Seniors often thrive in independent living communities due to increased opportunities to exercise and socialize. Filled with retirees who are committed to living life to the fullest, independent living communities encourage residents to participate in exercise programs and social activities that provide the foundation for a quality retirement lifestyle. You might say that not only are exercise and socializing "the best medicine," they turn the spigot on the Fountain of Youth.
Those seniors who are considering the move to an independent living community will be interested to learn that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has focused on the theme "Exercise as Medicine" since 2008. In short, exercise, and the socializing that often accompany wellness activities is the most potent and side-effect-free medicine available. Exercise positively affects every aspect of the body, mind and, yes, spirit.
How are independent living communities incorporating wellness in daily life?
Because a growing number of seniors are looking for exercise and wellness programs when evaluating independent living communities, many of today's independent living communities have embraced a wellness model, inviting residents to take ownership of their own goals and well-being, as well as offering a full range of exercise and socializing opportunities. These industry innovators encourage individuals of every age to seek opportunities to remain productive, contributing members of a community.
Communities such as these offer encompassing wellness and life enrichment programs that often include individually designed daily exercise and physical activities, mind, body and spirit classes, lifelong learning and community partners' component. Many providers even have trademarked wellness and fitness programs, including Brookdale's Fitness B-Fit exercise program, Leisure Care's PrimeFit and Five Star Senior Living's Lifestyle360 Program.
How to determine whether a community will support your wellness goals?
When touring the community, you should consider its available wellness opportunities, in addition to whether you liked the apartment floor plan and enjoyed the lunch service. Does the community have the amenities to meet your exercise needs, i.e. if you like tennis, is there an on-site court or are there courts nearby in the local area? Is there a pool or fitness room available? Are there opportunities for low-impact exercise activities available, such as walking trails, boccie ball or Yoga classes? Does the community have a life enrichment/wellness director? This individual can be a helpful resource for motivation if you need a bit of encouragement to develop a fitness plan. For those times when you might become injured, are there on-site physical therapy or rehabilitation services?
Because this community will likely be the last place you move, you should be sure that the community has all the services and amenities you need to maintain and enhance your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Written by senior care writer Leslee Jaquette and Andrea Watts