The importance of an Activities/Lifestyle/Social Director cannot be dismissed when it comes to living in any Active Adult or Senior Living Community. Living in a master-planned community can be stimulating if you socialize and get involved with community activities, or it can be lonely and depressing if you choose the “wrong” community.
A “wrong” community is one without a Lifestyle Director or one with a tiny clubhouse with no planned activities. The role of active adult communities and senior centers will continue to expand and have an increasing impact on structuring the quality of life of older adults in America. It’s common knowledge that activity participation is essential to quality of life and lack of it may be associated with depression.
Activity has important life benefits, such as reducing the risk of depression, helping to prevent cognitive decline, and enhancing social connectivity. Consider these factors:
* The number of adults 65 and older in the U.S. is projected to reach more than 50 million by 2020
* The biggest leisure activity for adults 55 and older is watching (over 50%).
* Less than 25% of adults 55+ participate in sports, exercise or active recreation.
How do social activities help? People like the idea of looking forward to having something to do. A community with a Lifestyle Director (aka Activities/Social Director) can help community members develop new skills, feel self-fulfilled, feel healthier, reduce stress, gain more energy, have more fun, feel more connected to the community, feel supported by their peers, connect with others, think differently, be more decisive, assert their opinions, have more self confidence and increase their sense of self awareness. Those are amazingly important factors in an aging adult.
What happens if 10 years after moving into a community your spouse dies or is admitted to a health care facility? Will you be left alone without anything to do? If you are living in an inactive community chances are that you may be alone for a long time. Whereas, if you live in a truly active community with a Lifestyle Director you would be constantly surrounded by caring friends, neighbors and community staff. Most importantly, you would be part of planned activities and less likely to feel isolated.
A Lifestyle Director can help you improve your life, such as planning trips, getting you involved in clubs and hobby groups, organizing dances, parties, picnics and similar group activities. Before you move into any community you should consider one that offers a resort-like atmosphere that has cruise-like activities and makes you feel like you’re on vacation all year long. It’ll make a big difference in your attitude.
You don’t always have to join in, but a community with a Lifestyle Director will allow you to experience new things, new scenery and new activities. When selecting a community ask if they schedule regular lectures, classes, trips, musical programs, and professional entertainment groups that regularly visit the communities. As you’ll soon realize after moving in, those things are of vital importance. When choosing your next move, plan carefully and think ahead. After all, you will probably be living there a long time.