Why Move into a Retirement Community During a Pandemic?
Monday Aug 24th, 2020
For seniors living alone during the pandemic, times are certainly challenging. Everyday tasks, like buying groceries, keeping in touch with friends and family or going to appointments, are particularly hard. Many seniors are also grappling with feelings of isolation and stress, especially since this aging population is more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19.
As Canadians continue to flatten the curve by staying home and ensuring physical distancing, it may seem counter-intuitive for seniors to consider other living arrangements. However, despite the trials of COVID-19, many retirement communities have proven to be a sound alternative for seniors. These independent living residences already adhere to rigorous standards to ensure the health and safety of their residents with the ability to quickly react and adapt as situations arise – like a global pandemic.
If you or someone you love are unsure whether now is a good time to move into a retirement community, these benefits may provide you with some peace of mind:
Before COVID-19 took hold, seniors that remained in their homes often shared common worries, like contracting the seasonal flu or suffering a fall. But with the pandemic, other deeper concerns have arisen, causing a great deal of worry and stress for seniors and their families.
Keeping up with one’s health and wellness during a pandemic can be more difficult while living alone. But in a retirement community, health and safety are streamlined, providing an extra layer of protection for residents. This includes services like on-site health professionals, 24-hour support staff, safety and sanitation protocols, healthy meals, physically distanced social opportunities and fitness programs. All independent living residences also have emergency preparedness plans in place to respond to an outbreak, whether related to influenza or other illnesses. Because of these well-thought-out protocols, many seniors feel safer living in a retirement community, even during a pandemic.
Whether it’s attending medical appointments, picking up prescriptions or simply getting one’s hair done, everyday errands during a pandemic can be daunting for seniors that live alone. Long wait times, social distancing protocols and crowded stores are hard to navigate and many volunteer programs geared to seniors are on hold.
In a retirement community, all of these concerns are drastically minimized since daily tasks are handled for residents. Cooking, cleaning, laundry and transportation services are offered in most independent lifestyle communities, as well as other amenities, like in-house hairdressing and marketplaces that are stocked with essentials. Having access to these types of services allows seniors the ability to relax and take care of their health and wellness needs, while feeling less isolated or a burden to their loved ones.
Healthy Food with Good Company
Seniors living at home during the pandemic may find it harder to maintain a healthy diet since many are avoiding crowded grocery stores and long lines to minimize their risks of contracting COVID-19. Without regular access to fresh foods, seniors are unable to prepare balanced meals to fuel their bodies and strengthen their illness responses.
In a retirement residence, access to healthy meals is a priority with many communities offering delicious chef-designed menus with a focus on senior nutrition. Residents can also enjoy meals in dining rooms with COVID-19 physical distancing protocols in place, providing a sense of belonging and community each day.
Studies have shown that social connections can have a positive impact on a senior’s blood pressure and risk of disease. Being part of a vibrant community can also lessen feelings of isolation and depression, which is common for many seniors that live alone. Retirement communities prioritize social connectivity in the physical sense by having common areas, like dining rooms, game rooms and outdoor gathering spaces. Small on-site classes and workshops with social distancing protocols are a great way to connect like-minded individuals with one another where they can share their passions, plus it’s easier to make friends in a community setting versus in one’s own home.
Independent living in a retirement community during a global pandemic is a safe alternative for seniors that currently live alone and who could benefit from the extra support, social connections and good company that a residence can provide.
If you or someone you love is considering a lifestyle change, an Accredited Senior Agent (ASA) is a great resource to help you make a sound decision. To learn more, please contact me, Deborah Clerk, Real Estate Sales Representative and ASA at Keller Williams Realty Associates, Brokerage, in Mississauga, Ontario, to discuss your options.