How Moving to Senior Independent Living Early Can Prevent a Crisis
As a parent or loved one ages, a bad fall or a crisis may seem inevitable. In fact, every 11 seconds, a senior is admitted to the emergency room due to a fall-related injury, and every 19 minutes a senior dies due to a fall-related injury. And, according to the World Health Organization, “in the United States of America, 20–30% of older people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as bruises, hip fractures, or head trauma.” These are major risks you don’t want your parents to take with their health.
Talking with your senior loved one about moving to senior independent living before an injury occurs is a great way to maintain their health and prevent a crisis. In many cases, seniors can move into an “assisted living” community and live with complete independence. Then, as their needs change, they have access to the care and assistance they need.
So, how do independent living and assisted living differ? Seniors who live in an assisted living community may need a little support with daily activities like cleaning or preparing food. Additional care services are also available for seniors that extra assistance with tasks like bathing or medicine management.
Seniors in independent living communities stay in their own apartment or condominiums and have access to care when the need arises. Independent living offers seniors a safe living environment with minimal assistance. They benefit from hospitality services, like daily meals, which may or may not be included in their rent.
Explore a few ways that moving into senior independent living early can benefit your parent or senior loved one.
Is staying in your family home really the best option for your aging loved one?
Health and Wellness
For your senior loved one, managing their own health and wellness can be a challenge, especially if they live at home alone. But, when they move to a senior independent living community, they have access to all new opportunities for maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle.
First, seniors have access to community dining services. For many seniors, preparing meals for just themself or themself and a spouse can feel like a lot of work, especially if your loved one has health problems, like diabetes, that require them to follow a strict diet.
However, when they’re living in a senior independent living community, your parent has access to prepared meals and community dining. The cost for three nutritional meals a day may or may not be included in the cost of rent, so make sure to talk to the communities you're considering about what they provide.
Senior independent living communities also provide fitness opportunities that your parents otherwise might not have access to if they’re living in their own home. These communities often have fitness classes available for residents to participate in. Not only are these classes a great way to stay active, they’re also a great way to get to know the fellow residents. Classes like water aerobics or yoga promote physical wellness and can help your parent increase their mobility. They also are mentally stimulating and fun!
These dietary and exercise opportunities can be seen as preventative measures to help your parent stay healthy. When they’re active with high mobility, they’re less likely to be injured in a fall.
Safety and Security
For a senior, living alone can be worrisome, both for them and the family members who care about them. One advantage of moving into a senior independent living community is the safety that comes with staying in a well-monitored and well-protected environment.
Living alone as a senior can be a little unnerving. As you look for independent living spaces, you should ask about the security services each community offers. Many will have staff members on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with security personnel actively checking and monitoring the community.
In addition to security, senior living communities also offer safe environments in terms of injury prevention. Many homes, especially older homes, were not designed to be handicap friendly. So, as you become less mobile, there’s greater opportunity to fall or injure yourself. Instead of renovating an entire home to be safe for a senior, they could just move into a community built specifically for that purpose.
When your parent lives in a senior independent living community, the chance of injury decreases. These communities are designed to minimize risk and and prevent falls. Also with an easily accessible staff, there’s always someone available to help if an emergency does occur. Your parent will worry less and so will you!
One of the biggest draws for independent living communities is the chance for socialization. Living at home can be lonely, especially if your parent is driving less. But, when they move into a senior independent living community, seniors have more chances to socialize and have fun than ever before.
These communities offer activities every day, like book or gardening clubs, movie nights, game nights, and more. Some communities even offer transportation services to take seniors on outings to museums, shopping malls, or other attractions. Your parent will always have something to do when they move to senior independent living!
It’s also good for your parent’s mental health. One study shows that seniors who have high loneliness scores are more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than other seniors. Socialization is good for both their cognitive health and their emotional well being. Talking with their friends often and having activities will help them thrive in a new environment.
Moving into senior independent living is sure to start an exciting new season of your parent’s life. And ultimately, it makes it easier to transition from independent to assisted living if their care need progress. While it may be difficult to leave a home that they have loved, it’s in their best interest physically and emotionally. And, it offers their family members peace of mind that each day is a safe and happy one.
Learn about the differences between life at home vs. life in a senior independent living community. Download this free guide for more insight.
About Chelsea Sayegh
I started working as a Marketing Coordinator for United Methodist Homes in October of 2016. I work on public relations, website management and community planning for their award winning independent and assisted living communities. As a graduate of Ursinus College with a degree in Media and Communications and a passion for serving nonprofits, United Methodist Homes has become my home away from home. I spend my days working in a community filled with smiling faces, helpful hands and wonderful residents. I have a passion for assisting seniors and take great pride in being able to promote a company with such a positive mission and values. As an individual committed to learning and growing, I have jumped right into this exciting career!
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.