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Senior Living Communities Shake Off “Old Folks Home” Vibe


Today’s retirees will live longer, healthier and more active lives than any previous generation. The average life expectancy in the US has hit an all-time high of 77.9 years, according to a recently released report by the National Center for Health Statistics. If joining an independent senior living community is in your plans, there will be a lot of living left to do once you move into your new home.

One common theme expressed by many baby boomers is that they just don’t feel “old”. They don’t want their living situation to feel like they are just a couple of steps away from full-time care. But in early retirement, joining an independent senior living community is more about making your life easier than giving up your independence.

Ditching the Aging Stereotype

Modern seniors rarely just pass the time away sitting in their rocking chairs; they are an active group. They travel and exercise regularly. They are active in their grandchildren’s lives. They join groups and volunteer. Their adult children often comment that their parents have a more active and glamorous social life than they themselves do. Some residents of senior independent living communities may still even be working full or part-time. They expect their living environment to reflect their diverse and active lifestyle.

So how do you find a community that reflects how you really live today? Sometimes it helps to identify what it is you don’t want in a community.

Most people instinctively know the deal breakers in a senior independent living community, and they aren’t shy about their feelings:

  1. Is the building light, bright and open? Or, does it feel like a dormitory or nursing home?

  2. Does it feel homey and neighborly? Or, does it have that antiseptic, hospital-like atmosphere?

  3. Does it smell clean? Or, does it have that dreaded “old people” smell?

  4. Is it easy to navigate? Or does it feel like an institution? Is it so large you need a road map just to find your way home?

  5. Does it have a fun, friendly staff? Or, do they look stressed and harried?

  6. Are the amenities more like a hotel than a hospital? Is there an onsite fitness center, indoor pool and underground parking?

  7. Does the dining room have a resort or restaurant feel? Or, is it more like a hospital cafeteria complete with plastic trays and soft, bland options to choose from?

Plan for the Long Haul

Of course, aging has its stages. What’s good for early retirement may not be as important later on. The young retiree who moves into a senior living community will have more and different needs in 10, 15 or 20 years. Be sure to ask about the options and costs of moving on to assisted living and more intense levels of care as you do your financial planning and research – you never know what might happen down the road, and it’s always better to be prepared now than to scramble later.

Are you or a loved one exploring senior independent living communities? Melrose Meadows is a certified assisted and independent living community in Iowa City, Iowa. We provide an independent, secure lifestyle for our residents in a vibrant, all-inclusive setting. Schedule a tour today to see if Melrose Meadows is a good fit for your future.

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