Jul 5 2023

3 things to look forward to about senior living

Friends enjoy a glass of wine at a senior living community.

Deciding on making a move to a senior living community can come with worry and stress. There’s lots to take into account, with timing and financial details to consider and possible destinations to sort through. One important factor you don’t want to overlook, though, is that senior years can be a chance for adventure and exploration.

Here are some of the benefits of moving into a senior living community that you can look forward to:

1. Expand your social connections

Everyone recognizes that great lifelong relationships and family bonds are something to treasure. But what people sometimes forget are the many possibilities to develop new friendships at any stage of life, including the senior years.

When high school students graduate and go away to college, it’s a chance to step into a new world. They meet a new set of acquaintances and build new skills. Studying and interacting together in a shared space can quickly build friendships with strong bonds.

We often don’t think this way, but the same can be true for moving into a senior living community. No, you’re not worrying about exams, learning dorm rules, or trying to find a major that’s a good fit. But there are strong parallels: You’re joining a group of peers at a similar stage in life and launching into something new together.

The best senior living communities work to build an environment where that sense of community can flourish.

One of the things to look forward to about senior living is a chance to try new things, like this White Horse Village resident working on a sculpture.

2. Finally, time for some of those things you’ve always wanted to try

Most of us have a list of activities or hobbies we wish we could have tried, but the responsibilities of life can get in the way.

Many seniors find the opposite to be true: Moving into a senior living environment means the chance to do more, not less. The change opens up vast opportunities for learning, living and exploring.

With fewer household chores and responsibilities, you’ll have more time to explore your passions.

“Doing jigsaw puzzles wasn’t on my list,” you might say. Well, the good news is that’s an old stereotype that doesn’t reflect the reality many thriving senior living communities offer.

You’ll have the opportunity to try activities like acting in a play. Learning to dance. Writing poetry or novels. Carving a sculpture. You can join a book club where you actually have time to read the book. Or take up yoga. Travel on trips to museums and cultural and historical sites. Play a wide range of Wii sports, from bowling to tennis or even baseball. Enroll in continuing education classes, or hear from speakers on a range of cultural and social topics. Learn to cook. Discuss global topics. Dig into family genealogy and history. Advocate for social issues you feel passionately about. And don’t forget social gatherings.

It’s a chance to spread your wings and reinvent yourself.

And you know what? You might even have time for a jigsaw puzzle.

White Horse Village residents sing in a community chorus to piano accompaniment. It's one of many activities available on campus.
Photo by White Horse Village resident Duane Thurman

3. Share your gifts

Over a lifetime, you’ve built up skills and expertise. Some people are ready to take a break from all that and just play golf, but many find it satisfying to discover a new niche for their talents.

That might mean serving on a committee at your senior living community related to your career field, from technology to the arts or finances. It could mean working with local nonprofits or educational institutions to serve on a board, mentor young professionals, or offer tutoring. Or you might have a knowledge that isn’t related to your career at all. There are plenty of avenues to plug in and use your unique skills.

When researching possible communities, it’s important to check out the different options they have for engagement and activities, and what kind of culture they build.

Yes, the aging journey comes with limitations over time. But don’t get the idea that moving into a senior living space means your world has to shrink. Whether it’s making new friends, finding new hobbies or discovering new ways to get involved, such a move can be a chance to embrace opportunities.