Why Are Retirement Community Residents Happier?
As a senior contemplating retirement, you’ve likely spent some time wondering whether you’d be happier at home or making a move to retirement community living.
Where you’ll be happiest in your retirement years is a highly personal decision, but research shows the majority of people are happier as residents of senior living communities than they are living alone. A key finding was that 55% of retirement community residents agreed or strongly agreed their quality of life was better compared to one year ago. That contrasts with 19% of nonresidents who held the same belief.
A 2020 survey of Life Plan Community residents across America reinforces those findings. Remarkably, all participants (including those who reported the lowest levels of happiness) had average happiness and life scores above the midpoint on a scale of 1 to 7 (the average score was 5.8). This means if you’re questioning, “Are people happy in retirement homes?” there’s evidence the answer is “yes.”
Statistics and numbers aside, there are plenty of explanations for how senior retirement homes offer such an appealing lifestyle.
As a resident of a Life Plan Community, you have fewer chores and duties that demand your attention. Even seniors who want to maintain a home find that physical strength, injuries, and other circumstances can make it challenging to fulfill those duties over time. One of the benefits of many senior retirement homes is the opportunity to enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle, with interior and exterior maintenance and housekeeping provided.
Lower levels of stress
Aging can be stressful! The many changes that come with advancing years, including health concerns and worries about things like your financial future, can create a lot of anxiety and mental strain. Settling into retirement community living, where you have a better idea of what the future holds, can help ease your mind tremendously. Among the advantages of retirement communities, and Life Plan Communities (or continuing care retirement communities) in particular, is the peace of mind that comes from knowing your future needs can be met right within the community, even if you require additional levels of support down the road.
Support to achieve goals
Older adults living on their own have a great deal of personal responsibility for setting and achieving goals. Through retirement community living resources like Springpoint’s award-winning LivWell program, residents have access to a wide range of help identifying and pursuing their ambitions. The program focuses on whole-person wellness to create a more enriching life, whether it’s satisfying a lifelong curiosity through lifelong learning or building strength to take the dance floor at a family wedding.
Opportunities to socialize
Numerous studies have shown links between loneliness and numerous mental and physical health concerns. Isolation causes stress, which can in turn affect your heart health and weaken your immune system. As residents know well, neighbors are often among the greatest benefits of senior living communities. Having like-minded peers to share daily activities and the ups and downs of life creates a sense of belonging that is good for your emotional well-being. Social seniors are also likely to be more active seniors, and engaging with others helps stimulate cognitive function, too.
You may be thinking, “But do people in retirement communities live longer?” Logically, the answer is yes. Residents of senior living communities have access to numerous resources that make healthier living, and thereby living longer, easier. In addition to nutritious meals that align with your dietary needs, you’re likely to have access to a fitness center and group classes to keep your strength up and body moving. Many communities also offer wellness education courses and other programs that help empower seniors to take charge of their health.
Sense of security
With retirement community living, you can expect to get help from staff on duty 24 hours a day. In addition, the premises are likely to be under strict security so the only people wandering near your home are your fellow neighbors and their loved ones. Other measures communities implement to protect your safety include disaster preparedness, access to generators when power fails, and even details like checking your smoke alarm batteries regularly.