As Baby Boomers age, it’s obvious they are living healthier, more active lives than their Silent Generation parents. Living longer, healthier, and more active lives has led many to delay decisions regarding future living arrangements such as moving to a retirement community.
Delaying the decision to move to a retirement community may be based on the belief that staying in one’s own home is the best arrangement as one ages. But is it? Let’s look at the thoughts behind this belief. Are they true or myth?
A Retirement Community Is Boring
Retirement communities have changed significantly from the days of rockers on the front porch. Yes, you may still find porch rockers, but you will also find a wide variety of activities and interest groups. Most communities have an activities director on staff who plans daily activities and outings. If something isn’t offered that you enjoy, it’s possible you will be encouraged to organize it. You’ll find fitness classes, book clubs, social events, lectures/seminars, crafts, games, movies, concerts, volunteer opportunities, and more. Activities encourage residents to stay active and engaged, leading to improved physical and mental health.
A Retirement Community Limits Your Independence
Residents of a retirement community are limited only by their own abilities. Living in independent living is just what is sounds like. Residents can come and go as they please. What’s different is the burdens of home ownership are no longer present. Most meals are provided for you. Time for travel, hobbies, and interests opens up.
As needs and abilities change, a higher level of care may become necessary, but again, the resident is limited only by his or her own abilities.
The Food at a Retirement Community Isn’t Good
Dining is typically led by a food services director with formal training and hospitality experience. Culinary school trained chefs oversee food preparation. Most communities offer a formal dining room as well as short order and takeout options.
A Retirement Community Is for People Who Can’t Take Care of Themselves
Retirement communities have changed drastically from what was once called “the old folks home.” Today’s communities now provide a range of care levels, from independent living to assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care.
Independent living enables adults to live independently but with services provided to make life easier. Services typically include all home maintenance, all or most utilities, meal plans, security, and activities/outings. Since a resident does not own the dwelling, property taxes and dwelling insurance are things of the past.
Assisted living is similar to independent living but with safeguards in place. All meals are provided and medications are administered by care providers. Assistance with daily living activities such as bathing and dressing are provided as needed.
Memory care adds special programs to help residents retain memories and abilities and includes additional safety measures.
Nursing care is a higher level of care providing assistance with activities of daily living according to what the resident needs.
Staying at Home Is More Economical than a Retirement Community
The best way to determine if this is true is to add up your living expenses and then compare them to the cost of living at a community. Costs of living at home include rent or mortgage, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, transportation, meals, fitness dues, activities, home maintenance, lawn service, and home security. As you age and need help, include the cost of home caregivers. Find worksheets for comparing costs here.
Home Caregivers Will Provide Better Care Than a Retirement Community
Caregiving in assisted living, memory care, and nursing care communities is regulated by state agencies and must meet requirements determined by each state. Yearly inspections check for deficiencies, and confidential reporting channels provide ways to alert officials to a potential problem. Home caregivers are unregulated. Training and accountability may be inconsistent or even nonexistent.
Still wondering what today’s retirement communities are like? Then visit one! Take a tour and even ask about a short stay. Many communities will arrange for a one- or two-day visit, giving you the opportunity to look around, try out the amenities, and meet current residents.
We invite you to learn more about Parkway Village, central Arkansas’ premier continuing care retirement community. To arrange a tour, complete the form on this page or give us a call at 501-202-1600.