Giving up the family home and moving to a senior community can be one of the hardest things for a senior to do – especially if they’ve lived there a long time. Any house gets filled with stuff over time. But that last house before downswing? It’s filled with memories.
Once the kids are grown, it’s only natural to start thinking about all the work it takes to maintain a big house. Raking leaves seemed like fun when the kiddos were diving in, shrieking with glee, but now it’s just work. Painting, mowing, gardening and shoveling (when did that driveway get so long, anyway?) are getting harder to do now that you’re older. And cleaning? Well, that was never fun – and now you may wonder why you’re cleaning such a big house for two people who are probably only using about five rooms. Right?
So it’s time to move on. The truth is, very few people actually want to give up their house. It’s one of the last symbols of independence – the ability to live on your own. Living alone (or with a spouse) shouts, “I’m not old!!” louder than any words.
So, the trick? Well, just move a little sooner! That may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s not really. Senior communities have so much to offer these days that it’s time to look at a move as an adventure, the next chapter in a very long life. And with many senior living communities offering continuing care (also called continuity or continuum of care) it’s easy to do.
Don’t just downsize
Instead of downsizing to a condo or senior apartment and then needing to move again when you do need help or just don’t feel comfortable living totally alone, a continuing care community offers seniors a chance to age in place. The reason? Because the community offers several different living options all on one campus.
This is becoming an increasingly popular option all over the country. Situated along Florida’s gulf coast, Discovery Villages Senior Living Community offers this type of living option in Fort Myers and Naples. They recognized the need, value and appeal of such a community to seniors in the Sunshine State (or others wanting to retire there) and made it a reality.
Here’s how it works. There are generally several living choices available – and while seniors can start out in any of them, the beauty is that if you need more assistance you can move to a higher level of care right there onsite. Living options may vary by state and community but typically you’ll find independent living, assisted living and either memory care or skilled nursing care.
The first option – and lowest level of care – is essentially independent senior living. Some places offer both apartments and condos (the difference is in the ownership). While smaller than most houses, it’s the perfect move for those who want to downsize. Apartments generally have anywhere from one to three bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, a living area, kitchen and quite often a deck or patio. It might be smaller than your old house, but you didn’t need all that space anyway – and this one is a lot easier to take care of. In fact, someone else onsite does most of the work!
At Discovery Village that first step is Supervised Independent Living. It’s a cross between independent living and assisted living. Residents live on their own in a spacious apartment home – with the added benefit of having assistance available if and when they need it. There is 24-hour access to a health and wellness team. If a resident needs more help with activities of daily life (ADLs) at any time, those services can often be added right where you are. No moving required.
Like Discovery Village, most independent living options within a continuity of care community will provide – or at least offer – three meals a day. But a full-service kitchen in the apartment gives residents the option to make their own meals whenever they want as well. Daily activities, events, and weekly housekeeping are other perks of living in a senior community. No shoveling required. See? Even better than your old house already!
If you – or your spouse – have had an illness or injury or just reached the age where you may need more help, the next step would be assisted living. And here’s where that continuity of care become a huge perk – you can stay right there on the property and get the help you need. While smaller than the apartments, assisted living usually offers a large room for living and sleeping along with a private bathroom. You’ll get the same delicious food (appropriately called Sensations Dining at Discovery Village), housekeeping services and activities plus more assistance with those activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing.
The good news? If your family lives nearby, they have no further to drive! And those friends you made while in independent living? They’re right there – so you can see each other as much as you want.
When a person needs more help throughout the day than assisted living can provide, continuing care communities will offer either memory care or skilled nursing. Occasionally both. Skilled nursing is an option for seniors who may have a terminal or chronic illness – those who spend a lot of time in bed and need round the clock nursing care.
At Discovery Village, however, that next option is memory care. With people living longer these days, there often comes a time when even the most able-bodied senior begins to have memory problems that affect their daily living skills. While assisted living usually offers enough assistance for those with mild memory issues, the memory care community helps those who have progressed further into dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Residents are encouraged to do as much for themselves as they can – for their own sense of pride and independence – but they still benefit from having help with anything they’re no longer able to do by themselves. Activities are geared toward things that these seniors can do successfully, and the food (while still delicious!) may be easier to cut up and eat.
While that first decision– to leave your house and make your home in a senior living community — can be a little scary, a continuing care community makes the rest easy. Once there, you can get the help you need without major changes. Aging in place has never been easier.Discovery Village at Sandhill offers a variety of senior living programs to keep seniors healthy and active. Learn about our senior living options and amenities today when you contact us at 803.836.9545