Life Expectancy in Canada – Part 3

Lifestyle Planning Effect

October 5, 2017

Lifestyle planning as we age is a subject – like retirement financial planning – with endless nuances and complexities. That said, the two issues that are often prominent and decisive are:

  1. Do you want to consider living in a retirement community?
  2. Would you prefer to continue living at home?

Each comes with positives and negatives. What follows are some thoughts that may help you consider the options and make the best decision for yourself when the time comes.

RETIREMENT COMMUNITY

Most experts agree that though there are several advantages to retirement community living; three stand out significantly:

1. Social connections

Living in a retirement community provides endless opportunities to develop close social connections and friendships. This becomes increasingly important as we age and face a variety of life events that could trigger loneliness and isolation. At senior living communities you can cultivate new friends, share a meal, and enjoy special occasions together.
The variety of social activities at retirement communities also plays a large role in mental stimulation. Physical activities, games, and events like movie-nights, yoga lessons, weekly socials, and more are at the reach of golden-agers who seek community.

2. The end of home maintenance and repair

Freedom from home maintenance and repair becomes more and more attractive during our later years. The idea of fixing unanticipated, and often costly, problems that occur in a home can carry a lot of stress. By making the move to an independent seniors living community, the cost and headaches associated with home problems is eliminated. Often, most repair and maintenance is included in your living arrangement.

3. Ensured safety and proper nutrition

Although safety – having immediate access to medical care in the event of an emergency – is a major advantage of retirement community living, access to proper nutrition runs a close second. Residents don’t need to worry about meal preparation or even grocery shopping. Seniors also tend to notice continued good health, or improvements by eating three quality meals a day.

AGING AT HOME

Aging at home can be rewarding if there’s good planning and thought put into it. According to Debra Wooding, “many of our clients have made the well thought out decision to remain in their homes for as long as they possibly can. These individuals value being in their own space, the family homestead if you will, with the accompanying autonomy. They find they’re quite active both socially and physically; enjoying activities from gardening to sharing a meal, volunteering, walking, and socializing with their longtime friends in the neighbourhood. Many of our clients report feeling very happy with their decision”. If you plan to remain in your home, The Wooding Group recommends securing professional and trustworthy partners to assist with home maintenance, cleaning, potential renovations, and anything else one would like to delegate.

Home safety is important and according to the experts at Comfort Life, a well-established guide to retirement living and care, one of your first concerns should be ensuring your home is safe.

Some things to consider:

  1. Step repair: make sure that all steps outside and inside the home are safe and in good repair.
  2. Unnecessary carpeting: old or flimsy carpeting can result in unnecessary falls. Carpets with frayed edges or holes need to be removed and all mats or area carpets need to be checked for slip proofing. It may be smartest and safest to simply remove them.
  3. Check well-traveled pathways within the home for unneeded sharp edges or other hazards that can cause injury.
  4. Install rails and other home safety and assisted living devices to ensure that your home is optimally safe for your later years.
  5. Be sure to winter-proof all sidewalks, steps and railings outside the home.
  6. Purchase and use a medical alarm.
  7. Modify the home as much as possible to remove unnecessary stairs and other unneeded hazards.
  8. Of course, if you require a wheelchair your home must be modified to make it wheelchair safe and friendly, in order for you to continue aging at home.

Falls are the number one cause of seniors needing to move out of their own homes and into a retirement home. Providing optimal safety measures to prevent falls before they have a chance of happening can go a long way toward extending your ability to keep on living in your own home.

Choosing between retirement community living and living at home is one of the most emotional and difficult decisions any one of us can ever make. We hope this Blog is able to provide assistance in some way. If you should have any questions about effective retirement financial and lifestyle planning, please get in touch with our team at any time.

The Wooding Group at CIBC Wood Gundy, 780 498-5047