LIFE BEGINS IN A RETIREMENT COMMUNITY
By Lorie Aldridge
Mrs. Smith did not know that the call she was going to make to a retirement community this morning was going to completely transform her overall health and well-being. She is a very active lady that lives alone in a large home that she and her deceased husband have lived in for over 40 years. There are many memories and a lot of “stuff” that has accumulated over the years. Memories and stuff make the thoughts of a move at her age daunting and impossible. Mrs. Smith has three children that live in various locations throughout the United States with very rewarding careers and children of their own. She knows that she just can’t call on her children at the drop of a hat to come and help her with home maintenance and daily care if she were to ever need it. Mrs. Smith loves her home but knows that the responsibilities of maintaining her home are becoming overwhelming both physically and financially.
Mrs. Smith reached out to Jane, a sales counselor at a retirement community near her home. She was hesitant at first due to the stigma of retirement communities only being for “old people.” She got an appointment right away and toured the community. She was very surprised to learn that a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) would take care of her during all stages of her retirement years. The continuum is peace of mind not only for herself but for her children that live out of town as well. She knows that entering the retirement community now will enable her to enjoy active senior living at its best. Jane shared with her the many aspects of holistic wellness starting with emotional and social wellness. Being in a retirement community means that she will make many friends that she can interact with as often as she would like daily and never feel that terrible sense of being lonely. Spiritual wellness is also important to Mrs. Smith. If she can no longer drive she knows that there is a chapel and a chaplain at the retirement community that she can access at any time and enjoy church services, bible study and choir. Physical wellness is very important to Mrs. Smith. Her doctor wants her to exercise daily for her overall health. Classes such as yoga, aerobics, balance classes and water aerobics will be easy to get to every day in the community. She is happy that she won’t have to drive to go to the classes every day. Mrs. Smith also has a desire for higher learning. The community offers classes from local universities and lecturers from the community on a regular basis. The beauty and security of the campus means that she can go for walks without fear and enjoy nature and complete relaxation. Traveling with friends to many destinations excited her as she had been afraid to travel alone. Opportunities were bountiful for her at the retirement community.
Mrs. Smith did not want to think about the possibility of needing support services as she ages in place. Talking about it is hard but she preferred to make the decision as to where she would like to be someday if she ever needed the higher level of care. She did not want to place that burden on her children. She was happy to know that there were home health services, assisted living, and nursing/rehab if she were to ever need the services someday. All of these services also offered a holistic wellness approach that would enable her to continue her daily activities with assistance.
Mrs. Smith was amazed that the cost of living in the retirement community was very reasonable and would save her money in the long run due to the rising costs of maintaining her home. She would be living home maintenance free and stress free. She will be able to enjoy life without the burdens of her large home. She was very happy and excited to reserve a residence at the community and begin her new life.
Six months has passed and Mrs. Smith now has more friends to interact with than she can imagine. She is taking advantage of everything the community has to offer. Her family and doctors were amazed at how her overall health and well-being has improved. That call to a retirement community can open doors to a new beginning and beautiful retirement life. Life Begins in a Retirement Community.