More Americans are getting older, working longer, and staying healthy and active as they age. The number of services available to those 65 and older are also increasing, including senior living communities offering multiple levels of care, from minimal assistance with occasional chores to full-time nursing help, and long-term medical care and home help.
As the number of Americans over 65 increases, the need for varying levels of senior living lifestyles will increase. The over-65 population will double from the current 46 million to 98 million by the year 2060.
How do you know a senior lifestyle community is a good lifestyle fit for you? Here are 12 things to look for:
Are you looking for a year-round, temperate climate or do you like the changing of the seasons? Does hilly terrain present a positive challenge for your daily walk, or is level land more to your liking?
If your active lifestyle includes travel plans, you want to consider a senior living community close to an airport or rapid transit system. Local public transportation to shopping and medical offices is important if your lifestyle no longer includes your own vehicle.
3. Culture and the arts
Music, museums, and educational courses keep the mind stimulated and introduce you to new people in a new community. Your choice of senior living lifestyle includes investigating the availability and cost of attending cultural events in the area.
4. Medical facilities
Are the doctors, clinics, and hospitals close by and available for both scheduled and emergency visits? Does the senior living community offer basic wellness care to residents?
5. Shopping for the basics
Are grocery stores and drug stores nearby, and is regular transportation to these shops available?
6. Family and friends
A senior living lifestyle introduces you to new friends and interests, but maintaining old ties is important. Is the community close to your family and old friends, or close enough to travel and visit?
Many older individuals cherish their pets, and some depend on them for emotional support or as service animals. The right senior living community for you is the one that welcomes your four-legged friend.
8. Floor plans
A variety of plans, with open spaces for easy access, handrails, good lighting, room for personal mementos, wide hallways, emergency call system and adequate closet/storage space creates a feeling of safety while providing a sense of personal ownership.
9. On-site activities
A range of activities to attract everyone are a prime example of why senior living communities are so popular. From health and fitness (line dancing, bowling, chair yoga, water aerobics) to hobbies (photography, book clubs, theater productions, painting, gardening), a strong senior community is open and welcoming to all residents.
A caring and welcoming staff providing comfort and security while keeping residents informed of daily activities and news in the larger area outside the senior living community. And for keeping in touch with friends and family too far away for regular visits, good Internet and cell phone service.
From pulling weeds to putting up storm shutters, many tasks become more of a challenge than an everyday chore. A senior living community offering a range of services, from watering plants to hanging pictures, makes your new house feel like a safe home.
12. Community engagement
Is the senior living community an active and welcome part of the larger community? The opportunity to volunteer, meet and engage with schools, churches, and other organizations in nearby towns keeps residents active, motivated, and provides an opportunity for several generations to share ideas, offer guidance, and enjoy social interaction.