Contrary to what you might imagine, life in a 55+ community can be fulfilled, robust, and exciting.
In fact, a Holleran Consulting survey of 57,900 respondents revealed that nearly 90% of senior living residents rated their overall satisfaction as good or excellent and 84.5% would recommend their senior living community to other people.
If anything, it’s more convenient to live in a neighborhood full of prospective friends and planned recreational activities.
So, what can you do to create a fulfilled life in a senior living community? We’ve got five tips for you today, all of which are beneficial for your health in retirement.
It’s worth noting that each of these activities gives you a chance to meet like-minded people, which is huge – being social is so healthy, especially the older we get.
Let’s dive right in.
#1. Learn something new and sign up for a class
With amazing benefits to your cognitive health, lifelong learning is a must. You can create new neural pathways until the day you die, which means challenging yourself to learn something new can literally help you build up your neuroplasticity.
There’s even a study out of the University of Texas that found taking on high-challenge activities, like digital photography or knitting, changes your brain pattern and boosts your memory.
On top of improving your memory, lifelong learning extends your life span and reduces your stress level.
So, whether it’s a high-challenge activity or a class on painting, ceramics, computers, foreign language or writing, sign up for a workshop and give your brain a workout.
My personal favorite is learning music.
Why? It’s like a full-body workout for your brain where you engage your motor, auditory and visual parts of your brain, which means better coordination and complex problem-solving.
#2. Get your dance on
Joining a dance club, class, or event is also another great way to find fulfillment. In the same way that music and memory work together to build your cognitive health, dancing produces similar effects.
Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine discovered that dancing lowers your risk of dementia because it involves both a mental effort and social interaction as a brain stimulus.
Among some of the other benefits of dancing: it increases your flexibility, reduces stress and depression, and increases your energy level (something we could all use more of, right?).
Plus, dancing is an especially social activity, so go find a partner, group, club, or event and dance the night (or day) away.
#3. Go on a mini excursion
Another way to be fulfilled when living in 55+ community is to take a brief break from your neighborhood campus and take a field trip. Coordinate mini day trips with other residents or sign up for any hosted field trips that your community offers.
By attending concerts, museums, games, or shows with other folks, you’ll not only have a great deal of fun, but you’ll do it socially.
Forgive me if I sound like a record: Being social is vital to your health and well-being.
Plus, it keeps away from isolation and loneliness – which are two different battles, I might add, and here’s how:
If you want to combat loneliness, read these simple (yet not necessarily easy) tactics on how to fight loneliness.
Regardless of how social the event is, taking a day trip can be worth your while.
Bonus Tip: Get out of your comfort zone and head to places outside of your normal scope of destinations because it’ll contribute to your growth — growth in your experiences, growth in your brain, and growth in yourself overall (three wins).
#4. Focus on your fitness
If your senior living community includes a gym, workout amenities, or offers any fitness classes and activities, please participate.
Not only are there the well-known health benefits of exercising, but it gives you a chance to meet other people during your workouts, especially if you partake in a team-based activity like water aerobics, tennis or pickleball.
The biggest health benefits to exercising and being fit after 60 are disease prevention, improved mental health, decreased risk of falls and improved brain health. And exercise goes hand in hand with your nutrition and brain health.
If you’re willing to commit to a yoga practice, you’ll also enjoy the hugely important and underrated benefit of being self-aware and finding clarity. Plus, 40% of yogis say it promotes better eating and 59% claim it improves sleep, so it’s worth partaking.
What’s vital here is sticking to a regular exercise schedule and making it a serious part of your weekly routine. The best way to overcome the typical all-or-nothing exercise habit is to start off small and incrementally build from there.
For instance, if your exercise habit is a bit rusty, start off by taking a 10-minute walk in the morning. Practice committing to a regular 10-minute walk until it becomes a solid habit, at which point you can add in a 5-minute jog at the tail end.
Once that’s ingrained in your weekly routine, then you can add a strength-building practice, for example.
#5. Give back by volunteering
Our final tip today for experiencing a fulfilled life in a senior living community is to give back to your community, whether it’s informally helping out a neighbor or officially signing up for a weekly volunteer schedule.
Volunteerism also comes with its fair share of health benefits including better physical health, improved mood, less stress and lower blood pressure.
Even if it’s providing practical help to your friends, relatives or neighbors, giving back has been known to lower your risk of dying over a five-year period.
What’s more, volunteering spurs more volunteering and encourages even observers to be generous and pay it forward. In fact, researchers found that spending money on someone else, rather than yourself, brings you more happiness.
But don’t just aimlessly agree to any type of volunteering. It’s important to find the right volunteer gig, which you can do by following these 7 simple steps to finding the right volunteer opportunity.
Time to fill your life with more purpose
If you’d like more direction on experiencing a fulfilled life (in and out of a 55+ community), watch my free workshop. In just 33 minutes, we’ll lay the foundations for a more purposeful retired life.
And if you’re still looking for a 55+ community, check out this list of the best retirement communities in the US.
How are you fulfilling your life? What are your thoughts about senior living and being fulfilled in a 55+ community?