Given the choice, many individuals choose to continue living in their house rather than make a move as they age. Our houses are the place where we have built a home with milestones and memories. However, the house might also become a barrier to independence: when stairs present a challenge, home maintenance grows overwhelming, and being alone feels lonely.
“We meet many people who feel a sense of loyalty to a house but really live only in the living room, kitchen and maybe a bedroom,” says Sarah Barger, Administrator at Jennings at Brecksville. “When they move to a new assisted living residence, they regain independence. They become physically stronger because they are walking more. They regain abilities because barriers like stairs are removed and choices like transportation are provided.”
While the downsizing can be difficult and emotional, life in assisted living residences can bring many types of independence. Contrary to myths about restrictions, residents drive their own schedule, leave and re-enter the residence when they wish, and can enjoy an active lifestyle. Residents share their interests and have many opportunities available: regular fitness, local trips and day trips, activities with neighbors and lifelong learning. With physical barriers and home maintenance barriers removed, even everyday tasks like laundry become easier for a person to manage.
Ms. Barger adds that new residents find themselves surprised about all the choices they regain. She cites meals as a big example; people who live in a house have often stopped cooking and begin to eat microwave meals “At Jennings, residents have choices at each meal with fresh, hot home cooked meals prepared and served by our Chef and culinary services team,” she adds.
“We’ve been telling people that they will change their address, not their lifestyle. For example, residents love to enjoy their favorite drinks with neighbors at happy hour,” said Ms. Barger. “A big reward is when family members say they see a parent become more like themselves again.”
Author: Lisa Brazytis, Chief Marketing Officer at Jennings