By Kathy Barthel for Comfort Life, a division of Our Kids Media
The seven pillars of a fulfilling retirement are social, environmental, spiritual, sexual, emotional, physical and intellectual. These are the seven areas of life that you need to participate in to be healthy and happy. The more engaged you are in these areas (volunteering in your community, learning new things or making new friendships) the richer and more rewarding your life will be.
But it isn’t always easy to do that by yourself, especially if you don’t get out that often or if you’ve lost friends or loved ones. The good news is that today’s retirement communities provide opportunities to engage in all areas of life in a more stimulating environment than many people might be able to experience at home.
We asked seniors in retirement communities across Canada to tell us how they participate in each of these seven areas.
Read about each area here and click on the links to meet Ruth Michaelis, Heinz Berger, Lois Anderson, Phillip and Katherine Tindle, Margaret Darte, Peter Henningsen and Mary Yule, who describe what life is really like inside today’s retirement community.
1. Social: Living in a community of your peers is important for your physical, mental and psychological health. It gives you emotional support and interesting things to think about, and it inspires you to participate in a variety of activities.
2. Environmental: In order to thrive, you need to live in an environment that makes you feel comfortable and at home. It should include common rooms, areas where you can visit with friends and family and quiet spaces where you can reflect and relax.
3. Spiritual: Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose, adds meaning to your life and makes you feel valued. You can lead a group within a retirement residence, and you can also give back to the wider community.
4. Sexual: Experiencing love and sexuality in later years fulfills a need for emotional comfort and intimacy. This vital part of life also has a positive impact on self-esteem and physical and emotional health.
5. Emotional: Moving from your home to a retirement community is often challenging. Compassionate staff understand this change and will help you work through it and embrace the opportunities that it brings.
6. Physical: The exercise programs and personal and group instruction available in retirement communities are geared to your individual fitness level and help you maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.
7. Intellectual: Retirement residences understand the importance of lifelong learning and offer many academic and non-academic opportunities to expand your knowledge both at the residence and in the wider community.
To see more of what it’s like living in a retirement community and how to retire happy, feel free to check out these videos of residents sharing new experiences and opportunities they’ve been able to enjoy, including taking up former hobbies, since moving into a retirement residence.
About the Author: Kathy Barthel is the print and online editor of Comfort Life and Dialogue Plus magazines. Powering the most comprehensive directory of retirement communities in Canada, Comfort Life enables families to research and compare profiles to find the best choice for their loved ones, as well as comprehensive information and advice for all stages of retirement and care. To find everything you need to know about the best retirement living and care, whether your retirement is imminent or years away, visit us at Comfort Life.