Health and Wellness

Health and Wellness Services

55+ communities do not typically provide on-site healthcare facilities. However, they are often strategically located near health care providers, hospitals, and emergency services to ensure residents have easy access to medical care. Many communities may offer transportation services to nearby healthcare facilities for added convenience. In case of emergencies, residents can call 911 or use local emergency services.

How Do 55+ Communities Handle Health Care and Emergency Services?

55+ communities often prioritize physical fitness and wellness by offering a range of amenities, programs, and activities that cater to the health needs and interests of their residents. Here’s how these communities promote physical fitness and wellness:

  • Fitness Centers: Many 55+ communities feature well-equipped fitness centers with exercise machines, weights, and other equipment for cardiovascular and strength training.
  • Group Exercise Classes: Communities often offer a variety of group exercise classes such as yoga, pilates, aerobics, water aerobics, tai chi, and dance.
  • Walking and Biking Trails: Communities may have designated walking paths, hiking trails, or biking trails within or around the neighborhood, encouraging residents to engage in outdoor physical activity.
  • Swimming Pools: Swimming pools, including lap pools and recreational pools, provide a low-impact way to exercise and stay fit.
  • Sports Facilities: Some communities have sports facilities like tennis courts, pickleball courts, golf courses, and bocce ball courts where residents can engage in friendly competitions and stay active.
  • Wellness Centers: Wellness centers often offer services such as health screenings, wellness consultations, and educational seminars to help residents make informed decisions about their health.
  • Fitness Challenges and Contests: These events can encourage friendly competition and motivate residents to reach their fitness goals.
  • Outdoor Recreation: In addition to traditional fitness activities, communities might provide opportunities for outdoor activities like gardening, bird watching, and outdoor meditation.
  • Health Clubs and Social Clubs: Specialized clubs focusing on health and fitness interests, such as running clubs or cycling clubs, can foster camaraderie and accountability.
  • Lecture Series and Educational Seminars: Communities may host health and wellness seminars covering topics such as stress management, mindfulness, and healthy aging.
  • Collaboration with Local Health Providers: Some communities partner with local healthcare providers to offer on-site medical services, screenings, and wellness programs.
  • Social Engagement: Social events and clubs that encourage interaction and active participation can contribute to residents’ overall well-being.

Not Your Mama’s Retirement: 55+ Communities Help Active Adults Stay Fit

Care Needs

There are significant differences between 55+ communities, also known as active adult communities or age-restricted communities, and other types of senior living. 55+ communities are typically designed for active and independent seniors. Just as in a typical neighborhood, residents own or rent their homes but may pay HOA fees which cover landscaping and community upkeep. 55+ communities offer amenities for active adults including golf courses, swimming pools, sports facilities, clubhouses, and more. Unlike other types of senior care active adult communities do not offer healthcare or assistance with activities of daily living. Assisted living provides help with daily activities, memory care is designed for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and skilled nursing facilities offer 24/7 medical care for those with serious health conditions.

Active Adult vs. Independent vs. Continuing Care Retirement Communities: Which One Is Right for You?

Residents of active adult communities are free to choose their daily activities. Many 55+ communities offer classes, groups, activities, and live entertainment, allowing residents to choose their level of participation. Active adult communities don’t have many of the restrictions required of assisted or independent living residents. Some assisted living facilities do not allow pets, while most active adult communities do. There are also stricter guest policies and mealtime regulations in assisted living, while active adult communities allow more freedom.

6 Ways a Maintenance-Free Community Gives You More Freedom

Consult your doctor or another health care professional as your health needs change, and discuss your concerns about your current living situation. If you are still able to perform your usual daily activities, you may be able to continue living in an active adult community. If you and your doctor decide that having daily assistance with regular tasks is necessary, you may want to consider a move to an assisted living or independent living facility.

Is Assisted Living or an Active Adult Community Right for You?

Balancing the desire for independence with potential future care needs in a 55+ active adult community requires thoughtful planning and consideration. While these communities are designed to promote independent living, it’s important to acknowledge the possibility of changing health or care requirements as you age. Here are some strategies to help you strike a balance:

  • Plan Ahead: Even if you’re currently healthy and independent, it’s wise to plan for potential care needs. Discuss your future care plans with your family members so they understand your wishes and can provide support and guidance as needed. This might involve creating advanced directives, and designating a healthcare proxy. Advocate for your preferences and participate in discussions with caregivers and healthcare professionals.
  • Stay Active and Healthy: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you remain independent for longer. Focus on regular exercise, a balanced diet, and routine health check-ups to catch any issues early.
  • Stay Socially Engaged: Active participation in community events and social activities can help combat isolation and support your mental and emotional well-being. Build relationships with your neighbors and other residents. Having a supportive community around you can provide assistance and companionship when needed.
  • Stay Informed: Continuously educate yourself about the care services available within and near the community. Understand what options are available for different levels of care and what criteria need to be met to access them.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Consider investing in long-term care insurance, which can help cover the costs of assisted living, nursing care, and other services should you need them in the future.
  • Regular Assessments: Periodically assess your health, mobility, and overall well-being. Be proactive in addressing any changes or concerns that could impact your ability to live independently.

55+ communities are often conveniently located near quality health care. This typically means that hospitals, medical centers, urgent care facilities, and other health centers are within a short drive of many active adult communities. On the other hand, communities in rural areas are more likely to be farther from medical facilities, though even these communities may be close to at least one primary care physician, urgent care center, or hospital.

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