The aging process is different for each person. Your needs may be significantly different than those of someone who is the same age as you. This variation makes it difficult to establish guidelines for senior living communities based solely on age. In order for a community to cater specifically to senior adults there does have to be a minimum age, typically 55 or 62 depending on location and services. But, your age is only one element you need to consider as you think about moving into a senior living community. Other questions you should ask as you consider moving into a senior living community include: What lifestyle do I want to create? What are my current needs? Will my needs change in the future?
What lifestyle do I want to create?
Gone are the days when the only option for senior living is a place where residents nap all day and turn in early each night. There are now communities designed for seniors who still want to live full and active lives. Many senior living communities offer a full calendar of activities that range from card games and book clubs to fitness classes and group excursions. Ask yourself what type of lifestyle you want to create for this next phase of your life and then use that to help you decide on the community for you. If you still feel young and active then make sure the senior living community you choose provides you with plenty of opportunities to live that type of lifestyle.
What are my current needs?
What needs are you looking to be met at a senior living community? If your health is in good condition then your current needs may include activity and connections with others. If you currently have some mobility issues you can still find a community for active seniors to get involved in. The majority of senior living communities are designed to be accessible to a wide range of mobility levels. Health issues or difficulty with activities of daily living could mean that you have to look into a higher level of care such as assisted living. Your current needs will have a big impact on the type of community you can and should choose to move into.
How will my needs change in the future?
You cannot predict every change that age will bring to your life. However, you can predict some of the possibilities by looking at your current health conditions and family history. The reason you should consider your future needs is because they may impact which community you choose. Some communities are designed to serve a very specific portion of the aging population while others can accommodate a wide range of needs. If you foresee significant issues in the near future then you may want to consider a community that can easily transition you into a higher level of care.
Age really is just a number which is why it is so important to consider more than that number when you look into senior living communities. The variety of senior living communities available means that you can find one that offers the lifestyle you want as well as the care you need.