3 Ways Senior Living Facilities Encourage Independence

Health & Medical Articles

What is your greatest fear? Although you might lose sleep over that missed promotion or health scare, research has shown that your elderly parent might fear losing their independence more than death. Fortunately, independent living facilities can give your mom or dad the help they need without making them feel inferior. Here are three ways senior living facilities encourage independence, so that your parent can live a fuller life:

1: Helping When Seniors Need It, Not When They Don't

Unlike nursing homes, which tend to feel a little institutional, independent living facilities typically contain either freestanding homes or apartments where seniors can have their own space. Instead of being watched over and smothered, your parent can enjoy their place and get together with friends when they want to. However, if they need a little assistance, independent living employees are there to help with tasks like:

  • Shopping: If it is hard for your parent to haul heavy bags of potatoes or washing machine detergent into the car, an employee can tag along to help.  
  • Transportation: Are you worried about your parent driving? Retirement communities have charter buses that can take your loved one wherever they need to go.
  • Medical Care: When you live in an independent living facility, there is no need to find a ride to the doctor's office. On-site doctors and nurses can examine your parent in their own home and refill prescriptions.

The best part about living in a retirement community is that this type of care is available when your parent needs it, and service can always be refused. If your mom or dad feels like taking a nap instead of embarking on the community grocery store trip, they can.

2: Encouraging Healthy Habits

When seniors focus on their health, they can avoid a slew of medical complications and stay independent. In fact, remaining fit has been found to limit osteoporosis, decrease depression rates, improve joint flexibility, and even reduce slip and fall risks. Because of these benefits, retirement communities encourage healthy habits by offering fun and helpful activities, such as:

  • Dances: Some retirement communities host group dances to get people moving and to show their residents a good time.   
  • Nutritionist Consultations: To keep your parent eating well, on-site nutritionists are available to help with meal planning and goal tracking. 
  • Swimming: Low-impact activities like swimming and water aerobics can help people with arthritis and brittle bones to maintain strength and flexibility.  

Because your parent's mental health is important too, many independent living facilities have on-site therapists for residents to talk with when they need a pick-me-up. You might not always be available to check in on your mom or dad, but with the help of an independent living facility, you can keep your parent healthy and happy.

3: Hosting Social Gatherings

Believe it or not, having friends is important for your parent's continued independence. In fact, studies have shown that people with large networks of friends live longer than people who don't interact much with other people. Some researchers suspect that friends discourage bad habits like overeating or drinking, which can shorten people's lives. Independent health facilities encourage friendships by offering activities like:

  • Classic Movie Nights: Movie nights can help your parent to relive the good old days without boring their grandchildren to tears.
  • Holiday Dinners: Holidays can be lonely for seniors, especially if they don't have a lot of family around. However, independent living facilities typically have large banquet halls so residents can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas morning with their friends. 
  • Continuing Education Classes: To keep your mom or dad on their toes, some retirement communities even host continuing education classes. In a few hours, your parent might be able to learn more about topics like woodworking, literature, or even computers.   

By encouraging your parent to live in an independent living facility, you might be able to help them to stay healthier and enjoy their life as a senior citizen. 


13 March 2015

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