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Is Your Loved One Ready for Independent Living?

Independent living communities can be a positive first step for seniors who cannot or no longer wish to
live alone. As our loved ones begin to age, it is imperative to make their lifestyle changes as easy as
possible. Many families have found that senior communities can be very beneficial for their loved ones,
particularly if the transition is seamless. These facilities often include nice amenities and activities
perfectly suited to seniors.

Sometimes seniors may have negative feelings toward moving into a senior living community. Many feel
like they are giving up their home, their life, and their independence. However, independent living
facilities may be ideal because they can still provide a decent level of independence in a comfortable,
safe atmosphere. Reputable facilities will do whatever it takes to make everyone involved comfortable.
How do you know if your loved one is ready to make this transition? How can you encourage them to
make this step? Here are a few benefits to independent living centers that may help in making that
decision:

Maintain a Social Calendar

A major advantage to senior communities is the amount of social interaction they provide. Most
facilities offer many activities for their tenants, allowing people to get together, transitional living
program and interact with one another. It is vitally important for seniors to maintain an active, social
lifestyle as much as possible. Social activities can ward off any feelings of depression and can keep their
minds sharp and active. Additionally, many centers offer social outings to events off-site, like concerts or
plays.

Living with Less Stress

Independent living centers can offer a very low-stress environment for seniors and their families.
Families do not have to wonder about the safety of their loved one since most facilities have very strict
security measures in place. Any accidents that may occur in individual residences, such as falls or other
injuries, will be quickly met with immediate medical assistance. Most facilities have a plethora of
activities available, all of which are very relaxing, transitional living programs for young women and
stress-free. Overall, anything that needs to be taken care of with regard to the tenant is typically
handled by the facility, leaving both the tenants and their families with few details to worry about.

Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

Some facilities include fitness centers, as well as dietitians and fitness trainers on staff. They may even
include a swimming pool for exercise and for leisure. Most fitness activities include low impact exercise,
yoga, water aerobics, and walking.

When our loved ones reach a certain age, some hard decisions will need to be made. However, these
decisions do not have to be completely negative. It is important to discuss everything thoroughly with
your loved one and explain all of the options available to them. If their mind is still sharp and their
bodies are quite active, independent living may be a positive step in the right direction.
Make Independent Living Fuller With Intergenerational
Bonding Opportunities
In the past, adolescents and their elders shared hobbies and vocations, crossed paths, and meaningfully
interacted in communities that upheld intergenerational values. Rifts in technological comprehension,
shifts in community demographics and family structure, and even urbanization have led to the isolation
of populations separated by age. Though intergenerational contact has been on the decline in the last
few decades, new programs throughout the US, within and beyond independent living facilities, have
sought to reintegrate youth and elders into common spaces. Research tells of the mutual benefits of
bringing these populations together to improve the quality of life for both while challenging the negative
effects and stereotypes of ageism. These programs go far beyond simply volunteering a handful of hours
per week at independent living centers to include creative uses of technology, mutually advantageous
cohabitation opportunities, independent living program and urban renewal projects. It is important for
retirees engaging in independent living to forge bonds outside of their home community.

Interconnectivity with Technology

Intergenerational programs have become increasingly creative with the use of technology such as Skype.
Younger generations are now able to connect and communicate with seniors to learn new languages.
This online platform gives language learners a novel opportunity to speak with experienced seniors, who
are often more prone to feelings of isolation. Elsewhere, teens and the elderly are being convened in
digital learning environments to share and preserve oral histories. Collaboratively produced and
recorded in myriad digital and analog formats, these stories become modes of meaningful connection
between the generation of LOL and yesteryear. Such programs are even facilitated by major universities
such as Pennsylvania State's Center for Digital Storytelling. Finally, in regions where local dialects were
once prevalent, language-learning programs in which elders are put in the role of teacher emphasize
language preservation and continuance among youth.

Person-to-Person Interaction

Recently independent living facilities have also offered to opportunity for college-age student to dorm in
their quarters with little to no expenses when they spend a portion of their time interacting with their
senior counterparts. Outside of this model, new art programs have integrated high school students with
retirees in public art programs to create murals and mosaics. The art of creation and of settling on
common artistic themes becomes a point of confluence, programs for young adults and a channel for
communicating shared beliefs while bringing together diverse aesthetic tastes. Urban gardening projects
offer a similar mode of bonding in which an extended project, such as growing crops, can lead to
opportunities for physical activity as well as extended dialog among participants. In both cases, having a
finished product can lead to feelings of productivity while creating educative environments in non-
traditional and more informal settings. Cooking classes are excellent arenas for learning and connectivity
giving those advanced in age a chance to share particular family recipes or specific cultural foods.
Adolescent participants not only absorb this knowledge, but can also help in the safe preparation of
meals. The process of making and sharing a meal leads to storytelling, social intimacy, and feelings of
self-worth.