebody will come quickly when needed.
b. The front doors of the community are locked in the evening to ensure only residents and their families can get into the building.
c. There are no door to door salespeople who may be targeting vulnerable adults with scams. In addition the staff is good about letting residents know if there are phone scams going on in the area and what to watch out for.
d. If the senior has fallen they won’t be on the floor for days as other residents and staff notice if somebody is not at a meal and will go check on them.
Moving into a retirement community does not mean giving up independence. It means freedom from worrying about maintaining a home and yard. It means making new friends and experiencing new activities—having somebody to talk to! Regular meals, housekeeping and safety are important aspects of aging well. Moving into a retirement community means living well and having what you need at your disposal at all times. We usually hear “we wish we had moved sooner”, don’t wait until it’s too late to get the benefits of retirement living. Look now for an community that you like and enjoy all it has to offer.