A new residence can mean new energy
Often, when older people reach an age at which they ask questions about how long they might remain in their homes, the anxiety of transporting all their belongings and of setting up a new, smaller living space can even be debilitating. Eunice Neubauer, president of Choice Connections, a Twin Cities senior housing advisory service, believes that is understandable but shouldn’t dissuade considering such a move.
“It is certainly true that, like children who are considering a new school, adults wonder whether they will ‘fit in,’” she told Metro Lutheran. “But there are actions that can be taken — like touring different communities — to mitigate this concern.” Neubauer believes that people can often tell quickly that a place doesn’t feel right or comfortable.
“People want to live somewhere where they can make friends and have people to eat with,” Neubauer further explained. “When people eat together, they eat better, even if it is just one meal per day. And when they are involved socially with others, they feel better.”
Isolation is probably the greatest concern for people who stay in their homes. According to Neubauer, many research studies demonstrate quantitatively the detrimental effects of isolation. But she adds, “It makes sense because God created us as human beings to be connected with others.”
Neubauer is very aware of the benefits of making a housing transition when the time is right. “In addition to the social connectedness, living in a group setting can increase nutritional intake and can lead to better fitness,” she says.
When a senior lives in a house, she or he might only walk between rooms. Living in a communal living situation encourages walking outside the apartment to greet friends or eat with others. “And many senior residencies include a fitness center now. That’s important because God didn’t design our bodies [to sit around] most of the time.
“Every week someone tells me they wish they would have made the transition earlier,” says Neubauer. “I want people to know there can be help in making this move.”