How Social Connections Increase Happiness in Older Adults

Like the promise of spring, retirement offers a new beginning after decades of working and raising a family. While many retirees opt to live at home others look at all the possibilities offered by independent living. To best assess whether independent living is the right fit for the retirement of your dreams, take a look at this checklist for independent living.

Independent living offers:

#1: Zero home maintenance and repair

At first, retirement may seem like the perfect time to deal with all those around-the-house repairs that have been put off. Then the seasonal maintenance chores like mowing, trimming and raking devour chunks of time. Of course, all these jobs can be done by others for a fee, but after a while many seniors realize the costs of time and money are adding up.

That’s why every checklist for independent living should include a detailed accounting of home maintenance and repair because in independent living both are no longer a concern. As detailed in our blog, “What to Expect in an Independent Living Community,“ top independent living communities provide on-call repair services so there is no wait, no huge fees and no worries when an appliance goes on the blink or the plumbing backs up. Similarly, all maintenance is included which means residents can expect beautiful surroundings indoors and outdoors every day, year-round to enjoy at their leisure.

#2: Total accessibility

Family homes in the United States are rarely designed for aging in place, which is something that can pose a real challenge over time. Although most seniors believe their good health doesn’t require accessibility, others see it as a big bonus item on the checklist for independent living. Imagine no more stairs or steps to climb, floor plans that allow plenty of space for easy navigation, wide doorways and hallways and a variety of other touches like:

  • Lever handles on faucets and doors
  • Walk-in showers that reduce the risk of falling
  • Grab bars
  • Emergency call systems (just in case)

Now imagine the costs of having to retrofit a family home to enjoy all these safety and accessibility features. According to the infoaging.org article, “The Costs Of Aging In Place,” estimates for bathroom upgrades alone range from $5,618 to $12,861, but in independent living they are already part of the package.

 

Download our informative guide, Just the Facts: Independent Living

#3: Social opportunities galore

Retirement brings many changes including the loss of some social connections. It may not seem like a big deal at first, but the erosion of social ties can have some pretty bad effects on health and well-being. According to the nia.nih.gov article, “Social isolation, loneliness in older people pose health risks,” research has shown links between social isolation and increased risk for hypertension, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety and depression, and even Alzheimer’s disease and death.

This single item on the checklist for independent living can mean the difference between staying healthy and vital and losing ground physically and/or mentally.

Socialization is not a concern in independent living because there are so many things to do and friends to do them with. Whether that’s joining a club or interest group, playing pinochle or Scrabble, working out or taking a class, every day is full of ways to stay social and reap the benefits.

#4: Appropriate nutrition

Another important entry on the checklist for independent living is nutrition. We already know that aging changes the body in many ways, but what isn’t obvious is the need to change diets to accommodate these changes. According to the health.clevelandclinc.org article, “Nutrition for Older Adults: Why Eating Well Matters as You Age,” seniors should eat foods that supply more fiber like whole grains, more healthy fats from foods like walnuts, salmon, and olive oil, and should limit consumption of “white foods” like potatoes, rice, and white bread, and of course, salt.

At The Lodge at Stephens Lake, residents can choose to cook at home or join friends for chef-inspired meals made from the freshest ingredients and crafted to be not only elegant and appealing but healthy as well, even for those with dietary restrictions.

#5: Amenities and services

No checklist for independent living would be complete without a look at services and amenities. Residents in the best independent living communities can choose from a variety of daily activities, events and excursions. Other options include onsite movies, fun seasonal events and programs, and the always popular Happy Hours. In addition, residents can expect onsite services like hair salons, local transportation, bi-weekly housekeeping and linen services, and a beautiful well-maintained community with room to roam.

When preparing a checklist for independent living download our informative guide, Just the Facts: Independent Living then contact us to schedule a tour of The Lodge at Stephens Lake.Just the Facts, Independent Living Guide

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