Senior Living Communities Are Worth a Second Look

In the course of my workday, I hear many reasons why seniors are reluctant to explore senior living communities. A belief that there are too many sacrifices to be made - freedom, independence, living space – stop many people from taking a look. The reality is that today's senior communities can provide a very comfortable living environment, peace of mind, and support an active way of life.  Additional services provided can actually enhance one’s independence.  And senior communities are more affordable than most folks realize.

Objection #1:  If I move from my house to a retirement community, I am giving up my independence. 

Social4_DSC0477.jpgA home can be a very powerful symbol of independence. Home ownership comes with many responsibilities that as we age, can become more of a burden. A home, which once was a labor of love, can become just a labor.  Instead of being a symbol of independence, managing a home - shoveling the snow, mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, walking up and down the stairs to do the laundry - can add considerable strain.  And here in Wisconsin, more people stay inside for extended periods of time during the winter months because they don't like the cold or driving or walking on snow and ice. Most seniors don’t find themselves giving up their independence over night, but rather it’s a little something here and another adjustment there.  One day they pause to reflect and find that their life has been altered more than they realized. 

I had the pleasure of working with a woman who admitted she'd given up singing in her church choir because they practiced during the evening hours and she no longer drove at night.  Another senior said that her bridge club disbanded because one of the players had been ill for an extensive period of time. Many seniors, when they move to a senior living community, gain back independence.  That weekly card game can still be held because there is always a pick-up player ready to get involved.  Now that choir practice is held at the community, transportation is no longer an issue. Seniors can enjoy their independence to the fullest within a community setting, because there are more things readily accessible to them. Providing a more convenient, easier way of life full of social opportunities are some of the many benefits of senior community living.  All the time that used to be invested in household chores can be spent enjoying all the activities one loves. 

Objection #2:  Living in an apartment means that I need to give up so much living space.

I spend quite a bit of time talking with families about living situations and transitions. Now that the children are grown and moved out of the house, many seniors admit that much of the space in their home doesn't get lived in. Today's senior living communities offer a variety of styles and sizes of apartments to meet the desires of older adults - from studios up to spacious two bedrooms with two baths. Additional community space, fitness rooms, lounge areas, activity rooms and dining areas offer more space to meet with friends and families.

Objection #3: Retirement Communities are too expensive.  

Even if a senior is living in a home where the mortgage is paid off, there are significant costs associated with living in your own home.  Repairs, upkeep, utilities and property taxes all need to be considered. Comparing the costs of staying to renting is a good exercise for families. There are affordable options and available services in senior communities. Your costs will depend on the size of apartment and the services you need. In exchange you have access to things such as 24-hour staffing for emergency response, transportation that is provided for shopping and other outings, and a full-time activities program all included in the monthly rent. While some senior communities do require an entrance fee, not all do. Laureate Group communities do not require any endowment fees, just an affordable monthly payment.

For many seniors, the benefits of peace of mind, an active lifestyle and easily accessible services result in freedom from worry and independence from home ownership responsibilities. The right setting can provide an exciting opportunity to really start enjoying retirement years to the fullest.