Are you considering moving a loved one or yourself to a assisted living or independent senior community? In the past, it was assumed that a senior care community would provide the medical attention and personal care seniors may need as they age. And it still is. But many of today’s senior communities place equal attention on the residents’ mind and spirit as they do on the body, and with good reason.
Seniors who fill their days with fulfilling activities and social events can avoid depression more easily, and when the brain is kept active, it can actually delay the effects of Alzheimer’s, dementia and other memory-related illnesses.
Let’s take a look at some of the many services and activities available in today’s nursing homes, assisted living communities and independent senior communities that serve the residents’ bodies, minds and spirits.
Although the common phrase is typically “mind, body, spirit,” we’re putting body first on the list, as traditional senior care has focused on keeping the body healthy first. In addition to providing some basic medical care and medical monitoring, assisted living communities make it easy and convenient for seniors to see their medical providers off site, by scheduling appointments, arranging transportation and, often, providing free transportation. Some assisted living communities also have on-site medical professionals to make it even more convenient for seniors to receive check-ups, emergency care, follow-up care and physical therapy.
In addition to medical care, assisted living facilities offer varying levels of personal care to keep resident’s bodies well-cared-for. Personal care may include help with bathing and personal hygience, as well as help choosing outfits and getting dressed. When you look good, you feel better, and these small things, which may become difficult as we age, make a big difference in quality of life.
But care for the body doesn’t stop there. (We mentioned this one was important!) Seniors in good health can maintain their physical fitness with activities ranging from ballroom dancing to walking and Wii bowling.
It’s important to keep the body fine-tuned and, certainly, everything is easier when we feel better. But a truly fulfilling senior lifestyle includes mental stimulation, too. Activities coordinators at today’s senior communities make sure to give residents plenty of opportunities to stay sharp, with classes, lectures, cultural outings and game nights.
For seniors who find it difficult to get around or participate in group activities, the right senior community should provide opportunities for residents to connect with staff or volunteers during mentally stimulating and creative activities, such as reading, drawing, scrapbooking, playing a musical instrument, or just participating in good, intelligent conversation.
People define spirit in many ways. For some, it could mean staying connected to their roots and heritage. Others might define it as practicing a specific religion. Still others may see “spirit” as synonymous with “spirituality,” or simply as being connected with others in a meaningful way.
When you’re choosing a senior community, be sure to find out how the community addresses the “spirit” portion of the mind/body/spirit triad, and if it matches the idea you or your loved one have regarding nurturing the spirit.
Social events where residents can have meaningful engagements with family, other residents and the staff may be important for nurturing the spirit. Some senior communities tailor specifically to residents of a certain heritage, culture or religion — this may be something to seek out. However you or your aging loved ones define spirituality, it’s an important component to a fulfilling life at any age.
SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (866) 662-0435 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.