Once upon a time, retirement communities and homes had a negative connotation. They were clinical facilities that were dreary and depressing. Today's retirement communities, though, are game-changers for the aging population. Instead of a place where people go, essentially to die, they have become places people to go to live life with a little extra zest during their golden years.
What has happened to change the connotations surrounding the standard senior living community? There have actually been quite a few changes and all of them are changing the lives of those who call them home.
A Focus on Healthy Lifestyles
Today's retirement communities offer many amenities designed to improve the health and fitness of residents. They offer a wide range of services and community perks that promote physical fitness and nutrition, such as:
- Fitness centers equipped with senior-friendly exercise equipment.
- Senior-friendly exercise classes.
- Nutritious chef-prepared meals.
- Community gardens.
Different retirement communities offer different amenities. But most will have at least some of the amenities mentioned above to promote better health and quality of life for their residents.
Present Seniors with Volunteer Opportunities
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, people who volunteer live longer. The benefits volunteering offers older adults are:
- Lower mortality rates.
- Reduced symptoms of depression.
- Increased sensations of well-being.
- Fewer limitations physically.
Volunteering also helps aging adults build new connections, offers increased opportunities for socialization, and lets them feel as though they still have so much to offer society. Many of today's retirement communities not only offer opportunities for residents to volunteer, but they also encourage it by providing transportation and support for their efforts.
Provide Home-Like Environments for Senior Living
Senior living apartments have made it possible for couples to transition to retirement communities together in a homelike, rather than clinical, environment. It allows them the opportunity to make a home of their own within the retirement community. One that feels like home, where they can entertain family in privacy, prepare meals (if they feel like it), and even share private moments together.
Psychologically, it can make a huge difference, even among older adults who require some assistance to get through their days but want to maintain as much independence and autonomy as their health allows.
Retirement communities have certainly changed in the last twenty or so years. As lifespans expand well beyond initial retirement ages, more and more people are opting for low-maintenance retirement communities that allow them to live more freely and fully than in decades past.