Senior Living: Stay Where You Are or Embrace Change?
Change can be good, but it can be hard. You can say goodbye to the heavy lifting – yard work, home maintenance, and repairs, etc. And now that the nest is empty, you can comfortably downsize. But you’re also saying goodbye to a home that may have served as your family’s headquarters for years. You can feel the tug on your heartstrings just thinking about it, can’t you? On the other hand, you’ve undoubtedly moved before – perhaps multiple times.
Moving to a senior living community is no different. Your favorite furnishings and treasures and every single one of your memories moves with you. Besides, you’re optimistic! You know good things are ahead.
At The Lodge, we have faith that you will find a community you love. Faith is fundamental for us because as part of the Magnolia Manor family of senior living communities, we are faith-based and dedicated to helping every resident enrich their physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.
You’re already taking a step in the right direction, by learning everything you can about what’s available. As you move through that process, please know that our professional team at The Lodge is always happy to answer your questions and share our own insights about independent senior living.
Getting Help to Remain in Your Home
According to AARP, nearly 90% of people age 65+ say they want to age in place – to remain in their home community as long as possible. Almost that many (80%) think they will be able to do that. However, AARP says most will eventually need some type of accommodation and/or assistance to stay at home. The majority of younger, not-yet-senior adults also say they want to age in place.
Thank heavens the old days are over! Getting older no longer means you have to move to a “home” when you start to need help getting around or getting everything done. In fact, so many people are now focused on aging in place, an entire industry has grown up to help you do that.
You may have the financial resources to hire out work you no longer want to do, or can do, on your own. You can hand off the heavy-lifting tasks such as home maintenance and yard work. You may have had a housekeeper for years, or perhaps now sounds like a good time to hand off that work too. However, those costs can add up fast, and not everyone can afford professional help.
There is also a big difference between hiring outside help because you don’t want to do something like mowing or housework, and needing help to handle basic tasks or “activities of daily living,” or ADLs. Ability to handle ADLs on your own defines independence. These activities include:
- Remembering to take prescribed medication, and taking it correctly
- Personal hygiene and grooming
- Functional mobility
- Bathing, toileting, and incontinence
- Appropriate financial management, including paying bills on time
- Using the phone
Those who are around you most often may notice over time that you could use a bit of help with some of these things. So a family member, neighbor, or friend may offer to help you out with cleaning or cooking. They may drive you to the store or a doctor’s appointment. They may even offer to assist with personal tasks such as bathing or dressing.
These offers may come from the heart, but it can be very difficult indeed to accept them. No one wants to admit they need help, and most of us don’t want to inconvenience others. However, accepting help allows you to age in place, at least for a while longer. You don’t have to rely on friends and family, you can look to home health caregiving services, Meals on Wheels, and other entities for help with daily living tasks, transportation, and so on.
Keeping Couples Together
These services can be especially beneficial if only one spouse needs assistance. You can remain together as a couple in your own home without the healthier spouse becoming overworked and overwhelmed trying to care for the other. Nonetheless, just as with maintaining your home and yard, the costs of in-home care will add up. Significantly.
Consider the Financial Benefits
Medicare, Medicaid, and some types of insurance will help pay for these services. But you’re on your own when it comes to ongoing home and yard maintenance and major repairs. That can be worrisome as well as costly. Are you spending funds that will be needed later on to pay for advanced care if you or your spouse needs it? Are you spending money you could leave instead to your children or grandchildren or your favorite charity?
Give Yourself the Best Quality of Life
The truth is, where you decide to age in place can make a big difference in your quality of life.
What can living independently in a “senior setting” do for you?
Moving to a senior-focused community provides benefits no matter who you are:
- Couples – You’re not only active and independent, you still have your best-friend! Senior independent living offers all the things you love to do together, but it also provides opportunities to pursue your individuality.
- Singles – You have your own private residence for when you want to be alone, but it’s much easier to avoid becoming isolated, physically or emotionally, in a senior community. Interacting with others is crucial. Studies have shown that seniors who live alone are more likely to feel left out, becoming depressed and developing health problems. That’s even more true if you have physical mobility issues or if you can no longer drive. If you’re hesitant to ask for help around the house or with personal care, you’re equally likely to avoid “imposing” on others for companionship.
- Just one spouse – You love each other, so it’s only natural that you support one another in every way. But when one spouse needs more care than the other can realistically provide, separation becomes inevitable. Sometimes, it’s possible to move to assisted living as a couple, but not always. A senior community that offers multiple levels of care can meet needs of both spouses, with one moving into an assisted living or memory care unit and the other moving into a nearby independent residence. This proximity allows a couple to stay close and provides peace of mind knowing that the spouse can get the care they need.
The Lodge in Columbus, GA includes a full continuum of care — independent residences, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation are all onsite, so you never have to leave the community even if your care needs change.
The Lodge is not just a place to live, but a community that will both comfort and inspire you to stay active and independent in the ways that matter most to you, among friends.
Don’t Wait Until You Need Formalized Assistance
Most seniors will eventually require some type of assistance. Then you’ll need the services of an assisted living or memory care community. But there’s no reason to wait until then to make your move. With all the benefits afforded by quality senior living communities, why not take advantage now and make the most of every moment while you’re still healthy and active, physically and mentally?
Most of us have a list of things we’ve always said we would do when we retire. You don’t even have to be officially retired to move to a retirement community (though most do have a minimum age requirement. At The Lodge, that’s 62.) Downsize now and you can replace tiring, time-consuming household drudgery with a new to-do list filled with things that are interesting, fulfilling and just plain fun.
It will take some research and planning to find exactly the right place. But giving yourself time to do that will also give you time to prepare mentally for your new home and independent lifestyle. When it’s time to make your move, you’ll be excited to make new friends, confident you made the right choice.