Where you live meets how you live: How retirement communities can support healthy aging

Where you live meets how you live: How retirement communities can support healthy aging

For many, retirement is hoped to be a time of enjoyment and relaxation, and a respite from our otherwise crazy lives. One important part of finding the perfect retirement lifestyle is planning to age healthily.

In 2016, the 75 years and older age group in the United States reportedly spent more time participating in sports and relaxing than other age groups, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But how does one keep up this activity and health as they age? How does someone plan to age in such a way as to continue doing the things they love? This is one area where a good, high-quality retirement community can be helpful.

Supporting active lifestyles

As people age, their homes often become harder for them to excel in. Things that used to be simple, such as shoveling the walk or driveway and driving a car in bad weather, develop into an obstacle for them. Joining a retirement community can take away many of these obstacles, giving the residents more time and ability to stay active.

“When you move into a community you never have to worry about getting in your car and driving somewhere and motivating yourself to go do that,” says Kelly Ornberg, director of sales and marketing for Summit at Magnolia Green, a retirement community dedicated to wellness and joyful lifestyles.

Being able to live in a community with similarly aged neighbors, where activities are located on campus can help residents stay active and enjoy their retirement years. These communities are there to help residents find success, explains Ornberg.

Where you live meets how you live
Matthew Thomas

When a retirement community is supportive of healthy lifestyles, it should be doing more than just supporting physical activities. Ideally, a community would also be able to help residents strengthen their minds, work through traumatic experiences such as loss of a loved one and better themselves in general.

“Staying active is not just about moving your body, it’s about stimulating your brain, your heart, your mind and your soul,” says Ornberg.

Keeping residents engaged

“More than one-fourth (27 percent) of women ages 65 to 74 lived alone in 2014, and this share jumps to 42 percent among women ages 75 to 84, and to 56 percent among women ages 85 and older,” according to the Population Reference Bureau.

Unfortunately, solitary living has many disadvantages. “The No. 1 reason we see people struggle when they get older is that they’re isolated,” says Ornberg. She describes that being around people in the same stage of life and not being socially isolated is helpful and healthy.

Retirement communities give residents the opportunity to have their personal time when wanted, while also having the ability to socialize and engage in activities when they wish. Ornberg gives the example in a community she works with, that a committee of residents is actually deciding what activities to offer. In other words, the residents are choosing what they want to be engaged in and not what the staff has decided.

Whether that activity is golfing with buddies or simply basking in the sun with a good book, it is up to the resident.

Sustaining health

“We need to make sure that folks have the access and the opportunity to remain free of disease and disability,” describes Ornberg. This includes having the access and ample time needed with doctors, healthy foods available and opportunities to stay active.

Some communities have in-house medical staff, while others have close access to a medical team off-site. Whether a retirement community has doctors on campus or it partners with a clinic where it can easily take residents, having the ability to meet the medical needs of the retirees is a sign of a good community.

“If (a community doesn’t) have a department that’s dedicated to the health and wellness of the residents it’s probably not going to be as robust at that place as it would be at another community that has those positions in place,” says Ornberg. “In doing research it’s important to know that your community has access to great health care.”

Finding a retirement community that is dedicated to helping its residents age healthily can make all the difference in whether someone thrives in their later years.

For more information on how a retirement community could help you or your loved one, visit www.summitatmagnoliagreen.com.