What Does An Independent Senior Living Community Have To Offer Beyond Room and Board?

The Importance of Activities and Amenities In Independent Senior Living

Most Seniors and their families begin to think about community living when physical challenges become an issue. The idea of staying in your own home as long as possible is a very popular idea so as long as an individual is able to live safely alone, people think everything is fine. Even if one can manage a home, prepare meals, do laundry, and practice good hygiene, there are issues that exist way beyond just the physical needs of a person. 

Body, mind, and spirit 

It is essential that all aspects of life be nurtured and encouraged in senior living. Older adults need continued stimulation of their minds and spirits, just as everyone does. This type of programming may become the most valuable part of community living.

The body may become frail, but that does not mean that mental capacity is gone. As a matter of fact, to the contrary. Advanced age may bring more opportunities for mental and spiritual growth.  

Having a safe and secure environment is just the beginning of the requirements for a vibrant lifestyle for seniors. 

Living in your own home may be comfortable and familiar but the issue of isolation and loneliness is critical. Research is revealing that socialization becomes the number one health issue as one grows older. It may lead to depression, medication mismanagement, falls, and general failure to thrive. 

Neighborhoods age just like people do. Some older neighborhoods get run down and more dangerous. Older neighbors that were once part of a vibrant community may leave or pass away. If neighbors are younger, they may not be around during the daytime because they work. There are fewer people to visit with and isolation becomes the norm. 

Olivia came to McCrite Plaza after spinal stenosis required her to use a wheelchair most of the time. Even though the family had modified her home so it was possible to remain there; she became lonely and despondent. All of her friends had moved or passed away. She had always been used to an active social life. She could no longer go to play bridge at the Senior Center. All of her outings required someone to load her wheelchair. When she moved to Independent Living, she could get to all of the social events. She actually became more active than ever. She learned to self-propelled her chair, which actually helped her build good upper body strength. She went to Bible Study and Sunday services. She enjoyed weekly movies in the theater and could go to chair yoga with other residents. Her mind remained sharp and she made many new friends at McCrite Plaza.” 

A key to having a successful activities program for seniors is to make sure that a variety of options are available.  

Ideally, new residents and their families would be interviewed during the first few days to inquire about favorite pastime activities.  

McCrite Plaza staff spend time with new residents to understand their likes and dislikes. Oftentimes Elders who have been isolated and have become more introverted but are given the opportunity to participate in activities regain their former interest in even more activities. 

When Betty moved to McCrite Plaza, her family warned the staff that their mom was very antisocial. They suggested she would want to receive her meals in the privacy of her own apartment. Well, it did not take long, and Betty became a social butterfly. She was not anti-social at all. She had just lost her confidence in socializing with new people. With some gentle encouragement from the staff and with an understanding of her hobbies and the books that she liked to read, the staff was able to slowly integrate her into the community. She absolutely blossomed at McCrite Plaza and enjoyed eating in the dining room with her friends.”

While some might enjoy card games, others may prefer movies or sporting events.  

The Pew Research Institute reports that over two-thirds of adults over 65 are using the internet and have smartphones. Video games are a growing method of improving memory and multitasking skills. Classes are offered to help with technology so residents can use their own iPads to enhance these skills. It also helps connect residents to family and friends no matter where they live. 

Exercise and outings are key to healthy independent senior living.

Having transportation for outings is important. 

Many Elders enjoy shopping or going to the market. Fishing excursions and trips to the local ball games are enjoyed. For those who love theater and art, there are additional opportunities to go with a group on the McCrite bus. 

Daily exercise classes allow residents to join in as many days as fits their schedule. 

Getting outside on a beautiful day for a walk around the neighborhood is invigorating, and those that have trouble walking can be assisted in a wheelchair for an outing and get the benefits of fresh air.

And don’t forget ‘happy hour’ that is available for those that like to have a beverage and some great visiting!

Socialization and interaction with others are key to a healthy mind for seniors.

The most important activity of all is meaningful relationships and stimulating conversation. Having coffee with friends or sharing mealtime is critical to good health.  

Isolation is deadly for so many reasons, but there is a huge benefit to living in a community of contemporaries. Forming meaningful relationships is good medicine. Men’s coffee klatch and women’s card groups allow Seniors to continue their lifetime routines. 

Charles, who was a widower, moved to McCrite Plaza after a fall. The plan was that it would be temporary until he had recovered enough to return home. His therapies went well, but he really enjoyed meeting with the men at their daily coffee gatherings. He actually realized there were some men in the group that he had known before in his business life. As their bond grew, he knew he wanted to stay even after his therapies were completed. His temporary move turned into a permanent home.”

Making sure that the spiritual needs of seniors are met is significant.

Many families continue to take their loved ones to their regular church for weekly services. Since going to weekly services may become difficult, it is imperative that spiritual services and council are readily available in the community.

McCrite Plaza has a beautiful chapel and spiritual support for all its residents. Services are provided weekly. 

Holidays and special events are wonderful times for families to get together. Community rooms can be reserved for parties of all types.

Life is more than a bed to sleep in and food to eat. The importance of communal life is found in being part of a community. That does not end as we grow old but becomes even more important. Helen Keller, an American author, disability rights advocate, political activist, and lecturer, said, “Alone, we can do so little: together, we can do so much.”

Give us a call in Briarcliff-Kansas City at (816) 888-7930 or (785) 267-2960 in Topeka and make an appointment to see everything that is available to make life exciting for your future!

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