What Is the Best Age to Live in a Retirement Community?
The average age of senior living residents is 84 with the majority of moves happening between ages 75 and 85. These numbers may begin shifting as younger seniors move into retirement communities for the lifestyle it offers.
“The right age to live in a retirement community really depends upon the individuality of the future resident,” said Mark Campbell, regional director of sales for Holiday Retirement. Campbell says he’s found that younger, more active residents often gravitate to the convenience of independent living, and how it makes recreation and travel so much easier. “These same residents almost always take advantage of our travel program,” he said.
On the flip side, older residents who sometimes need a little additional support, may choose independent living for amenities like daily chef-prepared meals, housekeeping, and social activities with other residents like themselves. “These seniors also find comfort in the support of our personal or healthcare partners, as well as the convenience and security of our mobile safety pendants,” said Campbell.
When Should You Move to a Retirement Community?
There’s no “best age” or “right age” to live in a senior living community. With life expectancy on the rise, retirement communities are no longer considered a place where you go to live a quiet, mundane existence later in life. Today, most independent living communities accept residents as young as 55, which means many people enjoy several happy decades in a retirement community.
A survey of 2,799 senior living residents and 1,111 non-residents found those that lived in a retirement community:
Enjoyed life more.
Stayed healthier longer.
Felt more safe and secure.
Were more active.
Had less feelings of loneliness.
Ages of Holiday Retirement residents skew a little younger than the national average. The average age of residents falls around 81 years, but we have many younger seniors, especially as of recent. “I agree that on paper, the mid-80’s has been the typical age of residents moving into our communities,” says Todd Dickerson, field sales manager. “Over the past 90 days, I’m seeing an influx of new residents in their mid to late 70’s as well as mid 60’s.” This could be due to the spotlight COVID-19 has put on the negative impact a lack of socialization and support can have on seniors with so many older adults having to isolate in their houses for months.
Why Younger Seniors Are Moving Into Retirement Communities
Some older adults move into retirement communities based on a need. They may have had a bad fall or other incident that’s brought up concerns about them living alone. A growing number of seniors are choosing to move into independent living communities for the simplified lifestyle it offers. Leaving the cooking, cleaning, and maintenance to someone else, frees them up to spend time on hobbies and socializing.
Senior Housing News reports that the top reasons for moving into a retirement community include:
Life is more enjoyable when shared with others. Having a supportive network of friends doesn’t just feel good, it’s a critical component of well-being in older age. Research links loneliness and social isolation to a number of emotional and physical issues in seniors, such as:
Mental health issues
Many retirement community residents enjoy having the best of both worlds -- a private apartment for “me time,” and a supportive community of friends right outside their door. A slate of daily activities can provide structure and opportunities for socializing when desired.
Maintenance and Upkeep
The daily and seasonal upkeep of a home takes a lot of time and energy. Whether you’re handling repairs yourself or doing the legwork to find a professional, it can feel like a hassle. Even seniors that are quite capable of taking care of cleaning, repairs, and upkeep are choosing to move into an independent living community, so they can leave those chores to someone else.
Home maintenance can also be pricey. Americans pay an average of $10,000 a year on repairs, insurance, taxes, and other homeownership costs. If the washer goes, the roof needs replacing, or the walkway needs shoveling, senior living residents know it will be taken care of.
Older adults are at higher risk for multiple falls, cognitive decline, and medical conditions. Some people move into retirement communities because they’ve already experienced some of these issues. No longer driving due to vision or functional issues can also influence this decision. An independent living community provides safety in numbers and also allows residents to use home health aides for personal care needs.
Other seniors move into a retirement community before they begin experiencing age-related conditions. They want peace of mind knowing that they’re already in a safe, supportive environment should they encounter these challenges.
Peace of Mind
One perk of senior living is the built-in community of neighbors and staff who can help in challenging times and emergencies. Aging often brings more wisdom, optimism, confidence, and joy, but it can also put you at risk for some negative situations. If you live alone and you’re older than age 65, you’re at greater risk for falls, memory issues, and difficulty with daily activities.
Senior living communities like Holiday Retirement offer security measures like:
Personal emergency devices that get help with a touch of a button in urgent situations.
Emergency preparedness plans for severe weather and other natural disasters.
Architectural design and furniture placement that allows for ease of use and helps prevent falls.
Telehealth medical appointments to mitigate exposure to germs in a physician’s office.
Studies show that people who have healthy eating habits, spend an average of two hours a day on food preparation and cooking. That adds up to 14 hours a week and doesn’t account for time spent grocery shopping and cleaning up after meals. Many older adults are happy to take back those hours, and spend them in areas that give them more enjoyment. Having meals planned by chefs and dieticians also ensures your diet is varied and well-balanced.
Some older adults move to senior living communities out of encouragement from their loved ones. Children of aging adults often worry about the health and safety of their parents, especially if they live alone or in another city. Choosing the right retirement community can be a decision that loved ones make together.
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