Aging in place is becoming more popular with seniors headed toward retirement. Before, people would outfit their current residences with amenities designed to transition them from independent living to assisted living as their needs changed. Now, they can choose a retirement community that offers a similar model with added convenience. Not only do they have access to the same features required for safety and security as they age, but they also have the added bonus of a more social atmosphere where they can truly enjoy their retirement years.
“Our features, amenities, and settings are what attract retirees and soon-to-be retirees to live within St. Barnabas communities,” said Douglas W. Day, president, St. Barnabas Communities. “Living on one of our campuses combats feelings of boredom, being lonely, unhealthy or unsafe, removed from health care services, trapped by not wanting or unable to drive, and more. Our residents thrive here, and we promote fun!”
Living in the least restrictive environment for as long as possible is a philosophy that Concordia Lutheran Ministries adopted decades ago, said Concordia spokesperson Frank Skrip. “We believe that by helping people stay as independent as possible for as long as possible, we can save them thousands of dollars while maintaining a higher quality of life,” he explained.
Since 1928, Presbyterian SeniorCare Network has made aging in place easier for older adults and their families across western Pennsylvania. “We were among the first to think differently about how to care for older adults and start creating new programs specifically designed to help them lead a more enriching and fulfilling life,” said Jonathan Szish, corporate communications and public relations director for the network. “We build and deliver a continuum of service and living options for older adults and their families.”
Senior living communities offer many benefits that make them a more attractive place to age in place for most seniors. “At Concordia, the bulk of our residents are attracted to our retirement communities because of our value and affordability, and the sense of community that is created by fellow residents and staff members,” said Skrip.
Daily events, social opportunities, senior college for lifelong learners, dining programs, and spiritual growth opportunities are among the other perks of living in a Concordia senior living community. Worry-free maintenance and the peace of mind that comes with 24-hour electronic security, emergency response systems, and nursing care available on the same campus are other perks that residents enjoy, he said.
St. Barnabas, which created the first retirement community in the region 42 years ago, offers residents a wealth of amenities including an indoor mall, a country club setting restaurant as well as four other dining settings, a bank, hair salon, pub, library, chapel, large theater-style hall, billiards room, wine cellar, fitness room, woodworking shop and more. It also has two contiguous golf courses, Conley Resort & Golf and Suncrest Golf & Grill, with free, unlimited golf for retirees. An indoor, heated 80,000-gallon pool is offered at one of its campuses, and residents can attend plays, movies, concerts and educational series at its Kean Theatre.
Its longstanding history of person-centered care and innovation in healthcare is what attracts most seniors and their family members to Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, said Szish.
“Our communities are all-inclusive, offering restaurant-style dining, housekeeping services, laundry, transportation, and a wide range of programs and activities, all in a homelike setting,” he explained.
The organization’s reputation for innovation includes a dementia care-specific community built in 1991, which was one of the first of its kind in the world. This model has since been replicated more than 100 times across the globe. “Then we learned that low-income seniors in Pittsburgh were living in substandard, unsafe housing, so we developed several attractive and affordable communities to serve them with choice and dignity,” said Szish.
Retirement communities are not restricted to those 65 and older, either. Many younger retirees—or those approaching retirement age—enjoy the freedom afforded by moving to one of these communities before they need to think about assisted care or other specialized services.
“We hear all too often from our residents that they wish they would have made the move sooner, and there are a few reasons for that,” said Skrip.
Moving to a senior living community sooner provides seniors with easy access to discover new interests. They also have the freedom to explore and travel without the burden of homeownership.
“When you live in your own home, traveling can be difficult,” said Skrip. “You worry about the safety of your home and possessions, and you might even need to find someone to mow your grass, shovel your sidewalk, or get your mail. Retirement communities like Concordia help eliminate most, if not all, of those stressors.”
“There are countless examples of younger retirees choosing St. Barnabas Communities throughout all of the campuses,” said Day, giving the example of its multigenerational townhouse community, White Tail Ridge. “There are 10 organized activities every day for our residents to choose from—some say it’s like living on a cruise ship with so many things to do and such wonderful food options!”
Longwood at Oakmont in Plum Borough is one of the communities within the Presbyterian SeniorCare Network. Szish said the Longwood culture of “successful living” makes it the kind of senior living community that may appeal to younger retirees.
Residents can live maintenance-free on its walkable, tree-lined campus featuring modern residences and abundant recreational opportunities. “They are free to choose, plan and lead their own programs, whether it’s bringing a relevant guest speaker to campus, developing useful technology, or helping each other live healthier and happier lives,” said Szish.