Leading an active life: Your questions answered about retirement living

“I want to stay active in my retirement years.” It’s a goal that many of us strive for as we age. Keeping mentally and physically fit, continuing to do the things we love, and staying connected to friends and family all contribute to active and fulfilling retirement years.

The wonderful thing about retirement is that we now have the time and the opportunity to pursue an active lifestyle; the downside is that some aspects of life can get in the way. Mobility challenges in a house with several flights of stairs, unease with driving, and even daily errands like grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, snow clean-up or general home maintenance can all get in the way of spending our time exactly how we’d choose.

More and more, older adults dedicated to an active lifestyle are considering retirement residences as a way not just to maintain their quality of life, but to actually improve it.

A 2016 survey on seniors’ quality of life comparing those older adults living in retirement communities with those searching for one found that 70 per cent of current residents experienced an overall better quality of life than those not yet living in a retirement community. This included factors such as social well-being and nutrition.

But what does active living in a retirement residence look like? Here are three common myths addressed:

I love being active and enjoy many hobbies, but I’m not always keen to join in. I don’t want to feel like I have to participate in activities at the retirement community that I don’t like.

Today’s residences are not the old age homes of years past. There are numerous activities available—from book clubs to bocce ball—but the choice to participate is completely up to you. Many people choose to adopt their typical schedules while living in a retirement community—think singing in a choir at their local church, volunteering, or weekly lunch dates with friends—but also discover new pastimes in their new home due to such a large offering of classes, leisure opportunities and socials. You choose how you want to spend your days!

Staying connected to my friends and family makes me happy, and I feel like I belong in my community. I’m worried about losing my old life if I move to a seniors’ residence.

Interestingly, many people find a move to a retirement residence strengthens bonds with their friends and family. Not worrying about chores, meals, safety and transportation issues frees up time and energy for you and your loved ones to spend your visits socializing, rather than running errands. The other benefit is that you may find your social life expand when you move in. It’s easy to forge friendships when you are focused on a new hobby or enjoying a meal among peers.

I’m worried I’ll lose my feeling of independence in a retirement residence.

Some seniors don’t consider moving to a retirement residence until something occurs that makes the change necessarily, such as a health issue. But today’s residences are designed not just to accommodate those individuals who may need some support with their daily routine, but also for people who simply desire a lifestyle centred on convenience and a sense of community.

Many residents choose an independent lifestyle because it provides them access to meals, activities and 24-hour security. There’s peace of mind knowing someone is always around to help. Others may add to this wellness services like medication monitoring and administration, among many others. The take-away is that regardless of your current stage in life, support options are there if and when you need them, and needing them does not diminish your independence, but supports it. The services and support in a retirement residence setting helps many to enjoy their best life—active and fulfilled.

To learn more about the benefits of living in a Chartwell residence for yourself or a loved one, call 1-855-461-0685 today to speak to a Chartwell representative.