Active Senior Living For Active Seniors
You now have the time to do what you always wanted to do. What was that again? Hiking the Appalachian Trail? Volunteering at the Humane Society? Working part-time at a ski resort? Mentoring a child?
With more seniors living longer and more active lives than ever before, how you choose to spend your retirement really is up to you. There are limitless ways to fill your days. Do what you want to do. A more active life means a better quality of life.
Active Living Options
First things first: if you’re healthy and active, you may just choose to live in the home you retired in—until it becomes more than you want or are able to handle. It’s a tough decision to leave the home you raised your family in, the neighborhood you’re used to and familiar with.
But maybe your home is just too big and requires too much upkeep. Or maybe you’d rather live with other active seniors. Maybe you just want a change. If so, you have plenty of options.
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Independent living communities are designed for the active and healthy senior who is able to live on their own. You can live in a home, condo, townhouse, apartment complex, motor home or mobile home.
They are the same as a traditional neighborhood but with age restrictions—usually 55 and older. And they provide amenities like clubhouses, gyms, yard maintenance, housekeeping and security. Most communities also typically offer transportation, laundry service, group meals, and social and cultural activities.
Before we look at what kind of community is right for you, let’s look at some senior statistics.
Seniors by the Numbers
In a 2010 report by The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics called “Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being,” we found the following statistics that may interest you:
- People who reach age 65 will live another 18.5 years v. just 4 years longer in 1960.
- From 2006 to 2008, 74.5% of those 65 and older reported being in good to excellent health.
- About 22% of seniors reported regular physical activity.
- Seniors 65 to 74 report doing 7 hours of daily leisure activities; watching TV account for 4 hours.
- The housing burden cost for seniors increased from 30% to 37% between 1985 and 2007.
- Forty percent of seniors in 2007 had one or more of the following housing issues: “housing cost burden, physically inadequate housing, and/or crowded housing.”
What’s Right for Me?
This is a big question for many seniors and worth careful consideration. The answer may take weeks, months and even years of thought. To start, take an inventory of your life now that you’re retired. Here are some basic questions to ask:
Are you happy in your home and neighborhood? Do you dread doing yard work in the summer heat? Are the four bedrooms too much to clean? Do you live close enough to family? Do your friends still live near you? Would you rather live close to the water, mountains, in the country or in a city?
Financially, are you secure in your present home? Or do you need to downsize? Are property taxes too much?
Would you rather live with other active seniors? Or do you enjoy living in a mixed-age neighborhood?
You’re healthy and don’t want to sit around and watch TV. Now what? For starters, in order to stay healthy, you should make regular exercise part of your day. You’ll have more energy; your mood will improve; and daily activities will become easier.
Plus, exercise benefits people with arthritis, heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. Consult a doctor before starting any new activity. Here are some options:
- Walking, jogging
- Swimming, aqua aerobics
- Yoga, Pilates
- Strength training
- Cross country skiing
- Tai Chi
- Line dancing, square dancing, ballroom dancing
To help balance your physical activities, here are some leisure activity suggestions:
- Become a volunteer. What are your interests? People? Animals? Art? History? The environment? For every interest there is an organization that needs your help.
- Join a book reader’s group. This is a great way to meet new people, socialize, and keep your mind engaged.
- Put that wisdom to good use: Mentor a child. These programs are often run through libraries, churches and organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
- Work in a community (co-op) garden. You’ll get your hands into the soil. Meet new people. And get to eat the fruits (and veggies) of your labor.
- Get involved in civic activities like voter registration, campaigning, etc.
- Take enrichment classes at your local college. Learn to paint, photograph, write, program computers—there are subjects for every interest.
This list of ways for active seniors to spend their days is just the tip of the iceberg. Try an internet search for activities in your area and you’ll find hundreds more. The important thing is to make regular activities—both physical and leisure—a part of your day.
You’ll age healthier in your limbs, heart and mind.
Read "Age Well; The Choice Is Ours" for more tips on healthy living.
Updated: Feb 21, 2011
Comments Comments... Read them below.
|Marcia Palmer On Feb 10, 2013
Good article at a difficult transition
|Deb On Dec 28, 2012
I live in a part of the U.S. that gets a lot of snow in the winter season. I would like to become a "snowbird". Finding senior communities that would sell or rent shelter for 6 months out of the year is complicated ( Rather than driving, I would like to take Amtrak to my destination, where my residence/car is ready & waiting for me ) Is this too much to ask ?