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How Moving to a Senior Living Community Can Help Seniors Maintain Their Independence

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With what is sometimes called a “silver tsunami” swelling the ranks of seniors in America, there’s no doubt that senior independence is on the minds of a growing number of people. How can older adults remain active, healthy — and independent — as they age? It turns out, a number of factors support healthy aging, from lifestyle choices to living arrangements, like senior independent living. Here’s what you need to know about how to stay independent as you age.

The Benefit of Prudent Lifestyle Choices

Making healthy lifestyle choices in your younger years tends to pay dividends when it comes to the aging process. A study at Sweden’s Uppsala University followed the health and habits of men over the course of decades to determine which habits predicted independence in later life. Those who were still independent in their 80s — with independence defined as having no symptoms of dementia and being able to walk outside, bathe and dress themselves unassisted — shared three traits. They were:

  • Nonsmokers. The men who never smoked were twice as likely to remain independent in their senior years.
  • Healthy eaters. The men who were independent preferred a Mediterranean-style diet, consisting primarily of fish, fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts, with very little meat or dairy products. In fact, healthy eating patterns made the men three times more likely to enjoy independence in their later years.
  • Low in abdominal fat. Having a waistline that measured less than 40 inches had more bearing on independence in later life than weight in general.

But even if healthy living wasn’t your style in your younger years, it’s never too late to turn over a new leaf. A study of 2,375 men with a mean age of 72 found that those who exercised two to four times a week, didn’t smoke and maintained a normal weight had a 54% chance of living to 90.

The Advantage of Supportive Living Arrangements

If lifestyle affects successful aging, it’s important to make sure your living arrangements foster healthy habits. And while many of us associate independence with remaining in our homes for as long as possible, aging in place, as it’s sometimes called, may not be the best option for healthy aging. Getting older can cause a decline in your abilities, which can leave you feeling confined in your home, rather than independent. As you get older, a decline in health or stamina may affect your ability to:

  • Maintain your home and yard
  • Drive to the grocery story, social engagements, or medical appointments
  • Prepare healthy meals
  • Access the wellness opportunities that support health

The Perks of Senior Living Communities

Senior independent living in a retirement community can be an ideal alternative to aging in place. You enjoy all the independence you’ve had in your home — with a comfortable private apartment and the freedom to spend your day as you like — but with amenities and services that support successful aging. Housekeeping, groundskeeping and maintenance are taken care of for you. A meal plan means you can leave most of the cooking to someone else. An on-campus fitness center and classes make it easy for you to engage in a health-promoting wellness practice, while an active social calendar ensures that you’ll be able to enjoy getting to know your new neighbors.

With all the advantages to be found in independent senior living, many seniors report an increase in their satisfaction and sense of independence after they move to a retirement community. One study found that older adults in senior living communities enjoy a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Less loneliness
  • Greater enjoyment of life
  •  Increased activity
  • A sense of security
  • Better health
  • New friendships
  • A feeling of more control over their lives

Senior Independent Living at Parkwood

If greater enjoyment of life and fewer household worries sound appealing, you’ll love the independent living lifestyle at Parkwood. In our pleasant community, residents and staff members will become friends, and you’ll feel right at home in your comfortable apartment on our lovely wooded campus. With our fitness center, exercise classes, group activities and scheduled transportation, you’ll find a full and rewarding life here at Parkwood. And if you experience a health setback, you have priority access to a continuum of care on the same campus. Contact us for more information or to schedule a tour.

You Are Invited to Experience Our Community!

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