As one grows older, a recurring thought that might start to pop up more often is that regarding one’s living situation. After retirement, many people consider moving to a new place, whether as a matter of preference, finances, being closer to family, or sometimes it eventually comes down to needing a bit of extra help to get around. While some people view the idea of adult communities such as nursing or retirement homes with disdain, those negative feelings often come from a mix of misinformation about such communities and a bit of fear, anger or apprehension.
Society’s warped views on aging
Society’s standards that are perpetuated by media are a bit ridiculous. Magazine covers rarely feature someone much past their 20s, or without first photoshopping away wrinkles, laugh lines, and any other natural signs of aging. Yes, the aging that everyone goes through. No one stays young. So why is there such a fascination with attempting to stay that way, and blatant agism pervasive in our culture? Some people fear aging because they are afraid of the loneliness that sets in when families or communities, unintentionally or not, start to forget to visit or interact.
Aging should be something that is highly revered, as it is in some other cultures. The fact that a person has made it to old age means that they have seen a lot, experienced situations that become intriguing stories with valuable lessons, and can offer wise perspectives. We as a culture should be embracing members of society who are growing older.
Other fears of aging
Many people have a fear of death, especially as they grow older. But for many people, the fear that they feel that is associated with aging has more to do with potential issues that will develop before they pass away. Many elderly individuals express concern over the fact that they do not want to be a burden on family and loved ones, especially if they start to have trouble with daily functions or taking care of themselves. Alzheimer’s is one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States, and unfortunately, the only one that can neither be prevented or slowed, and there is no know cure. Developing Alzheimer’s slowly strips a person of their regular mental faculties, including memories and understanding of daily life. People with advanced Alzheimer’s need a great deal of care, and often need to move to assisted living facilities or homes that provide constant supervision and care.
Overcoming fear and uncertainty and embracing your years
There are those whose negative feelings toward adult communities stem from legitimate fears, but transitioning to a new chapter at that stage of life does not have to be a negative thing. There are many different types of adult communities. While there are some adult communities that offer more care and supervision, whether it is with daily tasks, meals, health care or social services, or an array of other things, some communities are simply neighborhoods created for like minded individuals. And there are many to choose from. About 60% of people who were getting ready to move to an independent living community visited at least two before making a final decision. Around 44% said that recommendation and reputation factored heavily into their decision, and another 40% were most concerned with location.
Finding the right community is important at any age. Instead of fearing what a retirement community might mean about aging and society’s standards, look forward to everything that it could mean. The happiest among those who are retired take part in three or four activities on a regular basis, and those can be even more enjoyable in the right community. A substantial number of residents, at 84.5%, say that they would recommend their current community to others searching. Life is what you make it, and you can make your community home.