(Editor’s note: This content is sponsored by Acts Retirement-Life Communities.)
Retirement can be a rich, rewarding time where you have the freedom to pursue your hobbies, travel more or spend your days doting on your grandkids. Sometimes, however, the responsibilities of home ownership can put a damper on all your plans and dreams. If that describes you, it might be time to learn about the perks of independent living communities.
Independent living communities are amenity-rich environments where older adults can take advantage of living in a vibrant neighborhood without the burden of household maintenance and chores. If you’re healthy and want to be social and active in your community, independent living offers the best of both worlds: an independent and feature-rich lifestyle with great amenities, excursions and more.
Lawn care, home repairs, upkeep and annual property taxes are just some of the homeownership realities that people leave behind when they move to one of these carefree living communities. But the services and perks don’t stop there. Here are some lesser-known perks you might find at any given independent living community.
1. Hobbies and Activities
Forget the bingo room or the knitting circle. Many of today’s independent living communities have gotten serious about their hobby groups and now offer upscale facilities for all types of hobbies. As you tour different communities, ask about opportunities for pursuing new interests or developing old ones. Here’s what you can look forward to at some of the more progressive communities these days:
Imagine a dance studio, with trained instructors and a variety of classes, that was free to use at your leisure. Many of today’s communities offer a studio space in which to learn, perfect or diversity your dance moves. Worried that you don’t know the first thing about swing, salsa, tap or tango? No problem — there are instructors prepared to help all levels of experience.
If dance class isn’t something that interests you, it’s time to do some soul searching and find an activity that suits you. Click here to read about the importance of retirement hobbies.
2. Resort-Style Recreation
Since many of today’s independent living communities are centered around recreational opportunities, it’s not uncommon to find some that are near the shoreline. If your idea of relaxation is a walk on the beach, watching the waves roll in or diving into a good book while the water kisses your toes, you may find that a coastal community near the beach is perfect for you.
Maybe your idea of heaven is living close to a fairway of a lovely golf course. There are plenty of independent living developments whose focal point is just that. It’s just another way you can pursue your passions by choosing the right independent living community.
One of the great things about these communities is the chance to meet people who have similar interests and passions. It makes for a convivial community where people enjoy getting together not just to talk or eat but to be active and explore the area together, too. Nowhere is that truer than in an independent living community that’s designed to attract serious road cyclists. They might offer regular group rides and tours and even travel opportunities for cycling together in foreign countries.
Mind, body and spirit
While you’ll find yoga classes at most senior living communities these days, this is on a whole other level. Some independent communities place an emphasis on nurturing all three aspects of wellness: mind, body and spirit. That means not just yoga classes but yoga retreats and other ways to explore wellness on a deeper level. It also means other kinds of wellness programs as well: tai chi, reiki, spiritual exploration, nature walks and a whole host of other life enrichment programs. When you tour the different communities you’re thinking of moving to, ask if there’s a wellness director.
3. Hidden Health Benefits
People choose independent living because they want to escape the burden of home ownership and move to a home where they have easy access to recreational and social perks like those described above. There are even more benefits and perks to be enjoyed when you make this transition, and many have to do with your health.
Two of the best ways to stay healthy and keep feeling young are walking and laughing. Most independent living communities provide ample opportunity to do both. From nature paths to walking clubs as well as fitness centers and outings, there’s no shortage of ways you can add up those steps every day.
As for laughter, well that’s also something you’ll find in spades!
That’s because socializing leads to good times and more laughter. Whether it’s enjoying a funny movie at the community theater or joking with one another over a casual dinner, people who live in independent communities find themselves exercising their funny bone more often than they can keep track of. And if we follow the research, we know that scientists are telling us that laughter is one of the building blocks of healthy aging.
Bonus: Many independent living communities have active spiritual or religious groups. Click here to read more about addressing the spiritual needs of retirees.
4. A Healthy Mind
Socialization is good for you in many ways. One of them is that it keeps you sharp. Talking, listening, sharing, expressing yourself and all the other mental tasks we perform when we get together with friends or participate in group activities are good for the brain. They keep those neurons firing and stimulate your brain cells so they don’t lose functionality from lack of use. Just like your muscles, your brain needs to be exercised as well.
Socializing isn’t the only way to gain those brain benefits. Take advantage of the classes available in your new community and you can keep your mind sharp, too. And one final perk is that staying sharp by exercising your mind can help ward off Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Above and Beyond
Every community is different. The array of services and perks you encounter at one community may be different from those that you find at another. But there is one thing they all have in common, and that’s the level of service they offer above and beyond what you’ll find at a more standard 55+ neighborhood of single homes or townhomes.
In addition, independent living is just as the name implies: for folks who don’t need assistance with the tasks of daily living. It’s all about convenience, community and a carefree lifestyle. In other words, more time for you to do what you truly love doing!
Thinking about retirement and possibly an independent living community? Read this article to better understand how to financially prepare for retirement and what you will need to retire comfortably.
Acts Retirement-Life Communities is the largest not-for-profit owner, operator and developer of continuing care retirement communities in the United States. Headquartered in suburban Philadelphia, Acts has a family of 23 retirement communities that serve approximately 8,500 residents and employ 6,200 in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. For more information about Acts visit actsretirement.org.
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