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Five facts that might surprise you about senior living

Created date

June 28th, 2016
Resident Len Hilgartner creates bowls and vases in the woodworking shop at Wind Crest.

Not a knitter? At Wind Crest, activities include woodworking in the community’s fully loaded woodworking shop. Resident Len Hilgartner creates bowls and vases using a technique called segmented turning. In fact, the woodshop was one of the amenities that

Think you know everything about continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs)? Think again. We found five facts that might surprise you.

1. Socialization is key to mental health. 

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, older adults with strong social networks may have a slower rate of memory decline and lower mortality rate. Those who live in CCRCs have more opportunities to socialize and engage in community life. 

2. “My only regret is that I didn’t move sooner” is a common phrase. 

Research by the ProMatura Group, LLC, found that most people who moved to an independent living retirement community reported a better experience than they expected—thanks to opportunities to make new friends and try new things.

3. Bingo and sewing do not top the activity list. 

Road Scholar, formerly Elderhostel, reports that the number of adventure travelers over age 85 has increased more than 70% since 2004. Other popular activities that rank higher than bingo and sewing include religious activities, gardening, bicycling, walking, tennis, swimming, golf, and exercise classes.

4. Owning a house may not make sense financially. 

The longer you live in your house, the more home maintenance costs can add up. Big-ticket items like replacing a furnace, central air conditioning, and windows can add up to $20,000 or more. Lawn care for ten years costs approximately $25,000, and a new roof costs roughly $20,000. Imagine the stress and financial burden those repairs can cause.

5. Having a purpose increases longevity.

 According to a 2014 study by University of Rochester School of Medicine, “greater purpose in life” was consistently associated with lower mortality in young, middle-aged, and older people. Examples of purpose include caring for others; volunteering; performing music or other talents; competing in sports or other forms of competition; and traveling, learning, and socializing with others who have similar interests. 


It should be no surprise that the most common characteristics found by the MacArthur Foundation in people who “age successfully” are in sync with what CCRCs aim to achieve—the absence of disease and disability, having high cognitive and physical function, and being actively engaged with life.

“Studies show that people who live in CCRCs tend to live longer by about two years compared to those who live in their house,” says Jeff Watson, director of operations for Erickson Living, developer and manager of Wind Crest in Highlands Ranch, Colo., and 18 other communities nationwide. 

“At Erickson Living communities in particular, reasons people live longer include socialization, engaging culture, on-site medical care and quick response, early intervention, the joy factor, and quality of life,” Watson says.

What’s more, he adds, “Our residents are full of goodness and joy and love, and they are encouraged to show us what it means to live well at 60, 70, 80, 90, and beyond.”