Can moving to a retirement community actually improve your health? A misconception about senior living communities and facilities is that they are for the “old and decrepit” and reserved for the inactive elderly. When in reality, most retirement communities are vibrant populations full of residents who enjoy the many activities and social gatherings offered on campus. The focus of most communities is the health and wellness of its residents. And at a full life-plan community like Snyder Village, the care is not only for the physical, but also the mental and spiritual aspects of the individual as well. Here are just a few ways in which making the move to a retirement community can actually improve your whole-body health:
1). Opportunities for Physical Activity
We’ve all heard the benefits of what exercise can do for our bodies – manage weight, reduce incidence of heart disease, regulate blood pressure, keep bones strong, improve sleep, and even increase mood, among other things. But staying motived to exercise can be difficult. Many retirement communities make exercising easy by offering numerous exercise classes, outings involving physical activity (such as hiking), and customized therapy or exercise programs. At Snyder Village, residents benefit from an available one-on-one exercise program customized just for them and their goals, and group exercise classes are also available providing extra peer motivation.
Jan Myers began volunteer teaching exercise classes at Snyder Village 18 years ago, and seven years ago, made the move to become a resident of the retirement community herself. She continues to teach classes two times a week for those on campus. “Exercising helps me release tension and helps keep joints flexible and from injury,” she explains. “We use a lot of different equipment – barbells, resistance bands, even broomsticks! They (the residents) also enjoy the camaraderie. It helps lift their spirits and fight off depression. Many say that they feel so much better after attending class,” says Jan. Fred Zant, one of the participants in Jan’s class, is enjoying the convenience of the class being on campus as he recovers after a recent back surgery. He explains, “I’m trying to get back into walking and golf. It takes a while to get back into things. This class is helping me get back into shape and to get better mobility.”
Along with organized classes offered on campus, most retirement communities are designed to be pedestrian and bike friendly. And with so many friends and neighbors nearby, there are always companions to help make a walk or bike ride even more enjoyable. And if golf is your game, many retirement communities are purposely built near golf courses so you can enjoy the health benefits of your favorite sport more often!
2). Healthy Meals
With the amount of work that goes into shopping, preparing, and cleaning up after three healthy meals a day, it’s often easier to just grab a less-than-healthy frozen dinner or junk food item from the pantry. But at a retirement community, dining halls and restaurants are available to take care of the food preparation and cleanup for you. Many communities are putting more of a focus on offering quality nutrition with fresh local ingredients, with some even coming straight from their own campus gardens.
3). Mental Stimulation & Spiritual Growth
While caring for the body is important, the care of the mind can’t be ignored. Engaging the mind can help combat memory loss and dementia. Retirement communities offer many ways to keep the mind active such as card-playing clubs, history lectures, music concerts, and visits to local museums.
Studies have shown the many positive benefits that a person’s faith can have psychologically and on his or her overall health. Individuals of faith can exhibit a higher level of positive emotions like happiness, hope, optimism, self-esteem, and sense of purpose. In faith-based retirement communities like Snyder Village, spiritual growth is encouraged by chapel services, Bible studies, and prayer gatherings.
4). Social Interaction
According to the National Institute on Aging, research has found links to social isolation and loneliness in seniors to higher risks for many physical and mental conditions. High blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death have all been linked to isolation and loneliness. Studies show that people who engage in meaningful activities and are socially active tend to improve their mood, develop a sense of purpose, and even live longer. A resident’s social calendar can always remain full at a retirement community. Whatever your interest, whether it be crafting, cooking, sports, book clubs, theater groups, or even a more obscure hobby like dowsing, you will most likely find a like-minded social group or fellow neighbor to share your interests with at a retirement community.
There are many advantages to living in a retirement community, and the physical, mental, and spiritual health benefits may be at the top of the list. If you want to enter the next phase of life happier and healthier – now may be the perfect time to find a retirement community and make the move.