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Retirement Living During a Pandemic

Retirement Living During a Pandemic

By Catherine Campbell

We can always make a case for the benefits of retirement living. During COVID, the advantages became that much clearer. The basis for retirement living, from the perspective of The Berkeley, is that optimal health and wellness is best maintained for seniors when they are eating well, engaging socially with their peer group and have easy access to a healthcare professional, if required. It is these inclusions in retirement living that give residents and their families peace of mind and a sense of safety and security. It is a lifestyle that supports independence.

No matter one’s age, when we eat well – nutritious, well-balanced, regular meals – we feel stronger, think more clearly, and we sleep better. Eating well, as you age, becomes more of an onerous task. For seniors, getting out to buy groceries can be a difficult chore and so too can cooking. Relying on others to come and help you can add to unnecessary stress. It is also often the case that poor eating habits are causing unnecessary frailty. We find that when residents move into our buildings, there is a change in their strength and stamina just because they are simply eating better. Often blood work will reflect that change for the better as well.

Moving into a community with others means having direct access to a social life. Knowing others are around, whether you want to socialize or not can be very powerful in terms of easing any sense of worry and anxiety and can most certainly alleviate loneliness. Having access to a nurse to answer questions can also help to alleviate concerns both mental and physical. And, of course, a healthcare professional is on duty 24 hours a day should there be any acute issues that need to be addressed.

During the COVID lockdown, anyone who lived alone could certainly tell the tale of loneliness and how it affected their mental health. It was also extremely obvious that people were moving less and were seeing signs of weight gain along with a loss of muscle, stamina and flexibility.

Since the lockdown ended, we have seen our buildings fill up with new residents as people recognize the benefit of living in a community where they are safe and have everything they need under one roof. COVID has been a wakeup call. We need the company of others to maintain joy in our lives and movement and activity to maintain our overall health and prevent frailty.

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