While it can be easy enough to survive—even thrive—on a lackluster diet, too little sleep, and seemingly constant stress when you’re in your teens or twenties, by the time you’ve reached your golden years, you’re far more aware of the interconnected nature of your mind, body, and spirit. Poor nutrition or social isolation can often be the precipitating factor behind a slow decline that becomes tougher to reverse with each passing year.
Only by listening to and caring for each of your body’s systems can you maximize your well-being in retirement. Read on to learn more about the importance of maintaining this delicate balance and how the amenities of a senior living community can boost every aspect of your physical and mental health.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
The phrase “use it or lose it” is just as applicable to your brain cells as anything else. If you’re trying to regain your focus after retiring from a fast-paced career, you may be dismayed to discover that activities and hobbies that once came easily to you may now be much more of a challenge. But this doesn’t mean you’re on the road toward dementia—even younger minds can quickly lose ground when they’re not being actively challenged, hence many teachers’ nickname for summer vacation is “the summer slide.”
This often means that if your retirement plans solely consist of relaxing or watching television, you may want to expand your horizons a bit. The same goes for a retirement schedule that focuses exclusively on home maintenance or other chores—without a new hobby, a book club, or something to get you out of the mundane day-to-day grind, you could quickly find yourself wondering what day of the week or even what month it is.
In many cases, the key to maintaining your mental health in retirement can involve getting rid of time-consuming yet mindless tasks like cleaning and scheduling home repairs. While gardening and other outdoor activities can often be therapeutic, much of the upkeep that goes into maintaining your own home won’t be physically, mentally, or financially missed if you decide to sell and move to a retirement community. Saying goodbye to home maintenance (and related costs) for good will give you far more time to indulge in your own hobbies, visit with family members and friends, travel, and do all the other things you simply didn’t have time for while working and raising your family.
Get in Shape
As the saying goes, growing old isn’t for the faint of heart—and the increased risk of falls, broken bones, and other injuries that come with age aren’t anything to scoff at. Even if you’ve always prided yourself on your physical fitness, you may find that it’s tougher to keep up with your normal regimen as the years go by. A day or two spent sick in bed can mean a week or more of recovery to get back into your pre-illness condition, so growing sedentary after retirement can be a risk, even if your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers have always been flawless.
Losing a mere 10 percent of the bone density in your spinal vertebrae with age can double your risk of spinal fracture in a fall or accident. Meanwhile, sedentary people can lose anywhere from 3 to 5 percent of their muscle mass each decade after their 30th birthday. But it can be tough to motivate yourself to visit the gym. When you have few demands on your time, saying “I’ll do it tomorrow” becomes all the more tempting, and before you know it, you’ve lost important physical attributes you can’t get back.
Moving to a retirement community can often be the change in routine (and accessibility) you need to regain your exercise motivation. With personal trainers, exercise classes, and a full on-site gym, senior living can remove all your excuses for not hitting the weights, while providing a built-in community of exercise companions.
For many introverts, the idea of leaving the workforce (and forced social interactions) behind can be an incredibly appealing one. And even some extroverts may look forward to the day when they’re no longer dragged into pointless meetings or required to placate a disgruntled client.
But as appealing as it may seem, social isolation can pose a number of risks to seniors’ physical and mental health. Without some form of regular and positive social interaction, retirees can become withdrawn and depressed; prolonged periods of isolation can even increase risk of early dementia and other mental ailments. Only by cultivating your social network can you stave off the impact of social isolation.
But making friends can be far tougher than you might remember. Many of your friends may still be in the workforce and therefore hard to pin down for spur-of-the-moment lunch plans. Others might have moved away to be near family. If you aren’t a member of a church or other community organization, finding people in the same stage of life with overlapping interests can seem like more trouble than it’s worth.
Retirement living communities often mark the exception to this rule. You’ll have access to a ready-made community and can attend as many or as few parties, group exercise classes, and other social events as you like. By living near other members of your generation, you’ll be able to draw on shared cultural experiences while learning from those who have traveled different paths in life.
If you’ve been wondering whether community living is right for you, it’s never too early to take a tour. With on-site spa services, group exercise classes, and a fully-staffed on-site primary care practice, Cambridge Village of Apex truly has it all. Schedule a tour today to see how you can begin living your best life at Cambridge Village.
Life at Cambridge Village of Apex, North Carolina, goes beyond retirement living. By focusing on improving every aspect of our residents’ lives, we create Optimal Living. We aim to make every resident feel welcomed, provide them with opportunities to build friendships, and help them find a niche where they belong. Experience the new retirement at Cambridge Village of Apex, North Carolina. Contact us to schedule a tour of our senior living community or give us a call today (919) 363-2080.