AP NEWS

Chris Barstein New study explores aging well

March 25, 2019

We like choices in life. We enjoy selecting from dozens of flavors of ice cream or choosing from numerous musical genres to find songs that match our personality. Sometimes, however, when it comes to the big choices, lots of options can seem daunting. For many older adults or their loved ones, that can certainly be the case when it comes time to make the big decisions about retirement.

Some retirement communities offer only independent living. Some offer only assisted living. Others, like our community here at Edgehill, offer a continuum of care, so if or when it comes time to ensure successful aging, you’ll stay within the community.

Life Plan Communities (also called Continuing Care Retirement Communities), such as Edgehill, give residents a home for life, as well as care. In addition to an independent living residence and access to every community service and amenity, residents have unlimited access to skilled nursing, home health, rehabilitation and memory support services, as long as they need it.

In newly released one-year data from the Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging’s “Age Well Study,” Life Plan Community residents pursue more intellectual activities, including reading, games, seminars or other educational offerings, and they use social media and meet with friends more often than older adults within the community at large.

Keeping your mind active is just as important as keeping your body active — especially for seniors. At Edgehill, residents can stay active in our Fit for Life series, learn another language in our Italian class, or enjoy time with friends at the community pub. Plus, residents can attend our weekly music event or poker night, or learn Tai Chi.

The study also revealed that residents of Life Plan Communities are emotionally healthier and have greater social contact, which is an important point to remember. As we age, having a close circle of trusted friends makes life more enjoyable. Knowing you have people you can count on through all life’s ups and downs gives peace of mind. As we age, those relationships impact our mental and physical well-being even more. Retirement often brings changes to a person’s social network. Whether it’s leaving social circles or relocating, challenges arise that make it difficult to start new friendships. At Life Plan Communities, there are numerous opportunities for one to stay social; in fact, it’s almost impossible to avoid it. Whether having dinner with friends, exploring the local community, or attending the weekly wine and cheese social, staying connected has been proven to aid in longevity and happiness.

The biggest take away from the “Age Well Study” is that Life Plan Community residents had more favorable average scores on all measures of physical, social and intellectual wellness. This may be because Life Plan Communities tend to offer environments rich in services, programs, amenities, and opportunities that support overall health and well-being.

Choosing a retirement community can be daunting. But while you can’t predict the future, Life Plan Communities will have you prepared for it.

Chris Barstein is executive director at Edgehill, a senior living community in Stamford.