The senior living industry is no longer in its infancy. Senior living communities across the United States have become long-term establishments, which means that the services they offer have evolved.
Gone are the days where families and seniors needed to ensure that the basic health necessities (like an emergency call bell, access to a doctor or nurse and on-site pharmacy) were included in the communities they considered. Health related services like these are now standard in most senior living communities. Learn more about healthcare and hospitality services offered to residents in senior living communities today.
More Choices for Residents in Senior Living Today
The senior living industry has evolved past basic health offerings and offers more choices for residents today. Now, complex health services are commonly included in most senior communities.
Although it was once rare to find assisted and independent living communities that offered complex health services like memory care, these communities are now commonly found. The majority of senior living communities today are equipped to support specific health issues, like:
- Seniors with hearing, speech or vision impairments
- Seniors with declining memory, mobility issues and those who require specialized nutritional requirements
These changes mean greater choice and support for seniors. However, it also means that families need to re-think how they are choosing senior living communities. With most communities offering the basic and complex health care needed, seniors should be considering a more holistic approach to choosing the community that is right for them – focusing on the overall lifestyle choices offered and considering how the community will support the senior’s quality of life.
Senior Living Communities Offering a Home and a Lifestyle
Health and finances have been, to date, two of the largest factors for families choosing a senior living community. Granted, these are important considerations. However, these are only two of the many factors that affect a person’s quality of life, which is a measure of a person’s emotional, mental and physical well-being.
Senior living communities across the country understand that providing seniors with a high quality of life is more involved than simply ensuring their basic health needs are met. The lifestyle that a senior community offers will impact the quality of life of their residents.
Dan Willis, Senior Vice President of Partner Services with A Place for Mom, explains that communities are placing “more of an emphasis on lifestyle and specific lifestyles” now that physical demands are well met.
According to Willis, senior living communities are now differentiating and expanding to address the unique needs of their seniors through niche lifestyle options.
Seniors can now find communities with lifestyle programming specific to men’s interests, women’s interests and even those geared to chefs, gardening enthusiast, retired university professors and sports fans, to name a few examples. “When you get to a niche community you often find that it’s taken off because they offered a great program geared towards their residents’ interests,” Willis says.
Quality of Life Linked to Seniors Aging Well
A Pew Research report found that for many Americans, views on aging are closely linked with quality of life issues. Although the factors affecting quality of life are subjective and vary from one individual to the next, according to Dr. Richard W. Besdine, “Quality of life has multiple dimensions, including:
- Absence of distressing physical symptoms (eg, pain, dyspnea, nausea, constipation)
- Emotional well-being (eg, happiness, absence of anxiety)
- Functional status (eg, capacity to do activities of daily living and higher-order functions, such as pleasurable activities)
- Participation in and enjoyment of social activities
- Quality of close interpersonal relationships
- Satisfaction with medical and financial aspects of health treatments
- Sexuality, body image, and intimacy.”
Factors affecting quality of life, like interpersonal relationships, pleasurable and social activities, and sexuality, revolve around a person’s lifestyle. It’s no surprise then to see that retirement communities like Five Star Senior Living are offering programs like Lifestyle 360, which focuses on meeting senior’s emotional, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual needs through lifestyle-specific programming.
So, if you’re searching for the best senior living community for yourself or a loved one, consider what quality of life means to you and examine the lifestyle options of each community with this in mind.
You might just find that the senior community that offers a lifestyle that is most closely aligned to your own personal preferences will provide you with a higher quality of life.
What is most important to you and your family when considering a senior living community? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.