Because senior living options have evolved so significantly in the last several years, many aging adults and their families are left with misunderstandings and misconceptions about the options, the affordability, and the lifestyle each provides. These misconceptions make it exceptionally challenging to plan for the future and make informed decisions about retirement and aging.
Common misconceptions about senior living communities
We hear all kinds of misconceptions about senior living communities and many people admit these preconceived notions are what prevented them from seeking out different living options sooner. Some of the most common misconceptions include:
- Aging adults dread moving into senior living communities. The truth is that most communities have a lengthy wait list because so many retirees are looking for the leisure, adventure, and socialization they offer. Unfortunately, because so many people assume the conversation will be difficult, the discussion is often delayed until it’s time to move and by then much of the important planning hasn’t been addressed.
- Retirement communities are for people who can’t take care of themselves at home. Reality is actually much different: retirement communities aim to provide able-bodied retirees with an opportunity to take a break from yard work, home maintenance, and other mundane responsibilities to enjoy socializing with their peers, working towards physical fitness, and doing the things they love the most. The benefit of senior living communities is that medical or personal care is available if needed. Additionally, they’re a great solution for couples with varying needs, even if one partner needs nothing and the other needs more significant assistance.
- Retirement community living is only for the wealthy. While retirement community living is considered a luxury, many couples who made an average income throughout their lives find that with the help of their financial advisor, they’re able to afford these highly sought after communities after all. Many couples who earned a modest income have a home to sell when they move, little to no debt, and a predictable, steady monthly income from Social Security and their retirement savings. This combination of assets makes a great investment in luxurious retirement living.
- Senior living communities serve hospital food. If you expect to be served three traditional, flavorless meals a day with limited options, you’ve fallen prey to another myth about senior living communities. Today, these communities are catering to a population that has grown accustomed to a wide variety of options from vegan to keto to high-end dining and more. Expect fresh produce, restaurant-style service with an expansive menu designed by experienced chefs, and the opportunity to dine in or take out. Formal dining room settings, casual bar options, and cafe-style settings are available at communities like Cambridge Village.
- Community members play bingo and take naps – and that’s it. Today’s retirees have bigger expectations than yesterday’s, and senior living communities have stepped up to the plate. Most boast robust outdoor activities, a multitude of social offerings (often including singles events, too), and ample opportunity to get healthy and stay fit. Residents at Cambridge Village would have the opportunity to take local trips on a weekly basis to downtown and the beach.
The evolution of senior living
Throughout history, the primary focus of senior living communities has been providing aging adults with the personal and medical care they need to stay healthy and live as long as possible without burdening their children or other family members.
However, as Baby Boomers have reached retirement age, expectations for retirement living have shifted. Whereas previous retirees were simply looking to have their health needs met, today’s retirees are demanding a much broader range of services designed to provide the lifestyle they want when they’re done with the nine to five.
This means that today’s retirement communities serve a hybrid role, combining hospitality with health care. They’re offering hotel-style amenities including walking paths, swimming pools, fitness centers, social engagements, five-star dining options, concierge services, and more, all while providing the personal and medical care its community members need. In this article, Granger Construction project leader Jon Upton shares how the physical campuses of senior living communities have evolved with these changing expectations. Senior living has transformed from something adults dread to something adults are excited about.
What retirement looks like today
As a result of all of the changes we’ve discussed, retirement today looks a lot different than it did even a few years ago. Today’s seniors – especially those living in retirement communities – are more active than ever before. They’re hiking, biking, swimming, working out, and keeping up a friendly competition with their peers.
Today’s seniors are enjoying real luxury in retirement. They’re cooking only when they want to, and enjoying five-star meals that cater to their diets, preferences, and even their personal beliefs when they don’t want to cook. They’re spending time laughing with peers, sampling wines, and traveling instead of maintaining their yards and homes.
Today’s seniors enjoy set living expenses – even utilities – with a peace of mind. If their needs change, their community can accommodate the change. They won’t have to uproot and move to an unfamiliar setting with unfamiliar faces should they need help with personal care or medications.
To debunk more senior living myths, schedule a tour today!
Cambridge Village of Wilmington is the area’s premier resort-style retirement community, offering the conveniences and amenities that you’d expect from a luxury independent retirement community. We take a holistic approach to health, treating the whole person and focusing on well-being in every area: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual. Ultimately, we offer a community that makes people feel at home and an environment they can thrive in.