The Many Benefits of Aging in a Community
There's comfort in being around people who share common interests, goals, and challenges. That comfort in a community doesn't wane with age – it actually deepens. Whether it's proudly talking about grandchildren or lamenting the fact that our eyes aren't as good as they used to be, it helps to be around people who not only understand what we're saying but actually feel the same joys and concerns as well.
That's why many boomers are deciding to move into an active adult community. In the latest 55places National Housing Survey, they were described by one out of three seniors as an outgoing, social community of likeminded people.
Bill Ness, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of 55places.com, explains:
There's still a desire, however, among many seniors to age-in-place. According to the Senior Resource Guide, aging-in-place means:
The challenge is, many seniors live in suburban or rural areas, and that often necessitates driving significant distances to see friends or attend other social engagements. A recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) titled Housing America's Older Adults addressed this exact concern:
The Kiplinger report also chimed in on this subject:
Driving may not be a challenge right now, but think about what it may be like to drive 10, 20, or 30 years down the road.
There are also health challenges brought on by a possible lack of socialization when living at home versus a community of seniors. Sarah J. Stevenson is an author who writes about seniors. In a recent blog post for A Place for Mom, she explains:
Thankfully, research from the same article suggests if you're spending time with others in a community, thus reducing the impact of loneliness and isolation, there's less of a risk of developing high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, a weakened immune system, depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, Alzheimer's disease, and early death.
Though the familiarity of our current home may bring a feeling of warmth, comfort, and convenience, it's important to understand that staying there may mean missing out on crucial socialization opportunities. Living with adult children, joining a retirement community, or moving to an assisted living facility can help us continue to be with people we enjoy every day.
Aging-in-place definitely has its advantages, but it could mean getting stuck-in-place too. There are many health benefits derived from socialization with a community of people that shares common interests. It's important to take the need for human interaction into consideration when making a decision about where to spend the later years in life.