There are so many decisions to be made about what we want our retirements to look like. The fact is that any man or woman in their sixties has so much more life to live and new experiences to discover. Age may seem like a large determining factor of what you can and cannot achieve in your older life. This, could be the biggest misconception that is explored today. Age is more than a number; it is a mindset and your physical body will stay younger for longer the more you take care of it.
We may think we know what aging entails, but the reality is that post-retirement life is as individual and unique as any working life. Here are 7 common misconceptions about growing older:
Being a senior is lonely and isolated
This is simply not true. Humans are naturally social creatures, who thrive amongst community. The same way our lives are bettered by the family, friends and communities we surround ourselves with growing up does not change as we grow older. Thanks to advances in communication, the progress of retirement communities and ubiquity of modern travel, you do not have to worry so much about your loved ones becoming inaccessible over distance or time. Not to mention, seniors will continue to make new friends and meet new people as you have over your entire life.
Your health will always be determined by family history
A very common misconception is that your health outcomes will match those of your parents and grandparents. Yes, genetics do have a small impact on your health outcomes and longevity, however there are a multitude of other factors that play a much larger role in determining your overall wellbeing. Your health is more likely to be influenced by other factors, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, sleeping well, not smoking and drinking less and taking care of your mental health.
Seniors are weak or frail
It is often assumed that old people will, inevitably, lose their physical strength, mobility and resilience. This is absolutely not true, staying active and exercising regularly can help you build muscle, develop your flexibility and improve your bone density well-into your older years. Activities like yoga, swimming, daily walks, gardening and even household chores can all help keep you fit and in tiptop shape. This can include decreasing your blood pressure and incredible benefits for your mental health, such as preventing symptoms of anxiety, depression or senility.
All old people are senile
Many older people do experience some forgetfulness and a slight slowing in their problem-solving ability, but this is a far cry from becoming senile or suffering from dementia. Keeping your wherewithal and maintaining your mental capacity is more than a possibility. Symptoms of age-related mental decline, like all other symptoms of aging, can be thwarted by a variety of mental and physical activities. Staying physically active, maintaining a nutritious and balanced diet, learning new skills and keeping up with old ones can all help you keep your mental acuity even into your senior years.
Older people struggle to learn new skills
Teaching seniors’ new skills, or seniors learning new skills themselves, is much more common than people think. While the speed and ways in which we learn may change over time, ongoing research suggests that our ability to learn remains steady as we age. We develop, grow and craft our ability to learn new skills over many decades and these tools and information-gathering abilities continue to serve us as we grow older.
Old people are terrified of technology
There is seemingly endless rhetoric about old people being confused, intimidated or, possibly, terrified by new technology. This could not be further from the truth, seniors around the world are exploring new technologies, such as the computers, cell phones and the internet, every single day. Smart devices and the incredible advancements in video calls and instant messaging have proven to be an amazing way for seniors to stay in-touch with there family and friends, despite potential growth in physical distance.
Seniors should not be part of making important life decisions
A common – and dangerous – misconception is that with age seniors will begin to lose their ability to think clearly and their interest in life-altering decisions. This goes as far as to assume that they cannot track current events or even some events in their own orbit. This is wrong.
Involving seniors in the decision-making process is actually a critical means of keeping them engaged, happy, secure and fulfilled. Important decisions regarding their personal healthcare and finances or selling their home and moving into a retirement community should always include the person who if affects most and who has the most to gain from making good life decisions.
For years, Manor Retirement has avoided these misconceptions and have treated all of our retirees with the respect and dignity that they have earned and deserve in their post-work life. Our retirement villages have fostered supportive and engaging communities that help so many thrive in their retirement. For more information, contact us at Manor Retirement.
Deciding to move into an assisted living community can be an important decision and daunting change for those people and their families who make that choice. Your home was built over years within the neighbourhood and community that you chose. Your regular shops are nearby and your fondest memories were made in those rooms.
It is vital to appreciate the significance of moving out of your home. Whether you are downsizing, relocating or adjusting to new physical or mental health needs, your decision to move to an assisted living community should be the hardest part of that transition.
The potential stress and frustration that could occur when underestimating the impact of moving, is the most common mistake made by the families and individuals embarking on this new journey. But, when planned with care and consideration, starting this new chapter could be a seamless transition and exciting new opportunity.
Big changes often induce reluctance, but by making more informed decisions and defining clearer preferences, those changes become more manageable. Thankfully, there are more and better assisted living facilities around today than ever before and they are well-equipped to help you make a smooth transition and welcoming home.
Making a smooth transition
This move is not an individual act and is made much easier with the support of a loving family and help of the community you are about to enter. The tools, care and practices that can be undertaken for the benefit of new residents by them and their families are varied and personal, but unmistakably important.
Here is a list of things to consider and steps to take when moving into an assisted living community, for that future resident and their family support system:
Find a Community Together
As mentioned, finding the right community for you will take careful consideration and a keen eye. It is important that you and your loved ones are all involved in all the decision-making processes. By involving the family, they are afforded peace of mind and feel reassured that you are making the right decision together. The more involved you are in choosing your home, the more confident and comfortable you can feel in your decision.
Make Use of Available Resources
Do not go through the potential struggles of extensive packing, travelling and organising required when moving to a new home. Invest in an experienced moving company or professional organisers who are capable of streamlining the processes of downsizing, decluttering, prioritising or just fitting into the new space.
It Takes Time
A home is not made overnight and settling in can take time. After years of creating cherished memories and curating their perfect home environment, a new space that feels as good will need time and patience. If a loved one is unable to take care of themselves or they are considering a different kind of homeownership: a healthy, safe, accessible, friendly and inviting community can become the home they need and deserve, given the time.
Bring Your Cherished Possessions
Surround yourself with items and possessions that bring you joy and comfort. Consider bringing a favourite lounger or your most inspiring literature – the things that make you feel at home. This may include precious family photos, heirlooms or artwork. Have reminders of the home you and your family have shared, design the space in a way that suits you and help build new memories for all of you.
This is for the children, grandchildren, friends and acquaintances of loved ones who are moving into an assisted living facility. There is the potential to feel isolated and unwanted when anyone relocates from their established home; if those around them do not keep in contact. The strongest predictors of a smooth and happy transition are the maintaining of quality time spent with friends and family as well as integrating into their new social circles.
Making New Friends
Whether you are nine or ninety years old, making new friends can be hard to do. Something that makes it easier for all of us is entering into a new social circle. Like most of our retired population, these new social circles will be filled with an incredible array of life stories, interests and experiences. Eating lunch or playing cards with new friends could have a hugely positive impact on your community experience.
Take Part in Activities
All of the best assisted living facilities provide a wide selection of recreational activities that keep all members of the community engaged, active and social. By joining in on these activities, the previously unfamiliar faces that you see at breakfast or on your morning walk will fast become your teammates, competition, supporters and partners. Try out the different hobbies, arts, exercise and games that are organised regularly for the community.
Don’t Change Everything
Many men and women who are moving into an assisted living community are at a stage in their life where they may be struggling with their mental and physical health or even with residential upkeep. The change is usually a needed one and will benefit the new resident, their family and the community they are joining, tremendously.
However, keeping the size and scope of the changes to a minimum can help make the transition even smoother. Dinner dates with friends, game nights with grandchildren, church on Sunday or monthly family lunches are just as important to maintain as anything else. Adjusting to new surroundings are much easier when you do it with the people you love.
At Manor Retirement, we know how to make you or your loved one’s transition into assisted living as easy and gratifying as possible. For more information about our incredible communities, contact Manor Retirement.