How Moving to a Senior Living Community Can Help Seniors Maintain Their Independence
Older adults are the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., so it makes sense that there’s a strong interest in healthy aging and senior independence. As people continue to live longer, we want to unlock the secrets that help ensure an active, purposeful and independent lifestyle for as long as possible.
So what can seniors do to support their independence as they age? A variety of factors support older adults’ autonomy, including lifestyle choices and living arrangements, such as senior independent living. Here’s what you need to know:
Keeping Seniors Independent: What the Research Says
It’s no surprise that lifestyle choices affect health and the aging process. A study at Sweden’s Uppsala University sought to identify which aspects of a healthy lifestyle predict independent living later in life. Researchers followed the health of several thousand men born in the 1920s, looking at the lifestyle choices of those who were still independent into their 80s. Independence was defined as being able to walk outdoors without help and take care of personal care tasks like bathing and dressing without assistance. The study found that three factors contribute to independence in old age:
- Nonsmoking. The men who had never smoked were twice as likely to be independent later in life.
- Healthy diet. Many of the men followed a Mediterranean-style diet, with a high intake of fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and cereals, and a low intake of meat and dairy products.
- Waistline measurement under 40 inches. The amount of abdominal fat was more significant than weight in general.
Living Arrangements Also Impact Independence
Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a good idea at any age, but in addition to choosing healthy habits, your choice in senior living options can also impact your independence. Many older adults hope to continue living in their homes for as long as possible, equating home with independence. But aging in place isn’t always conducive to independence. For many older adults, there may come a point when a decline in physical or cognitive abilities makes their home feel more like a burden or a place of confinement.
As you consider the wisdom of aging in place, ask yourself the following questions:
- Would my home need to be modified — with ramps or stair lifts, for example — if mobility becomes an issue?
- How will I maintain my home and yard if I experience a decline in physical ability?
- What if routine daily tasks, like dressing or cooking, become difficult?
- Who will help me get to doctor appointments or the grocery store if I’m no longer comfortable driving?
- How will I stay socially and mentally engaged if my abilities decline?
Answering these questions requires an honest assessment of your support network, resources and the potential realities of the aging process.
Senior Independent Living Supports Successful Aging
As an alternative to aging in place, senior living communities are designed to support healthy aging. Wellness programs, nourishing and delicious dining options, and scheduled social events ensure that you can make healthy choices that support longevity and wellness. Groundskeeping, housekeeping and home upkeep are taken care of for you, freeing you from the burdens of homeownership, so you can spend more time enjoying your independence. And scheduled transportation enables you to get to appointments if you’re no longer comfortable driving.
This array of services and amenities that you find in senior living supports senior independence and higher life satisfaction. One study found that residents of retirement communities enjoyed a higher quality of life than nonresidents. Residents reported that senior living helped them:
- Stay more active.
- Feel less lonely.
- Be healthier for longer.
- Enjoy life more.
- Feel more in control of their lives.
- Feel more secure.
Independent Living at Monticello West
At Monticello West, you can enjoy all the convenience of a maintenance-free lifestyle and the freedom to spend your days as you like. With a variety of floor plans to suit different tastes and needs, a warm, friendly staff to make you feel right at home and all levels of care — including assisted living, enhanced assisted living and memory care — under one roof, you’ll have everything you need to enjoy your independence now and feel secure about your future. Contact us to learn more or to schedule a visit to our community. We would love to show you around.