Active living refers to the incorporation of physical exercises in everyday living. Retirement focused living communities realize the benefits of incorporating and promoting active lifestyles among their residents. Benefits of active living include decreased risk of chronic diseases, improved overall health, reduced stress levels, healthy weight and bones maintenance, improved balance and posture and improved sleep patterns. Retirement living communities that emphasize healthy living do not offer assistance with day-to-day activities such as preparing meals, housekeeping and personal care.
The types of active living exercises found in retirement living communities include flexibility, endurance and strength activities. Flexibility activities include golf, stretching and even yard work, all of which contribute to one’s mobility and are also responsible for keeping joints and muscles relaxed. Endurance activities include the likes of walking, cycling, dancing and skating. These strengthen the heart and lungs and also increase the heart rate. Strength activities, on the other hand, keep bones strong and are also responsible for creating and maintaining muscles. They include activities such as push-ups, weightlifting, climbing stairs and raking leaves. Members of retirement living communities are encouraged to engage in such activities due to the benefits experienced in their health.
Active living retirement communities can either be age-restricted or age-targeted communities. The former are aimed at individuals from the age of 55 and above, but are restricted in that they any individual below the age of 19 cannot be a permanent resident. Eighty-percent of the occupied units in such a community should be 55 and older. In such a community, active living is emphasized in a country club setting where there is access to amenities such as a golf course, clubhouse, walking trails, computer labs, hobby centers and other recreational facilities. All these facilities encourage physical activity promoting healthy living among the residents. Outdoor maintenance services are provided for members of the community at a fee. Age-targeted retirement communities, on the other hand, take on a different approach. They offer single-family homes, multi-family housing, townhomes and cluster homes. They are age-targeted in that they target adults older than 55. They also offer similar amenities to those provided in age-restricted retirement communities, thus encouraging active living among all their residents. One should, however, note that both types of communities do not offer health care or health-related services.
Active living retirement communities promote independent living among residents. Social pastimes in arts and crafts are also provided. They range from painting, ceramics, scrapbooking, afternoon teas, movie nights and holiday cookouts and other social gatherings. As can be seen, all these activities are very hands on. Some active living retirement communities also offer continuing education classes by partnering with nearby colleges to provide academic classes and cultural events. Education in history and genealogy and even bird watching can also be provided. Apart from organized activity, friendliness and relaxation are also emphasized in active living retirement communities creating a semblance of balance in both active and relaxation activities.
With the steady growth of active living retirement communities, new trends are on the rise. In some of these communities, residents are still working, say part-time, increasing their involvement within the community. These communities have also seen an increase in the number of amenities available to residents, which have considerably contributed to active living through provision of walking and hiking trails, recreation centers, pools and many other social amenities. Convenience and community are also being emphasized in these communities. They are no longer isolated communities. Some are near urban and town centers which allow the residents to access grocery shopping and amenities such as malls easily. But above all else, active living is greatly being encouraged. Senior citizens are being encouraged to fully engage in active living given their new-found status as empty nesters which is affording them luxuries and opportunities they did not enjoy before.
Written by The Village Of Bedford Walk, a senior living community in Columbia, MO.