It's never easy to pull up roots and resettle in a new place, even if we know that it might be time for a lifestyle change. For seniors entering their golden years, the idea of moving into a retirement living community can be an uncomfortable or even intimidating prospect. Remaining in a familiar setting can feel like the easier, more intuitive option — even when it becomes increasingly clear that staying in place may no longer be the best living decision.
At Bayley, we often hear our residents say they should have relocated sooner," says Doris Rodier, Director of Marketing and Special Events at Bayley, a senior residential community located just outside of Cincinnati. "People remain at home until they experience an acute issue — which might have been avoided with daily assistance — that compels them to change their lifestyle."
According to AARP survey data, 77% of adults aged 50 and over wish to remain in place. However, staying at home without help isn't always the safest decision. After all, 85% of adults over 65 have at least one chronic health condition, and 60% have at least two. These conditions, combined with the ordinary challenges of growing older, can significantly impact a senior's ability to live at home safely. Per a Harvard University study, just under half (41%) of adults aged 65-79 experience "at least one self-care, household activity or mobility disability" that can make living independently challenging.
But according to Rodier, considering a change to a more supportive, community-based environment isn't just a matter of safety — it's also a matter of seniors being able to enjoy an active, social lifestyle for as long as possible. According to research from A Place for Mom, 73% of surveyed families report that their senior loved one's quality of life improved after moving into assisted living.
"Prospective residents often tell us, 'I'm just not ready yet,' or 'I might move later,'" she said. "But when you hold off for that long, you might miss your chance to take full advantage of amenities or spend quality time with your friends and community neighbors."
The rising popularity of active adult communities
Fortunately, seniors' attitudes toward community life are slowly but surely improving. In recent years, the emergence of active adult communities — residential hubs that promote independent, convenient living within a vibrant setting — has begun to reframe the less-than-ideal narrative around senior living.
"The growing interest of older adults below 65 years of age in a maintenance-free lifestyle, structured activities, socialization and a sense of community are the major factors driving the [active adult community] market," analysts concluded in a recent report on the senior community boom.
Residential communities offer a place for older adults to live comfortably, connect with their peers and enjoy easy access to a wide variety of amenities and recreational activities.
"The best residential communities uplift their residents," Rodier said. "They provide an opportunity for older adults to pursue their hobbies and enjoy spending time with their friends and families. Over time, neighbors can become a sort of 'found family' in their own right."
Rodier would know; Bayley provides just such a haven. Since its founding in 1990, Bayley has delivered a wide variety of residential options and senior care services to older adults in Cincinnati. Aspiring residents who want to adopt an independent but supported lifestyle may find their home in The Village, Bayley's neighborhood of maintenance-free cottages.
As representatives describe on Bayley's website, "The Village is a community that provides the independence and comfort of one's own private home with ever-ready assistance. […] Our goal is to enable individuals to live with maximum freedom and independence." Another exciting option is Bayley at Green Township, a new senior independent living building with 80 upscale apartments and priority access to Bayley’s full continuum of care. BAGT is expected to welcome residents late next year or early 2024.±
The thriving neighborhood sits on 23 acres of expansive, lush green space and offers easy access to a fitness club, styling salon and a network of walking paths. Seniors have their choice of two-to-three bedroom homes, all of which come equipped with two full baths, a fully equipped kitchen, patio space and an attached garage. As a maintenance-free living option, The Village also ensures that all interior and exterior maintenance is taken care of, so seniors never need to stress over intensive chores.
Moreover, because Bayley provides a wide variety of residential services (e.g., assisted living, memory care, rehabilitation services and skilled nursing care) residents have the reassurance of knowing that if their health changes, they can access the support they need to live comfortably.
"Above all else, we want to provide a residential experience that brings our seniors joy, Rodier said. "That's always been fundamental to our mission at Bayley."
lifestyle change can start with an honest conversation
Moving into a community can seem intimidating at the outset. However, making a change doesn't need to be complicated or stressful. According to Rodier, starting the process can be as simple as having a thoughtful conversation with a loved one.
"If you're a senior considering a lifestyle shift, or a family member who thinks making the shift might be a good idea, it can be helpful to reframe the question at hand," she said. "Rather than questioning why you or a loved one needs to move, ask yourself how the change could improve your quality of life. What do you have to gain?"
"Putting down roots in a residential community doesn't mean giving up your independence — it allows you to preserve it, so you can enjoy the active, social lifestyle you want in retirement," she concluded.
This article was originally published on Cincinnati.com on November 28, 2022.
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