Aging In Place Together
For many of us, the ties we have with family and friends are critical to our wellbeing. They create our favorite memories and provide a support system that cannot be easily replaced.
In a study of the world’s longest living groups of people conducted by National Geographic and Blue Zones (an organization dedicated to helping people live better and longer), two of the nine healthy lifestyle habits they share are a commitment to family and a commitment to friends.
As we age into retirement and consider moving into a senior community, some of us fear this important network may be weakened and meaningful relationships could be lost. AARP studies show that one in three U.S. adults ages 50 and older experience frequent loneliness, while around 17 percent live in chronic isolation. One of the barriers we face is that we all age differently. For instance, you might regularly enjoy golfing with your friends, but your spouse has a chronic illness that demands constant medical care that you cannot provide. Or, perhaps, you are widowed and the friends who are the heart of your social support system have decided to move into senior living. What do you do?
The good news is that senior living options are evolving to help alleviate those feelings of isolation and allow people to preserve their networks.
By offering different living options on one campus, whether it is independent living cottages, assisted living apartments or memory care support, people can be part of the same community while still receiving the individualized care they need. This new model allows all of us to transition from our homes to a community where more support is available.
Access to wellness programs, meals and assistance with life’s daily activities are the immediate benefits of a senior community, but shared amenities such as libraries and activity rooms allows you to build your network and enhance your social life.
The level of stress decreases when a spouse no longer has to shoulder the responsibility of caring for their partner by themselves, or caring for a home. Anxiety drops when there is no worry of developing new friendships, something that can be overwhelming for some people and lead to self-imposed isolation.
The new stress-free model of senior living communities is not only allowing people to age in place, but are preserving the relationships that keep them vibrant.