If you’ve just begun to think about what it would be like to live in a retirement community like Christwood, you might not realize all the advantages you could enjoy. While we can’t speak for all retirement communities in Louisiana, we can most definitely paint you a picture of what life is like here at Christwood, in charming Covington, LA.
Just Being Here Is A Social Activity
If you have the opportunity to visit Christwood, one of the first impressions you’re likely to have is how warm and friendly people are here. You might be tempted to attribute it to Southern hospitality — and that may be part of it — but it goes much deeper.
Friendships form quickly in our community and last a long time. Whether they’re here to live or to work, people truly love being at Christwood, and it shows. Smiles aren’t just abundant. They’re also genuine.
Some of our staff members have been here long enough to tend to the needs of two generations of residents. A few have retired after 20-plus years, only to decide they want to come back on a part-time basis or help out on special occasions.
Having that kind of dedicated support and service, and being surrounded by friendly, helpful neighbors, makes living at Christwood easy right from the start.
And There Are Plenty of Scheduled Social Activities, Too
For some people, the calendar of events is what’s so appealing about living in a retirement community.
At Christwood, the 23,000-square-foot Community Center serves as our hub of social activity. There, you’ll find all kinds of activities for seniors, such as:
- Fitness, aerobics and yoga classes
- Educational events, including the weekly speaker series and sessions with speakers from Southeastern Louisiana University
- Swimming and water aerobics classes in the indoor pool
- Impromptu rendezvous at the Forever Fit Kitchen
Unlike some retirement communities, our Community Center is open to people who are not residents of Christwood, as long as they are age 55 or older and have a membership. If you’re in the area, we encourage you to stop by and see for yourself all the Community Center offers.
There are other activities on our campus as well, including art, music, theater and writing events. We also host special art exhibits by regional artists in our Atrium Gallery, with an opening reception for each exhibit, featuring live music and refreshments.
Let’s Not Forget the Dining!
The convenience of not having to plan and cook meals is another reason many people look forward to senior living in a community like Christwood.
Here, you’ll find a variety of options to suit your palate, including:
- Everyday fine dining (and brunch) in the Harvest Room restaurant
- Healthy lunches at the Forever Fit Kitchen
- Special event dining at the Atrium Café
Our menus all feature high-quality ingredients from local growers. And, if you’re so inclined, you can get together with friends and neighbors to enjoy a before-dinner drink during happy hour at the Cypress Room.
The Health Benefits of Being Social
Feelings of loneliness can affect people of all ages, of course, but for the elderly, loneliness can be particularly problematic.
For instance, in a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that adults ages 60 and older who experience loneliness have a significantly increased risk of death when compared with those who don’t feel lonely. Lonely seniors are also more likely to demonstrate a greater decline in:
- Activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, getting in and out of bed or a chair, toileting and eating
- Upper-extremity tasks, such as lifting or carrying items weighing more than 10 pounds or raising their arms above their shoulders
- Mobility, whether it’s the ability to jog a mile or walk a block
- The ability to climb one or more flights of stairs
A meta-analytic review published by PLOS Medicine, supports these findings. According to the authors, the data they analyzed indicated that “individuals with adequate social relationships have a 50% greater likelihood of survival compared to those with poor or insufficient social relationships. The magnitude of this effect is comparable with quitting smoking, and it exceeds many well-known risk factors for mortality (e.g., obesity, physical inactivity).”
Loneliness Isn’t the Same as Being Alone
In the Archives of Internal Medicine study, the researchers also found that older adults didn’t necessarily have to live alone to feel lonely. In fact, while 43% of those surveyed said they felt lonely, only 18% lived alone.
A possible explanation as to why some older adults experience loneliness even when they are around others is that some tend to withdraw because they can no longer see, hear or move around as well as they once did. Self-isolation can exacerbate whatever physical, mental and emotional problems they are already having, though, often leading a downward spiral.
These are just some of the health issues that social isolation can contribute to or worsen:
- Cardiac failure
- Coronary artery disease
- Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease
In many cases, simply being around people who are like-minded and of similar age can be enough to encourage older adults to expand their social circle. That, in turn, can result in “higher levels of physical activity, greater positive moods, and fewer negative feelings,” according to a study cited in an article by Harvard Health Publishing.
Making More Connections
As you can see (and may have experienced firsthand), our physical health can affect how — and how often — we interact with others. It can also affect our mental and emotional well-being. Conversely, our outlook on the world around us has the power to alter our physical health, both positively and negatively.
Any way you look at it, though, connecting with others seems to be good for us. Living in a retirement community like Christwood, where there are many options for engaging in activities specifically for seniors, encourages older adults to participate and make new connections.
Senior living communities are designed so that residents have the opportunity to thrive. Here at Christwood, that’s the whole concept behind the Community Center. We created it to be a place where adults age 55 or older can have a good time and feel comfortable, whether they are:
- Working on their personalized fitness regimen
- Taking a class
- Indulging themselves at the spa
- Going for a swim
- Walking on the indoor treadmills and ellipticals
- Riding a CyberCycle designed specifically to promote physical, cognitive, emotional and social wellness in older adults
You could do all of this and a whole lot more as a resident of Christwood — or as a member of the Community Center.
Plus, There’s the ‘Life Care’ Peace of Mind
If you’re not yet familiar with Life Care and Life Plan communities, here’s a basic description.
Both types of communities offer a continuum of health services that can include assisted living, skilled nursing care, memory care and/or rehabilitation. Not all retirement communities in Louisiana are Life Care communities, and not all Life Care communities are Life Plan communities.
In a Life Plan community like Christwood, you must be able to live independently when you move into the community. This is why it’s important not to procrastinate when making your decision about moving. If you wait until your physical health or cognitive abilities decline, you may lose your window of opportunity.
If you are eligible to live in a Life Plan community like ours, you have guaranteed access to whatever health services the community offers if you need them later on. At Christwood, we offer the full spectrum: assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation.
The peace of mind that comes with that kind of predictability is priceless.
Ready to Take Another Step?
We’d love to give you a personal tour of our lovely, convivial community so you can see what life is like at Christwood. Contact us to set up a visit and we’ll get on it right away.
If you’d like to ease into the idea of senior living with a visit (and maybe a membership) to the Community Center, we can make that happen, too.
We’re here to help you make the decision that’s best for you.