By: Mark Hamby
How many times have you heard an older adult say, “I’m going to stay in my house as long as I possibly can!” I can assure you I’ve heard this same comment more times than I can count. It’s a natural reaction for most people when considering a senior living community.
In past years, adults stayed in their own homes most of their retirement years. This trend is changing, as shown by research. Active retired adults are recognizing the benefits of a senior living community. Those benefits include living around people of the same life stage who share similar ideals, interests, and quality of life needs.
One type of senior living community growing in popularity is a continuing care retirement community (also known as a life plan community). A continuing care retirement community offers multiple levels of care in one location, usually independent living, assisted living, memory care, and nursing care.
So let’s take a look at key questions to ask yourself when considering living in a senior living community, and specifically, a continuing care retirement community.
Why should I move to a senior living community?
One of the biggest benefits of a senior living community is the peace of mind that comes with knowing daily tasks such as home maintenance, meal preparation, and housekeeping are taken care of. This gives you the freedom to pursue what’s important to you, and you’ll enjoy a higher quality of life.
Studies also show that adults who live in a senior living community live 7 to 10 years longer than adults who live in their own homes. Not only might you live longer, but you might be healthier and have a better quality of life due to wellness activities and socialization opportunities.
Many senior living communities include safety features such as on-site security and gated entrances. These safety features also add to your quality of life. Knowing you are in a safe place allows you to get the proper rest and provides you with energy for daily living.
When should I move to a senior living community?
This question needs careful consideration. The best time to make the move is while you are still active, generally healthy, and able to make decisions for yourself. I am saddened when I meet people who have waited too long to decide and can no longer enjoy the amenities available to them. Some may not even qualify for the senior living community they desire to live in, as their needs are now beyond what that community provides. And, the longer you wait, the harder it is to accomplish needed tasks such as downsizing, estate planning, and selling a home.
How can I enjoy my life and live successfully in a senior living community?
This is actually one of the easiest things to do and is quite simple. The best thing you can do is to become involved in the community as quickly as possible. Start by getting to know your neighbors. Join in on the many activities that are offered on a daily basis. Dining among friends is so much more fun than eating alone at home. In most communities, you’ll have activities to choose from daily. A world of possibilities awaits you every day.
What’s the benefit of living in a continuing care retirement community as opposed to another type of senior living community?
One of the best reasons for living in a CCRC is the different levels of care available in one location. In most cases you won’t need to move again since the multiple care levels are available all on the same campus. You can start out in independent living, and as your health needs change you can move up to a higher level of care such as assisted living, memory care, and nursing care. This provides true peace of mind and comfort knowing that whatever your need is, you can be taken care of at the right level of care.
Parkway Village is the only continuing care community in central Arkansas. Learn about the amenities and services it provides senior adults and the benefits of making it your next home.
Mark Hamby is Director of Resident and Family Services at Parkway Village. He has over 15 years of experience in CCRC management.