Discover 7 Winter Benefits of Retirement Home Living
Battling the elements of winter can be challenging and isolating for many seniors, creating barriers to participation in social and physical activities and potential risks to health. Moving to a retirement community now can provide an older adult with a warm, welcoming and engaging atmosphere, and a safe, comfortable haven from the hassles and hazards of winter.
Here are some key benefits to a winter move:
Beat the winter blues.
Depression associated with social isolation and loneliness is common among older adults in the cold winter months, according to McMaster University.* Seniors living in a retirement residence have many opportunities for social companionship and forming new friendships and acquaintances with people of a similar age. Moving into retirement living can help to prevent or overcome the winter blues, since the evidence shows social connection is the strongest protective factor against depression, reported a 2020 study in The American Journal of Psychiatry.*
Safeguard against icy slips and falls.
Snow-covered and icy sidewalks and stairs are particularly hazardous for seniors with balance or mobility challenges, and falls on ice are the leading cause of winter injuries, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.* Seniors living in a retirement residence don’t have to deal with icy walking or driving conditions to shop for groceries or other errands, and outdoor walking paths are well-maintained through the winter months.
Protect against cold weather health risks.
Older adults lose body heat faster and a big chill can quickly turn into dangerous hypothermia, according to the National Institute on Aging.* Seniors are especially at risk when winter storms and power outages hit through exposure to freezing temperatures, or possible stumbles in the dark. Living in a retirement community you have peace of mind that in inclement weather there is always someone with you, an abundance of food and other supplies, as well as helpful staff who can clear up snow after a storm.
Keep mentally and physically active.
Freezing temperatures, snow and ice can make it difficult for older adults to participate in many scheduled activities in the community. Retirement residences offer many engaging activities, from dancing, yoga, and book clubs to game nights, wine-tasting classes and live music.
Enjoy fresh ingredients at your fingertips.
About one-third of older Canadians are at risk of poor nutrition and winter can make it difficult to visit grocery stores regularly and access fresh ingredients, according to McMaster University.* Retirement living offers older adults a wide range of tasty, nutritious, and balanced meals that can be enjoyed while dining with friends.
No snow shoveling or winter home maintenance.
Winter brings with it the added responsibilities, risks and costs of dealing with furnace maintenance and potential frozen pipes, shoveling driveways and walkways, and keeping decks and eavestroughs clear of ice and winter debris.
Access to transportation services.
Many residences have their own shuttle buses for medical appointments and outings, so you don’t have to drive yourself or ask someone to take you in poor weather conditions.
*The following sources provide references for this blog, in order of appearance:
- McMaster University. “Winter health risks for older adults.” (2017), online: https://www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org/blog/detail/hitting-the-headlines/2017/01/21/winter-health-risks-for-older-adults
- The American Journal of Psychiatry. “Social connection is the strongest protective factor for depression.” (2020), online: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200814131007.html
- The Canadian Press. “Latest Canadian statistics on slips and falls on ice.” (2019), online: https://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/claims/latest-canadian-statistics-on-slips-and-falls-on-ice-1004160258/
- National Institute on Aging. “Cold weather safety for older adults.” (2018), online: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/cold-weather-safety-older-adults
- McMaster University. “Supporting seniors at higher risk of poor nutrition.” (2016), online: https://www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org/blog/detail/blog/2016/03/10/supporting-seniors-at-higher-risk-of-poor-nutrition