One of the many reasons that people look forward to retirement is the opportunity to relax. It’s a time that should be about enjoying life, unencumbered by work, major responsibilities, and schedules. And for those who opt to move to a senior living community, such as a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), that simplified life is even easier to embrace. Here are just a few of the ways that a CCRC offers a carefree lifestyle to their independent living residents and helps make those retirees’ lives easier.
No-maintenance interiors and exteriors
CCRCs offer independent living residences for people who are still relatively healthy and able to live on their own. But just because you live independently doesn’t mean you want to deal with the hassles and headaches that can come with living on your own.
Nearly every CCRC will provide all interior and exterior home maintenance — including landscaping, snow removal, painting, HVAC and appliance maintenance, and so forth — as a part of residents’ monthly service fee. They will even change the lightbulbs in your home’s built-in fixtures. You’ll never have to mow the grass or trim the hedges again!
>> Related: 4 Ways CCRCs Help Seniors Stay Healthy
Housekeeping and linen services
Who wants to spend their time cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming the floors when they are retired? Many CCRCs provide weekly housekeeping services to their independent living residents as part of the monthly service fee. Additional visits from housekeeping often can be added for an additional fee.
Independent living units may have their own washer and dryer, or a communal one that is shared by residents, making it easy to wash and dry clothes. But some CCRCs will take their housekeeping service offering to the next level by also providing towel and/or bed linen services. The housekeeper will bring clean linens, change the bed sheets, and remove the dirty linens. It’s like living full-time in a hotel!
CCRCs’ independent living units almost always will have a full kitchen including a refrigerator, stove, oven, and often a microwave. While some people truly enjoy cooking and baking, it can be a bother to have to food shop, cook, and clean-up every day.
To simplify their lives, independent living residents of a CCRC typically have one meal per day at the community’s dining venues included in their monthly service fee. (A meal plan with additional meals can be purchased, as well.) The majority of residents opt to have that meal be dinner — having breakfast and lunch within their unit. And because most CCRCs work with a nutritionist to plan their menus, residents can enjoy a variety of healthy food options within the community’s various dining spots (which might include locales such as a dining room, pub, café, coffee/juice bar, and more).
>> Related: Food for Thought: How CCRC Meal Plans Work
Programs and events
One of the perks of retirement is having the free time to enjoy whatever pastimes you like, whether that be a hobby, a sport, or other leisure activities. And a CCRC makes it easy to access those interests.
Nearly all CCRCs provide a wide array of programs, activities, and events for residents. Some are designed for health and fitness – for example, pickleball leagues, water aerobics classes, or yoga sessions – while others are for entertainment – like on- and off-site cultural events.
But overall health is about more than just exercise and healthy food; it also requires socialization and mental stimulation. For this reason, many communities also will offer continuing education classes and lectures, sometimes in partnership with a nearby college or university. And activities such as social mixers, hobby groups, or affinity clubs focus on the importance of human connection to stave off loneliness and isolation.
While many independent living residents of a CCRC still have a vehicle and drive, most CCRCs will offer transportation services to their residents. They may provide a regularly scheduled shuttle-type service to nearby grocery stores, shopping areas, or other local venues – as well as rides to those off-site programs and events mentioned above. Some also will offer on-demand rides to doctors’ visits or other appointments, similar to a taxi service. Still other communities have vehicle-sharing programs where residents can reserve and use a communal vehicle as needed.
All of these transportation options are not only a nice convenience but can potentially save residents quite a bit of money. Residents may be able to get rid of their own vehicle if desired, which can save on gas, vehicle maintenance, and insurance. It also enables residents who are no longer able to drive the freedom and dignity to get to the places they need to go.
And the number one way that CCRCs make independent living residents’ lives simpler…
While all of these services and amenities are designed to make residents’ lives easier and more carefree, there is one CCRC service that no one ever wants to use, but it is a key reason why people opt to move there: the availability of a continuum of on-site care services.
On-site care gives CCRC residents — and their loved ones — peace of mind, knowing that should they ever need care — anything from help with a few activities of daily living to full-time skilled nursing care and everything in between — they will have ready-access to it nearby.
This on-site care option can be especially beneficial for couples with differing care needs — for instance, one who can still live independently and one who needs assisted living. The availability of on-site care enables such couples to receive the specific services they need while still remaining near one another on the community’s campus. Simplifying the ability to remain close to one’s partner can lower stress, reduce depression, and benefit both people’s overall mental and physical wellbeing.
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