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How Life Plan Communities Benefit Seniors

Seniors enjoy a cards of dominoes at a life plan community.

According to a landmark senior living study by the Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, residents of Life Plan Communities are healthier, live longer and have a better quality of life overall than seniors living at home.

Sometimes known as “Continuing Care Retirement Communities” (CCRC), Life Plan Communities offer more than one level of care at the same location. In these communities, residents can transition seamlessly through the various levels of care provided. For example, seniors can initially downsize to an independent living garden home and should their health needs change, receive additional supportive services like assisted living care and memory support.

Life Plan Communities offer a true way to age in place. Not only do they provide peace of mind for the future, but they also offer a vibrant lifestyle for senior residents. Maintenance-free senior living at a Life Plan Community provides convenient amenities such as housekeeping, social activities, dining plans, recreational opportunities, and so much more.

Life Plan Communities and the Dimensions of Wellness

The five-year Age Well Study is being conducted by Mather Institute and Northwestern University. The research team surveyed more than 5,100 residents in Life Plan Communities across the nation. The study showed that life plan communities benefit the health and well-being of residents in 5 dimensions of wellness – social, intellectual, physical, emotional, and vocational. Results reveal the following:

1. Emotional Wellness

Emotional wellness involves the capacity to manage and express feelings, recognize feelings in yourself and others, control stress, problem solve, and manage success and failure. Being more resilient to difficult events is associated with better quality of life. Life Plan Community residents report:

  • A greater satisfaction with life
  • High levels of optimism and low levels of pessimism
  • Fairly low levels of stress and hopelessness

2. Social Wellness

Social wellness emphasizes creating and maintaining healthy relationships by talking, sharing interests, and actively participating in social events. Evidence suggests that social connections and support have important implications for an individual’s physical and mental health. In Life Plan Communities:

  • 69% of residents said that moving to a life plan community “somewhat or greatly improved” their social wellness.
  • Seniors feel a strong sense of community belonging and closeness with other residents
  • Participants have relatively low levels of loneliness, and are less lonely than other seniors living at home.

3. Physical Wellness

Physical wellness refers to regular engagement in physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, and appropriate utilization of health care, as well as engaging in healthy behaviors such as getting enough sleep and maintaining personal safety.

Overall, residents of Life Plan Communities have better physical wellness and less chronic conditions compared to older adults in the community at large. One likely factor is the presence of fitness centers and wellness services typically available in Life Plan Communities.

4. Intellectual Wellness

Intellectual wellness involves expanding knowledge and skills through a variety of resources, as well as through stimulating and creative activities. Intellectual wellness also contributes to maintaining cognitive function. Interesting findings from the Age Well study:

  • 96% of residents surveyed read a book or newspaper at least once per week.
  • Residents of Life Plan Communities engage in intellectual activities more often than older adults living at home.
  • Life Plan Community residents are likely to have more time to spend pursuing their intellectual interests, because less time is needed for home upkeep and maintenance.

5. Vocational Wellness

Vocational wellness refers to finding and pursuing one’s calling in life, including throughout retirement. This can take the form of achieving personal and occupational interests through meaningful activities, including occupations, learning new skills, volunteering, and developing new interests or hobbies. Life Plan Community residents reported:

  • A strong sense of purpose in life
  • Satisfaction with life after retirement
  • Participating in volunteer work more often than seniors who live at home

“The Age Well Study shows that Life Plan Communities offer tremendous opportunities for resident well-being. “We know that life plan communities offer opportunity rich environments with programs, services, amenities and health care, which support wellness,” said Mary Leary, President and CEO, Mather LifeWays. “The five-year study will inform the industry for years to come. But beyond simply providing data, these results may motivate more people to consider a Life Plan Community.”

Comprehensive Senior Wellness Programs at Peabody Retirement Community

At Peabody Retirement Community, the eight dimensions of wellness are present every day in the lives of our residents. From enjoying personal training in our innovative Billie Jane Strauss Wellness Center to a variety of activities to designed to enhance your mind, body, and spirit, we are dedicated to promoting the highest level of overall wellness for seniors. For more information about life at our active retirement community in North Manchester, Indiana, please contact us today by calling (260) 982-8616.

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