5 Myths about Retirement Communites

Gillian Fullerton, one of the Team at Shannon Oaks Vancouver, weighs in to debunk the misconceptions.

1. "Retirement communities are “old folks homes," filled with sick and dying people.  You go there to die."

Not so! – Today’s retirement communities are not where old people go to die; they're where retirees go to meet new friends and experience new activities. In retirement communities, retirees also have the security of knowing that they have a team around them who can assist in case of emergency 24/7. A cautionary note - people who wait too long may not qualify for Independent Living; seniors must able to live independently in order to live in an Independent Living community.

2. "My current home is my best option for leading an active life and staying connected to my friends."

The ideal home evolves throughout our lifetime  - so the best home for your next stage of life should be one that provides more freedom, more convenience, better care and less worry. People living in their own homes spend twice the amount of time doing housework and shopping than those living in retirement communities. Also, they spend far less time socializing and engaging in learning and physical activities. Often, for those who stay in their homes, isolation becomes a negative factor as friends and family move away and neighbourhoods change. As we age, maintaining social connections becomes more challenging, and so, identifying and building new relationships with like-minded people is critical to our well-being. Moving into a retirement community facilitates active community! Studies actually show that having low social interaction is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, is as dangerous as being an alcoholic, is as harmful as never exercising and is twice as dangerous as obesity.

3. "Home is less expensive."

By the time they’ve reached 65, many homeowners have paid off their mortgages. Still, a house is expensive. Taxes, utilities, upkeep, and insurance really add up. Throw in food, entertainment and a "health club" – all included in the monthly costs when living in a retirement community, and often seniors find that their "paid-for" house is no financial bargain. Add in the value of new friendships, healthy eating, exercise and fun excursions and it’s a bargain!

4. "I can’t possibly downsize!"

Attend downsizing seminars to get the latest tips on how to start downsizing, or visit Baptist Housing's Got Clutter? post. We like to call it “right-sizing." Remember to take baby steps and to think in terms of baby steps so you don’t get overwhelmed. Select the pieces you want in your new retirement apartment and then invite grandchildren in to select pieces they may want for their new home. Now is the time for you to buy some new furniture for your new home – look on it as an opportunity to have some fun!

5. “I don’t need to move. I’m still healthy and active.”

Actually, when you’re healthy and active is the best time to move into a retirement community so you can enjoy all the things that are going on there! One of the independent living residences offered by Baptist Housing is a vibrant, active and independent communities called Shannon Oaks in Vancouver, BC. There is so much to experience – and so many like-minded people to experience it with here! From educational classes, to games to dancing, to concerts as well as exciting outings on our bus - there’s an endless array of things to do! Come an experience it all at Shannon Oaks. Don’t park your lifestyle at the door – bring it with you and we’ll adapt to you. Come and talk to some of our Residents – I know they’ll say, “I wish I’d moved in sooner!”

- G. Fullerton, Team Member, Shannon Oaks Vancouver