What’s one myth that you’ve heard about Senior Living? We’ll go first…if I move into a community, I’ll lose my independence.
One of the bigger pushbacks we see from seniors when it comes to moving into a Northbridge Senior Living Community is they feel it is one more piece of independence being taken from them.
Maybe it started when they were told not to drive at night or during bad weather (hello Winter in New England) which turned into, maybe you shouldn’t be driving anymore.
Or your mom passed away and now dad (who spent his whole life eating your mom’s cooking) is only eating what is delivered to him.
Since your parents are no longer driving, their social calendar starts shrinking and the ability to pick and choose what events and gatherings they want to attend, goes along with it.
All of these changes are perceived as a lack of independence, leading many seniors to believe that by the time they move into a senior living community- all of their choices have been taken away.
Before we get to be too doom and gloom, there is great news- in senior living many people will find independence in the everyday choices that they make. Before we dive into how Northbridge encourages independence for residents, let’s take a look at the importance of being independent and the many benefits that come with it.
So, what does it mean to be independent? Is it when your baby starts taking their first steps? Is it the first time your teenager goes to the mall with their friends by themselves? Is it when your 18-year-old child goes off to college? For most people, independence comes in many forms and throughout many stages in life. When we think about independence in terms of seniors, it means being self-sufficient, making their own choices, and not having to do what their adult son/daughter suggests. In more general terms, independence is not being influenced or controlled by others- being independent in how you think or act and being firm in your decisions no matter what others might think.
A few benefits of being independent:
- Self-Confidence: knowing what you are good at and having trust in your skills leads to more self-confidence and overall positivity. You know you provide value and contribute to society in a meaningful way.
- Improved Decision Making: the ability to make decisions effectively is a developed skill. Those of us who know or are indecisive people understand this. When not practiced, the ability to make timely and correct decisions may diminish which will lead to a lack of confidence. Not having the confidence to make decisions may lead to less independence.
- Better Planning: understanding what you need to do to accomplish and the steps it will take to complete them will lead you to become a more successful person. This often involves planning out things like meals, social calendars, workouts, etc. The ability to plan often allows you to accomplish more.
So how do we at Northbridge encourage independence and combat the myth that moving into one of our communities will mean forfeiting the independence you had living at home? It’s in the everyday choices and actions of our residents, some that they might not even realize.
Let’s compare the level of independence when it comes to – dining, socializing and decorating, living at home vs. living at a Northbridge Community.
Home– someone living at home may be hesitant to cook for themselves and might rely on meal services or meals delivered by family. They may be at the mercy of what was cooked that day and have less of a choice in what their daily meals are. If mom/dad are hesitant to use the kitchen, it could also limit what they eat to things that can be heated in the microwave or eaten cold.
Northbridge– all of our communities have Culinary Directors that work to craft menus based on seasonal New England foods. When residents come to our dining rooms, they are able to choose between items on our chef curated menus. Residents are also encouraged to meet with our Culinary Directors to go over any specific dietary needs and sometimes to request a special recipe that they’d love to see on the menu!
Home- most socialization happens outside of your home; this can be a problem if someone is no longer driving at night or no longer driving at all. Having to plan ways to attend social gatherings may hinder the ability to attend them. There could be neighbors close by that come to visit your house, but for the most part it is a lot of scheduling how you are going to attend the events and programs you’ve always enjoyed.
Northbridge- our communities host a variety of engaging programs that center around 4 Pillars- To Move, To Feel, To Connect and To Learn. Right in your community will be opportunities to participate in exercise classes – our Barre Balance class is a resident favorite! Discover a new talent at one of our Artist in Residence classes or enjoy a favorite recipe from the past during our Cooking up Memories program. In addition to everything happening within our community, residents also go on fun outings to local restaurants, museums, parks and much more! There is no need to plan how to get to these programs and you are free to choose to go to as many or as little as you’d like! Check out a sample calendar for our community, Stroudwater Lodge!
Home- the house your mom/dad is living in might still be decorated the same way it was when you were growing up there. To you it might bring back fond memories from your childhood, but for your mom/dad it could bring reminders of what is no longer there. Maybe a spouse passed away and the garden that was once thriving is now overgrown and serves as a reminder that someone isn’t there to care for it. Maybe it’s the quiet that was never present when the house was filled with kids. Things that people want to hold on to can sometimes be a sad reminder of what is no longer there.
Northbridge- we invite residents to bring the happy memories and cherished items from their homes to decorate their new apartment and make it feel like home. We know the space is smaller, but sometimes an area that is easier to manage will make your mom/dad happier and more relaxed. Over time we notice that photographs and mementos that were brought in by the resident, start to become intermingled with paintings and items that have been created while they’ve lived in our community.
Many residents find independence in the everyday choices they make living in our communities. Hopefully we’ve encouraged you to think about what it means to be independent and especially what it means to be independent as you age. It might look and feel a little different than what you expected or are used to but independence comes in many forms. Most of them being the little choices we make to create the best situation for ourselves, who knows- maybe your next choice could be visiting a Northbridge community near you!
We’re here to answer any of your questions. Please contact us if we can provide further information or if you would like to schedule a personalized tour. Download our complimentary Family Decision Toolkit.