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The Arbor Company Senior Living Blog

Nursing Home Alternatives: What Makes Senior Living Communities Special?

Mar 2, 2018 6:00:00 AM / Wanda Moen Wanda Moen

Nursing Home Alternatives: What Makes Senior Living Communities Special

It’s a familiar refrain heard at family discussions across the nation:

“When I’m old, don’t put me somewhere. I want to live on my own terms!”

Many seniors are terrified of ending up in a nursing home. They associate nursing homes with abandonment, old age, and uselessness.

The truth is that today’s seniors have many excellent options from which to choose—whether they’re able-bodied or ailing. Assisted living and nursing home communities no longer mean being confined to a rocker. Many are chock-full of activities, learning, and a sense of community. Even so, they’re not right for everyone. Seniors who want to avoid a nursing home but are no longer comfortable living at home should consider senior independent living communities. The perfect option for independent seniors with a commitment to adventure, this senior living option allows seniors to continue thriving, learning, and growing well into old age.

Living at Home: Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Most seniors say they want to live at home, even if health challenges make that more difficult. For many, living at home eventually becomes a barrier to independence. Some of the challenges seniors living at home may face include:

  • Isolation, particularly for seniors who no longer drive, who live long distances from family, or who have health problems that impair mobility.  
  • Difficulty keeping up with housework and other tasks. This can become an ongoing source of stress and can even lead to injuries.
  • Financial challenges. Home ownership inevitably means unexpected expenses—the leaky roof, the electrical problem, or the rotting siding, to name a few.
  • Boredom. Filling your time can be hard, especially if loved ones don’t live nearby.
  • Anxiety. Even healthy seniors may be concerned about what will happen if they need help and no one is around. Those with osteoporosis may worry about a fall. Health problems great and small can make living alone riskier.

Seniors who have health issues may believe that living at home prevents them from becoming a burden. The reality is often much different. Children and other loved ones may feel obligated to provide care or frequent visits, potentially disrupting their own lives or undermining their financial futures. In-home care and other support services that allow seniors to remain in their home can quickly become very expensive. They also require extensive coordination that may fall to loved ones—or that may overwhelm seniors themselves.

Your journey to senior living starts here, with this step-by-step guide that  covers everything you need to know to get started.

An Alternative to the Nursing Home : What’s Special About Senior Living Communities?

A senior living community offers a ready antidote to the challenges of living alone, but without the sterile environment that nursing homes of a bygone era offered. The right senior living community offers seniors more adventure, socialization, and opportunities for participating in their community than even the most socially active life spent at home could.

Senior living communities are designed with the diverse needs of seniors in mind. They include:

  • Easy socialization. Seniors can mill about in common areas to talk to their neighbors. They can easily visit community members who are just a few doors away. They can attend community gatherings to meet new friends and participate in classes with people who share their interests.
  • A chance to continue learning. Many seniors hope to spend retirement learning a new skill or sharpening a skill they once had. Classes cost time and money, and often require driving long distances. At senior living communities, seniors have a host of options available just a few steps from their home.
  • Help when they need it. Seniors who are concerned about the safety issues inherent to living alone may feel much more secure in senior living communities. They’re surrounded by people they know, and always have access to caring staff. Life in a senior living community means seniors get help when they need it—but that they’re never forced to accept more help than they need or want. The senior living community model views seniors as capable, competent, vibrant people, not invalids.
  • A luxury setting. Living in luxury at home is expensive. You have to shop, garden, and continually fix the house. It’s also exhausting. At a senior living community, someone else does it all—gardening, cooking, cleaning. This allows seniors to enjoy the retirement they’ve earned, stress and worry-free.

How a Senior Living Community Can Improve Your Health

With age often comes more health woes. That doesn’t mean  life has to slow down or become dull in retirement. Instead, seniors must be even more diligent about their health. Exercise, nutrition, and stress management matter more than ever before.

Senior living communities directly address these needs by offering a wide range of health and wellness initiatives. A senior might take a meditation course, master organic cooking, and then take a class on senior wellness. Seniors can enroll in health and fitness classes tailored to their needs.

Seniors can also address their nutritional needs without stressful, expensive shopping and endless food preparation. The best senior living communities can work with just about any diet, offering nutritious and delicious meals for a price seniors can afford.

Studies consistently show that seniors who remain socially and intellectually active are healthier and happier. People with close friendships may even live longer. Senior living communities make it easy to stay busy and nurture new and old friendships. The result is a longer and happier life.

Even seniors who are doggedly committed to staying at home may change their minds when they see what life looks like at the best communities. After all, who wouldn’t want affordable and easy access to entertainment, education, and socialization? Seniors have worked hard. They’ve given much of their lives to others. It’s time for them to enjoy the next chapter.

Ready to see what a senior living community can offer you or your loved one? Give us a call. We can help you explore your options for a fulfilling and safe retirement.

Download The Journey to Senior Living

Topics: Senior Living Options

Wanda Moen

Wanda Moen

Wanda is the Vice President of Sales for The Arbor Company.

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