Retaining mental sharpness in retirement communities?

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RudyS
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Retaining mental sharpness in retirement communities?

Post by RudyS » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:32 am

DW and I were discussing whether a move to a retirement community (coming soon, CCRC in our case) has an effect on one's mental sharpness, due to lack of the structured activities we currently have. I know that we should be able to help this situation by finding new things to replace what will be left behind. Examples: house work, AARP taxaide volunteer, deliver meals on wheels, AAUW groups. What I would like to see is your descriptions of how such a change has impacted you. DW suggested I post this topic because she respects and appreciates your combined wisdom and experience(as do I!) based on numerous topics I have discussed with her.

ResearchMed
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Re: Retaining mental sharpness in retirement communities?

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:50 pm

RudyS wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:32 am
DW and I were discussing whether a move to a retirement community (coming soon, CCRC in our case) has an effect on one's mental sharpness, due to lack of the structured activities we currently have. I know that we should be able to help this situation by finding new things to replace what will be left behind. Examples: house work, AARP taxaide volunteer, deliver meals on wheels, AAUW groups. What I would like to see is your descriptions of how such a change has impacted you. DW suggested I post this topic because she respects and appreciates your combined wisdom and experience(as do I!) based on numerous topics I have discussed with her.
This hasn't affected us yet, but the assisted living facility where MIL (age approaching 100) lives has very frequent concerts and lectures, plus movies and videos of TED talks (plus discussions after), etc. Usually several such events to choose from each day.
And there is an active group playing bridge daily.
For those eager to "get out", in addition to a car service (needs reservation), there are frequent trips to museums in the area, plus occasionally shopping trips. Assistance is available for those in wheelchairs, etc.

The availability of these activities, on site or off, seemed to vary considerably from facility to facility when we were screening them for MIL. Some of the differences might be associated with whether there is also an independent living section (there is one where MIL now lives), although residents there usually also have cars and in some cases, they are still working, full or part time.

We are looking at this same facility for ourselves in the future, probably starting with independent living, perhaps when the stairs in our house become a problem.

RM
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Jazztonight
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Re: Retaining mental sharpness in retirement communities?

Post by Jazztonight » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:53 pm

Congratulations on your upcoming move!

Although my wife and I do not live in a retirement community (her choice; we live in a downtown apartment building), I perform music for the residents of several nearby facilities, and have 5 or 6 close friends who live in different retirement places, so I'm familiar with what goes on in some of them.

My answer to you is that your physical and mental condition will be a direct result of your own personal motivation. If you've been active all of your life, you're not about to stop doing so just because you've moved.

Virtually every retirement facility offers a gym, a library, and a myriad of social, physical, travel, community, cooking & dining, spiritual, artistic, and learning activities. They often offer shuttles to the theater, opera, and symphony. If they don't have something specific that you desire, you can probably make it happen yourself! Most places encourage this sort of thing. The larger the retirement facility, the more it will have to offer. Many activities are run by groups or committees, so you can have a voice in what's going on. I've seen groups and clubs for bowling, Mah Jongg, bridge, hiking, arts & crafts, swimming, foreign language study, local travel, cruises, wine-tasting trips, men's and women's discussion groups, etc. The sky's the limit as far as activities.

In the end, however, your mental sharpness, as you put it, will be dependent on your own personal mindset, activities, and self-motivation. As someone who has thought long and hard about this, I know the research points to physical fitness and exercise, diet, reading, music listening & study, foreign language study, and social interaction. Did I miss something?

It doesn't matter where you live. How you live is what's important.

Good luck to you!
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

squirm
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Re: Retaining mental sharpness in retirement communities?

Post by squirm » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:18 pm

My father in law lived in one but eventually moved out to be closer to his kids. He said there is always an ambulance driving by, he really didn't like it, he said he didn't want to be reminded of old age day after day.

My mother said she would rather hear kids play and families doing their thing.

delamer
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Re: Retaining mental sharpness in retirement communities?

Post by delamer » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:14 pm

The CCRC’s with which I am familiar offer multiple activities ranging from exercise classes to bridge tournaments to transportation to symphony performances.

As someone said earlier, it will be up to you and your wife to stay mentally and physically active. The opportunities to do so will be plentiful.

fposte
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Re: Retaining mental sharpness in retirement communities?

Post by fposte » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:32 pm

They're also often hotbeds of useful volunteer activity. A lot of high powered people shift gears into powering stuff for the community.

cadreamer2015
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Re: Retaining mental sharpness in retirement communities?

Post by cadreamer2015 » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:40 pm

Other than house work, it is not clear to me why any of your current activities would not be able to continue when living in a CCRC. As others have written, most CCRCs I’m familiar with have a host of physical, social and intellectual activists on offer.
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Steelersfan
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Re: Retaining mental sharpness in retirement communities?

Post by Steelersfan » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:04 pm

I'm associated with three different not for profit organizations. All of them can't all the volunteers they need. There are surely several (or many) such wherever you are. You just have to find some that are of interest to you and join up.

And don't just be a volunteer who takes the usual routine duties. Offer to do extra projects that help better the organization, maybe some that utilize the skills you used when you were working or from your hobbies.

RudyS
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Re: Retaining mental sharpness in retirement communities?

Post by RudyS » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:39 pm

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and comments. The message I get is, that it's up to us to stay active and there should be lots of opportunities. Happy holidays all.

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