If lockdown has taught us anything, its how valuable community is when it comes to our wellbeing – because it’s hard to live a fulfilling life when we’re cut off, isolated, and feeling lonely.
With many older people shielding throughout the Covid-crisis, and family units having to keep to themselves, company has been in short supply. Sadly for a lot of people, this is nothing new. Gone are the days of family generations living in the same street. Instead, it’s quite usual for families to be spread across the country or even around the globe.
We all want our parents to make the most of their later years, and thinking of them in loneliness or isolation is hard to bear. So community living brings many benefits – including the chance of a sociable, fulfilled life for residents.
Helping your parents to age positively
Loneliness doesn’t have to be an accepted part of the ageing process, but making changes in later life can be difficult. So how can you help?
When it comes to finding the right move and community, it can mean difficult conversations for the closest of families. Remember that it’s natural for people to resist change. It can be overwhelming, but the process doesn’t have to be a scary one.
With your parents in the driving seat, your role is to support them and try to take an objective view. Taking into account their needs and desires, along with their finances, will help the decision-making process. And of course, how much support do they actually require?
Do your parents need round-the-clock help, or just a little company? Would they prefer to relocate to be nearer to family, or stay in the area they know?
See which housing options are fit for your family
Your parents might have family and friends nearby, but struggle to do everything they used to. Adapting the home environment to make it safer, and getting support from visiting carers, can enable people to live independently for longer.
Moving in with family
This is a great option for some families – particularly when there are grandchildren in the mix – but it’s not right for everyone. It’s important to consider how your home might need to be adapted, what sort of care is needed, and how you’ll handle things if the arrangement doesn’t work out.
Typically for the over 55s, sheltered housing helps people to live independently for longer. At Abbeyfield South Downs we offer studio accommodation in our converted houses, creating individual, homely environments. With homemade meals, communal areas and resident activities, this can be a good transition for people seeking their own space but with a little support and company.
> Find out more about Our Houses
Offering more care than sheltered housing – such as help with washing, dressing, taking medication and going to the toilet – assisted living is a great option for those wishing to retain their independence, whilst having 24-hour assistance on hand. Abbeyfield South Downs’ new development in Heathfield will offer Extra Care when it opens next year.
> Find out more about our Holdenhurst development
Residential care homes
This can be a daunting and emotional prospect for some families, but can be the right decision in allowing people to thrive and live a fulfilling life. With the most extensive care options available, this is often suitable as a ‘next step’ option after Supported Living or Extra Care.
It’s important to consider the financial implications of every option. The Abbeyfield Society website explains more about payment options, but we’re always here to answer your questions and to help guide you through the process.
Joining a warm and friendly community can help your parents to carry on living independently, with a little extra help and as much or as little company as they want.
Designed to offer affordable housing to older generations, Abbeyfield was founded on the principle of alleviating loneliness. Now, with better living standards and improved healthcare, most people can look forward to an active and engaging life in older age.
Enabling people to live independently for longer improves health and wellbeing. Joining an active, sociable community, with home-cooked meals, someone to say hello and maintenance without the worry may be the answer.
Finding the most fulfilling way forward for your family can feel daunting, so if you want a friendly chat about your options we’re always here to help.
Our houses continue to maintain essential safety protocols to keep our residents and staff safe. However, we are able to undertake viewings for those interested in joining us as residents.
Viewings are strictly by appointment only and extensive safety measures will be implemented. If you’d like to view one of our houses, please contact the house in question for more details.