As you begin to explore options for the next chapter in your life, many terms for communities available to seniors may come your way, from “assisted living” to “village setting” to “continuing care retirement community.”
Older adults are often interested in leaving their current homes. Still, they worry a retirement community that meets their current independent living goals may be less suitable if their health needs change.
A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) lets residents move into independent-living apartments, but allows for a transition to assisted living or skilled nursing situations if the need arises. Not only is this situation ideal for many people, but current studies underscore the benefits.
CCRCs Encourage a Healthy, Well-Rounded Lifestyle
A major longevity study conducted by Washington State University examined what factors influenced the longer lifespans of people. Many of the healthier elements the study identified can be found at CCRCs.
For example, access to walking and biking trails made it easier for seniors to get the fresh-air workouts necessary for good health. Doing some kind of cardio exercise for about half an hour most days of the week reduces your risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease — while minimizing the impact if you already have them. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking also reduce the effects of osteoporosis.
The Washington State study found another, sometimes-overlooked benefit. People living in a CCRC who have difficulty driving can walk or bike to buy medications or healthy foods when they are in neighborhoods near shops and services.
Deupree House in Cincinnati, Ohio, is located in Hyde Park, a scenic neighborhood with restaurants, salons, parks, and other fun places. It also has many of these services on campus if you prefer to stay close to home.
So how does this add up to health, in “hard numbers”? Yet another study found that older people living in CCRC-type communities spent about 12 fewer days in hospitals than others their age and were about 75 percent more physically active.
CCRCs Foster Sense of Community
Additional research has focused specifically on CCRCs. The Mather Institute is conducting an ongoing “Age Well Study,” which follows thousands of residents of CCRCs across the country.
The study looked at life and health situations, including a sense of connection with other people. More than two-thirds of respondents noted that moving to a CCRC had significantly improved their social wellness.
Much like other types of wellness, social wellness is crucial for staying physically and mentally healthy. For those who move to this kind of retirement community soon after losing a spouse, the benefits of being surrounded by many people in similar situations are invaluable.
Whether single or as couples, new residents of CCRCs soon learn the benefits of a community in which activities and events are regular features. These help people find like-minded friends who might enjoy book clubs or theater outings as much as they do.
CCRCs Accommodate Your Evolving Needs
Not surprisingly, one of the most compelling benefits of moving to a continuing care retirement community is increased access to more health care services. It’s human nature to put off going to the doctor about a “probably nothing” wound or cough. But easy access to medical professionals keeps those minor worries from turning into significant concerns.
On the longer-term front, CCRCs tend to provide more varied health services than seniors otherwise would enjoy, including those associated with skilled nursing and memory care services. That range also means that married residents can have services customized to each spouse.
An Institute on Aging study found that access to the range of health and wellness services at CCRCs resulted in an overall higher level of health for those residents than in other seniors they surveyed. This included better diets and an increase in other healthy behaviors.
Explore the Benefits for Yourself
One CCRC option to consider is the Deupree House premier retirement community.
Our Senior Living services are ideal for independent residents who prefer to live life on their terms, just like they always have. The only difference between this community and your home is the wide variety of programs and activities to participate in — if you choose — and our professional, compassionate staff. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a tour.