7 reasons to move into a retirement community before winter

Excerpt: Moving into a retirement residence before winter offers many appealing advantages. You get easy access to diverse recreational activities that will keep you mentally, physically, and socially active, regardless of the weather, along with tasty, nutritious meals. You also can avoid winter weather health hazards, the hassles of winter home maintenance, and beat the winter blues by forming new friendships and strengthening your social connections.

As clocks turn backward to standard time in early November across much of Canada, it’s a reminder that winter is on the way. If you’re considering a move to a retirement community, settling into a retirement residence before winter offers many advantages:

  1. Keep mentally, physically, and socially active. When you live in a retirement community, each day you have access to a wide range of engaging recreational activities with peers that stimulate mind and body, regardless of the weather. Retirement communities offer many enriching activities ranging from dance, yoga, tai chi, music and book clubs to art programs, game nights and wine-tasting classes.
  2. Protect against winter weather hazards and risks. Winter weather brings slippery roads and sidewalks that can dramatically increase the risk of falls for seniors, which can have severe consequences for their health,* advises McMaster University. Older adults are also at higher risk of hypothermia and frostbite,* says the American Geriatrics Society. Seniors living in a retirement residence don’t have to deal with icy sidewalks, stairs or driving conditions, or winter storms and frigid temperatures outdoors to shop for groceries or do other errands. Outdoor paths are also well-maintained and safe for walking during winter months.
  3. Beat the winter blues. Depression associated with social isolation and loneliness is common during the colder, darker months.* Seniors living in a retirement residence have many opportunities for social companionship and forming new friendships with peers. Moving into a retirement residence can help to prevent or overcome depression, since social interaction and connection offer strong protection against developing depression,* according to a Massachusetts General Hospital study
  4. Enjoy easy access to fresh, nutritious meals. Many older adults already at risk of poor nutrition and winter can make it more difficult for seniors to make regular store visits and access fresh ingredients.* Retirement living offers older adults a wide range of tasty, nutritious meals made with fresh ingredients that can be enjoyed while dining with friends.
  5. No more home maintenance hassles. Shoveling snow and clearing ice, furnace maintenance, checking for frozen pipes and dealing with power blackouts are no longer your responsibility – and you don’t to worry about the risks and costs of dealing with these winter-related issues.
  6. Settle in before the holiday season. You’ll be able to meet new friends in a retirement residence and make your suite comfortable and inviting before the holidays season begins. Holiday entertaining will be easier, since most senior living residences have private event rooms and kitchens, where you can host family events and do holiday baking with grandchildren.
  7. Get on-site transportation to appointments. Many retirement residences have their own shuttle busses for medical appointments, errands, and outings, so you don’t have to drive yourself or ask someone else take you in poor weather conditions.

*The following sources provide references for this blog, in order of appearance:

  1. 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
  2. American Geriatrics Society. “Tip sheet: winter safety for older adults.” (2019), online: https://www.healthinaging.org/tools-and-tips/tip-sheet-winter-safety-older-adults
  3. Massachusetts General Hospital. “Study proves you shouldn’t try to fight depression alone.” (2020), online: https://news.yahoo.com/study-proves-shouldnt-try-fight-005341970.html