When exploring retirement options, it’s a good idea to research several senior living communities – both online and in person. But sometimes fears, misconceptions and myths play a part in delaying that research. We’re going to tackle several myths head-on so you can relax and enjoy your retirement exploration. After all – this is YOUR life! Enjoy it!
MYTH No. 1: Retirement Communities are sad and scary places.
FACT: Active, independent living communities encourage residents to thrive!
If you ask most seniors who live in a Life Plan Community (also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC), they will tell you they were initially – and pleasantly – surprised at how dynamic, warm and enjoyable it is. But why were they skeptical? To be fair, many seniors may have unpleasant memories of their parents’ “old folks home” or may remember stories of unregulated nursing homes. But times really have changed, and our old mindsets need to change too.
Life Plan Communities and CCRCs offer two big benefits. FIRST: A continuum of care, or several levels of care available whenever they need it, whether it be on or off campus. SECOND: The not-so-secret added benefit of Life Plan Communities is their dedication to offering just about everything today’s seniors need and want to create as active and independent a retirement lifestyle seniors want.
MYTH No. 2: Retirement Communities don’t help seniors stay active.
FACT: Today’s Life Plan Communities encourage seniors to live well and live purposefully.
One of the biggest perks of living in a Life Plan Community is that everything is included. Residents enjoy maintenance-free living in their choice of residences. Meals, transportation, home maintenance, housekeeping, laundry, security and healthcare are all provided, which frees residents up to enjoy retirement and explore new opportunities. From social, spiritual and intellectual pursuits, to joining friends for a swim or a walk through the community, many seniors report they “had no idea!” there was so much to do. Many seniors report that they are more active when they move to a retirement community.
MYTH No. 3: I’ll be lonely and isolated if I move to a Retirement Community.
FACT: Life Plan Communities provide residents with access to a social network.
Residents have access to a large social network of people with shared interests. Particularly for single or widowed seniors, the social benefits and sense of community can be a huge draw. Many communities offer a variety of social activities, like outings, mixers, clubs and organized travel. There’s always a friend around, and many seniors like having a sense of community while still maintaining their private living spaces. Life Plan Communities also welcome family and friends to visit as often as they like (when we’re not in a pandemic, of course!).
MYTH No. 4: Residents are dissatisfied with senior living.
FACT: Residents live happier, healthier lives than seniors living at home.
For many years, research has shown that seniors are overwhelmingly happy with long-term care retirement living options. However, the groundbreaking five-year Age Well Study by the Mather Institute, in conjunction with Northwestern University, has knocked the lid off of any lagging reservations that skeptics may have had about the benefits of senior living communities.
Here are just a handful of stats from the Age Well Study that are truly eye-opening:
- CCRC residents tend to have greater emotional, social, physical, intellectual and vocational wellness than the demographically similar control group from the sample drawn from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) conducted by the University of Michigan.
- Over two-thirds of residents surveyed said moving to a CCRC “somewhat or greatly improved” their social wellness, a concept that encompasses a person’s sense of connectedness and belonging within their community.
- Residents who live in CCRCs or Life Plan Communities had lower levels of depression, better diets and better overall health than seniors living in rental communities.
Myth No. 5: My health will deteriorate if I move to a Retirement Community.
FACT: Comprehensive wellness is a driving force in Life Plan Communities and CCRCs.
Senior living communities are leaders in the healthcare industry. One of their greatest accomplishments has been their dedication to incorporating the seven key dimensions of wellness into all aspects of retirement community design and operation. When visiting CCRCs or Life Plan Communities, one can’t help but notice their commitment to the health, well-being, longevity and enjoyment of their residents.
From extensive fitness centers with one-on-one guidance to continuing education classes taught by local educators to multiple dining options and beautifully landscaped campuses that welcome walking and exploration, today’s Life Plan Communities truly offer a cornucopia of life-enhancing pursuits.
Myth No. 6: Life Plan Communities and CCRCs are expensive.
FACT: They are more affordable than you think.
Moving to a retirement community isn’t like it was decades ago. You retain control of all of your assets, and it is your decision what to do with them. In fact, there are plans available to fit whatever your financial situation is ̶ whether your financial strengths lie in assets or income. Communities that have entrance fees may offer refundability options, and the monthly fees are often tailored to fit your needs.
By visiting Life Plan Communities online and in person, you will put to rest a lot of fears and misunderstandings you may have about retirement living options. After all, your friends and family can give advice, but until you explore options yourself, you won’t fully appreciate the life-enhancing benefits that are offered at today’s retirement communities.
Generations at Shalom Park has collaborated with Aldersgate Life Plan Services, a renowned senior living provider in the Charlotte region, on the construction of 125 new independent living residences unlike any other in the Charlotte area. Call 704-532-5400 today or visit us online to learn more about us.