The Benefits of a Communal Living Setting for Older Adults
Although many seniors try to live on their own as long as possible, this is not as glamorous as it may appear.
As a person ages and health declines, one can become more and more isolated when living alone. A person’s children often move away, friends die or don’t come around as much, and other factors contribute to isolation, not to mention decreased ability or willingness to drive and travel. There are many reasons that living a communal setting, rather than in one’s own home, can be very beneficial.
Below, we’ll highlight the advantages.
Alleviate the Stress of Maintenance and Yard Work
As a person ages, maintaining a home often gets harder: the knees don’t bend like they used to, etc. Living in a communal setting takes care of the need to manage one’s own house repairs and take care of a yard.
No Need to Drive
At a home like St. Anne’s, rides to shopping outings and medical appointments are provided. A person doesn’t need to deal with parking and the possible uneasiness associated with having to find one’s way to such outings.
Less Stress and Pressure for Family Members
When an aging parent or loved one lives alone, there can be a heavy burden for the adult children. They have to look after the needs of the parent, along with taking care of their own family and work commitments. If the loved one lives in a setting, like that offered at St. Anne’s, these needs are taken care of. It can lift an emotional burden, knowing that the loved one is taken care of. It also can be very freeing.
Sometimes as people age and mental acuity decreases, eating habits suffer. Another part of this may be lack of motivation to cook healthy meals. When living in a communal setting, meals are provided. A person can eat nutritious, tasty meals without having to “slave over a hot stove.”
When a person lives alone, they may get an occasional phone call or visit, but the majority of the time is spent alone. It can be very isolating. Living in a communal setting, like St. Anne’s takes care of this problem very well. There are people around all the time and ample opportunities to make new friends. Family and old friends can still maintain relationships, with plenty of common spaces to use for visiting. Sometimes our residents even have a family member come and eat lunch with them. Living in a common setting can be a monumental way of alleviating loneliness and depression.
An engaging activities program in another benefit. Here at St/ Anne’s, we have an excellent activities program. Along with bingo and outings, we frequently have live music. We also have weekly ecumenical church services for our Protestant residents and daily rosary and Mass. There’s so much, all under one roof, with no need to go out for everything, which is nice, especially in the winter.
Peace of Mind
A move to a supervised setting can bring peace of mind to both the older person and to their family. There is the security of knowing that the person is being looked after by caring staff. Worries associated with lack of supervision in living alone are taken away as well.
Living alone, with declining health and mobility poses safety risks. One may fall when walking or bathing. No one is there to find them right away, or assist them in order to prevent such a fall. However, a person living in a basic care setting, like that offered here, has staff available to assist. Furthermore, if a fall should occur (when they are alone in their room), they will not lay helplessly for hours or days, as can happen when living alone. Also, cooking dangers can be a major concern. When a person lives in a setting such as basic care at St. Anne’s, this safety concern no longer exists.
Conversely, living alone as one ages poses some weighty drawbacks. Failing health, memory, and eyesight and lack of socialization contribute heavily to this.