Senior Living Options: Aging In Community
Whereas just a few generations ago, nuclear families living in private residences were the norm, how we house ourselves today is shifting. Boomers are the first generation to experience living in community with peers, in college and into their twenties or beyond, so the idea of living with unrelated people is not an alien concept. Boomers are also healthier and wealthier, as a rule, than previous cohorts, and have exacting design standards for senior living options.
In addition, the growing sharing economy applies to aging as well. Older adults with an eye on sustainable living are asking, how can we share our talents as well as our tools? It doesn’t just help ecologically or economically; it brings people together socially and helps create community.
Below is a range of senior living options that illustrate how aging in community benefits everyone involved, from complete independence to supportive care to end-of-life care:
Active Adult Community
Even if you adore children — and have one or more of your own, plus possible grandkids — there may come a time when living among adults holds certain appeal. Hence the development of “active adult communities”, which, as the name implies, are designed for adults (typically 55+) who are often still working.
Active adult communities assume independence, so while they don’t offer any personal support, meals, or housekeeping, there is ready access to cultural and leisure time pursuits that “active” residents can enjoy without leaving the community. Amenities may also include gated security, a shuttle bus, internet, and maintenance of shared spaces and facilities.
The brainchild of a Danish architect and builder Kathryn McCamant, cohousing emerged in the U.S. in the 1980s and is mushrooming. The model enables each household to own (or in some cases, to rent) its own house or condominium, while sharing common space, weekly meals, and other social and lifestyle needs (e.g., cars and lawnmowers).
Cohousing is collaborative, non-hierarchical, and can be multigenerational or dedicated to those 55+. McCamant explains how graying Boomers are changing the retirement community paradigm. “Boomers are saying, ‘I’ve just gone through the aging process with my parents…and I don’t want the same options!'”
For those who choose to age in cohousing, it may also be a way to live one’s final months without needing to resort to a nursing home. With neighbors available to accompany a senior to medical appointments, deliver meals, etc., someone may be able to remain at home until the end, surrounded by friends and loved ones.
Mixed-use Intergenerational Living
Another exciting new model is mixed-use development: senior living combined with health/wellness, co-work, and a hotel. This model’s mission is the best of all worlds: senior living, intergenerational living, start-of-the-art healthcare, and coworking (shared office space).
Plans for such an ambitious project are currently underway in Huntsville, Alabama, with a targeted 2020 open date for the senior living community portion of the development.
The co-work component aims to leverage the wisdom of retired seniors with business acumen, turning it into both a great startup incubator and inspiring resource for keeping older brains sharp and involved.
Beyond active adult and co-housing communities, independent living communities enables a senior to enjoy all the comforts of home — without ever having to mow the lawn or cook a meal again (unless you choose to).
Living in a private house or apartment within a senior living community such as Kensington Park, you’ll enjoy high-end luxury that includes 5-star dining and the services of our concierge, who can help procure theatre tickets, arrange transportation to the hair salon, or a shopping spree and spa treatment — whatever you desire, now that you have the time for explorations and excursions.
If, like the Beatles tune, you get by with a little help from your friends, assisted living may be the right choice. Originally developed as a midway option between independent living and nursing home care, assisted living provides seniors with help for activities of daily living such as housekeeping, meals, bathing, medication reminders, and errands. Because we offer a full spectrum of care, seniors who choose Kensington Park can “age in place” within our community as their needs evolve; they will never need to move again!
At Kensington Park, each assisted living resident receives an individualized care plan to support their specific needs. Our goal is to preserve the comfort and routine of home as much as possible, and to make living here a pleasant, happy experience. We support families in transitioning their loved ones to assisted living, and do everything we can to help residents feel comfortable, secure, happy, and dignified.
Memory loss is life changing for everyone involved, and it’s vital to understand the various stages of cognitive decline, as well as how to care for someone with dementia.
At Kensington Park, we’re committed to a continuity of care. Whether our residents choose our independent living community as active seniors who prefer freedom from managing the demands of owning a home, move into assisted living when they decide they would benefit from some regular support — or come to one of our memory care neighborhoods when the need arises — they are able to age in place, safely and fully supported.
We offer a full spectrum of clinical support, including end-of-life care. Our two customized memory care “neighborhoods” are:
- Connections, which serves seniors in the early to mid-stage of dementia care, providing a secure environment that maximizes safety in an intimate, homelike living space fostering calm and comfort.
- Haven, for middle to late-stage Alzheimer’s and dementia care residents, who require a higher level of assistance and care. With adaptive design, we’re able to provide maximum safety while enabling memory care residents to engage in ways that are meaningful, soothing, and pleasing for them.
When someone is close to the end of life, hospice care offers palliative care to ease pain and other symptoms, and provide comfort and support for the transition.
People typically enter hospice when they are given six months or less to live. However, if your prognosis changes or you decide to seek further treatment, you can choose to leave hospice, with the option of returning later if necessary. Hospice care can be provided at home, in a hospital setting, or at a senior living community equipped to provide end-of-life care, such as Kensington Park
We look forward to meeting you, and to welcoming you home to Kensington Park, where you can enjoy exceptional senior living for the rest of your life. We treat our residents like family — because to us, you are!