-Why could living at a retirement community be healthier for my mental well-being?
Contrary to popular belief, the mental decline most people experience is not due to the death of nerve cells, but results from a depletion of dendrites. Dendrites are the branches on nerve cells that directly receive and process infor- mation from other nerve cells and form the basis of memory. If connections aren’t regularly made, the dendrites weaken, reducing the brain’s ability to store or retrieve information. By living in a retirement community, you likely have more activities to choose from that will challenge your brain with non- routine and active experiences.
-Why should a person move to an assisted living community rather than remain at home and hire help to care for them?
When one stays at home, there are still a lot of obstacles and “housekeeping” items, such as cooking, laundry, yard work, etc., that need to be done. The cost of paying for assistance in all these areas is many times greater than living in an assisted living community. On one hand, family can do a lot of the chores, but that takes quality time away from the relationship between the family member and the senior. In an assisted living community, not only is assistance with activities of daily living provided, but typically housekeeping services, laundry and the provision of healthy meals are also provided. In addition, the senior is not house-bound or isolated, but rather, they are amongst a group of peers in which they can socialize, form new relations or rekindle past relations with other seniors in the community. The socialization aspect alone is a benefit that can never be replicated in a home setting and enhances the quality of a senior’s life.