Senior living is adapting to a new cohort and new cultural expectations around age. As a much bigger demographic ages into retirement with longer life expectancies and different cultural and lifestyle desires, senior homes are changing.
Design, technology, and connectivity are all important changes in senior living options, but it’s important not to lose sight of some of the basics of a high quality of living. Older adults expect modern senior homes to help them lead healthy, independent, and active lives. That means providing walkable environments, social lifestyles, and plenty of opportunities for physical fitness.
Walkable and Active Lifestyles
One of the top qualities seniors look for today are walkable neighborhoods that allow them to live independently and actively. As you age, you may want to rethink how much you depend on your car. Living in a place that’s built for and around cars can be socially isolating for all demographics, as they make it harder to meet new people and make meaningful connections.
The place you live can also make it harder to adjust to life without a car. The fatality rates for drivers in road accidents increases dramatically among drivers over the age of 80, and seniors need to plan for a time when they are no longer able to depend on their vehicle.
Living in a walkable neighborhood with access to shops, medical offices, and other services close by is one of the most effective ways to keep your independence intact after giving up driving.
A Social Lifestyle
Staying social is another priority many seniors have when they consider their senior living options. Social connections keep older adults healthy, but it can be difficult to maintain those connections made earlier in life as friends and family move to other parts of the country or pass away.
Keeping socially active and connected has a ton of health benefits. New studies show a connection between social activity (and lack thereof) and cognitive decline. Rates of cognitive decline are 70% lower among seniors with frequent social contact compared to those with low social activity. Socializing extends your mental and physical ability to live independently.
Senior living options can foster a social lifestyle through rich activity planning and events, including more opportunities to make intergenerational connections.
An active social life has clear cut benefits, and combined with a physically active lifestyle, it’s a recipe for helping seniors maintain a higher overall quality of life throughout their retirement years into older adulthood.
Modern senior homes have a big role to play when it comes to creating an active environment. First, there are the amenities to look for. A swimming pool is an obvious one. AquaFit and other water-based fitness exercises are popular with seniors because the water reduces the impact of the activity. Great places to walk on or off the grounds are another must-have amenity. Look for shaded walking paths and pleasant parks. Walking is one of the best ways for seniors to get a cardio workout and work on their muscle strength.
A new style of senior living is changing the way modern senior homes work. Research your local options and decide what’s a good fit for you.