The choice to move to senior living can be difficult and emotionally charged. Most people understandably prefer to stay at home as long as possible. But, what I have learned through the years is that many folks who could benefit from a senior living community wait too long before making the decision. In fact, I have heard many residents say they wish they had made the move sooner. Here are the top 5 ways that a move to senior living can improve health and well-being.
- Safety and Security. The first and perhaps one of the most common reasons for seeking senior living is safety and security. And indeed, that is a big benefit. But there are others, some of which may be unanticipated.
- Social contact. Many older adults who are living alone have too little socialization. Almost all of us have heard the research on the importance of having daily social contact. Seniors who live in isolation are at greater risk for a number of health conditions and even of dying. But, I think few people realize how much better they will feel both physically and emotionally when adequate social contact is restored. Like a wilted plant that is given water, many seniors blossom as a result of living with others in a community setting.
- Improved nutrition. Poor nutrition is associated with social isolation. Eating is a social time for most of us. When a person lives alone, there can be a lack of motivation to eat and to prepare balanced, nutritious meals. Many older folks who live alone exist on packaged prepared foods that lack good nutrition. Living in a place where nutritious food is readily available and is enjoyed in the company of others makes a big contribution to well-being.
- Finding new purpose. Many older adults have experienced a loss of purpose, whether because of declining health or changing roles in life. Loss of purpose is one of the things that some people believe to be an expectation of growing older. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many older people who move into a community setting are surprised by the new purpose they find. Research studies have shown that those who have a higher sense of purpose have lower rates of dementia and other chronic health conditions.
- Better access to health care services. Almost all senior living communities have some level of health care services. These can include a wellness nurse, visiting physician and/or nurse practitioner, therapy services, and daily wellness checks. This can mean that any changes in health will be noticed and addresses sooner, hopefully avoiding a serious problem and/or a hospital visit.
So, if you or a loved one is considering a move to senior living, think about the many benefits that truly outweigh the difficulty of making such a move. Many people before you have done it and are thriving as a result.
Be Well on Purpose!