The Challenges of Aging in PlaceStaying in your current home (a.k.a. “aging in place”) can pose a number of difficulties, especially if your health or life circumstances change over time. For one thing, home maintenance and repairs can become more costly and tedious, and more difficult to do yourself if your mobility ever becomes compromised. Additionally, aging in place means you are likely to become more isolated from your surrounding community, especially during a time of sheltering in place and social distancing. This can result in reduced access to healthcare services, more difficulty getting around your home or neighborhood, and a more limited social life. (What’s more, studies have shown that decreased social interaction and mental stimulation can result in poorer health outcomes.) On the other hand, moving to a senior living community eases these difficulties and gives you the benefits of a fulfilling lifestyle with comprehensive perks that enable you to be healthier, happier, and more active.
The Comforts of Carefree Senior LivingLiving at a Life Plan CCRC, you’ll enjoy top-class features, amenities, and services, all designed to make your retirement experience as enjoyable and meaningful as possible. Life Plan communities often combine on-campus health services (and what’s referred to as a full continuum of care) with beautiful, modern residences — many of which you can customize to fit your own preferences — and such perks as chef-curated dining options; housekeeping, laundry, and home maintenance; security and concierge services; transportation and parking; landscaping; and more. These special communities tend to feature multiple dining areas, outside gathering spaces, fitness and wellness centers, spas and beauty salons, art and hobby areas, entertainment venues, and a host of other options for personal enrichment and social activity. It’s also common for communities to offer engaging programming such as continuing education courses, card and table games, book and movie clubs, and other activities. And all of this programming takes place in a controlled environment with safety precautions and social distancing measures in place if necessary. More than that, these active senior living communities cover all the little details that make you feel at home — thanks to warm, professional staffers and community leaders who ensure that residents’ needs are met and that day-to-day life at the community reflects the residents’ priorities and values.
Community Life and CareOne of the main reasons why residents love CCRC living so much is the deep-rooted sense of community that is noticeably pervasive at these senior living communities. Life Plan CCRCs attract like-minded individuals who often come from the surrounding local area, are interested in making new and lasting friendships, and are engaged socially with the goal of leading active, healthy lives. Contrasted with the isolated lifestyle of aging in place, life in a CCRC affords you the opportunity to retire among neighbors and friends who welcome you into a true community where people care about each other and help each other thrive. The other key component of CCRC life — especially at Life Plan CCRCs like Viamonte — is the continuum of care briefly mentioned above. Under this continuing care, residents benefit from Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care services; this enables residents to get the healthcare they need, on campus, even if their healthcare needs change over time. What’s more, Life Plan CCRCs usually include the costs of care in the existing monthly costs and move-in fees of the community, so there are no hidden fees or skyrocketing costs (which are a risk of aging in place or life in non-CCRC retirement communities).
Making it Feel like HomeEven with all of the advantages, adjusting to life in a new community can take some getting used to. Here are some tips to make the transition easier, so that you feel at home from the start.
- Form your community beforehand. Whether the community is still being built or you are waiting for your move-in date, there are plenty of ways to be connected with your future neighbors before you even arrive. Most communities offer virtual events for future residents to get to know each other. If not, ask the staff to connect you to some of them. You may be surprised at how eager people will be to meet you!
- Choose the programs that bring you joy. Don’t wait until you’ve settled in to start participating in the programs and activities available. Right from the start, take advantage of the opportunity to be in your comfort zone doing something you love — it will make meeting new people that much easier!
- Bring your ideas. Take some time before you move in to decide which programs you want to be involved in. If there’s something you’d love to do that isn’t currently being offered, just ask! Most communities rely on their residents to suggest activities and programming that they’d like to participate in–and they’re willing to be creative when large gatherings are prohibited.
- Bring your favorite things! While it makes sense to do some downsizing before making a move to senior living, be sure to bring the household items that make you feel right at home.