These are your parents, of course, the same people who took care of you and your siblings for all those years, then became your support system when you had children of your own.
But today’s senior care facilities are radically different from what you’re imagining. Gone are the days of terrible cafeteria food and dreary rooms. Oh no, these days, seniors are living in style, with tons of amenities and perks that might just make you wish you could live there, too.
From farm-to-table dining options to in-house museums, here are some of the unique features you can find in senior living facilities across the country.
Before you decide which hip community is right for your parents, give the folks at Closetbox a call. The company’s team of expert storage movers will pick up your parents’ belongings and store them in a private vault and return them when you are ready.
After all, your time will be better spent hanging out with Mom and Dad in their new digs, not carting boxes to a storage unit.
Delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables are on the menu at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community in Harrisonburg, Virginia, thanks to its working farm, which is located a few minutes away from the retirement community campus.
The Farm at Willow Run yields more than 36,000 pounds of fresh produce, which is incorporated into the community’s dining menus, says Maureen Pearson, spokeswoman for the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community.
Residents who want to get their hands dirty can volunteer at the farm or participate in activities such as corn husking, bean snapping and baking zucchini bread, Pearson added.
2. Surrounded by history
The Reutlinger Community in Danville, California, is a 110,000-square-foot facility that’s home to up to 180 seniors. It’s also home to the Jewish Heritage Museum, which features dozens of historical Jewish artifacts and hosts temporary exhibitions.
For history buffs, the museum provides a window into the past — its oldest piece is an Italian Hanukkah lamp that dates back to the 17th century. Other meaningful artifacts include three stained-glass synagogue windows that survived World War II.
The Reutlinger Community is unique for another reason: It’s home to a full-time, artist-in-residence who is available to guide community members as they paint, draw and sculpt in a new fine arts studio. Betty Rothaus, MFA, leads the community’s “Discover the Artist Within” program, which has enabled some residents to have their art featured in prominent exhibits around San Francisco (including at the airport!).
4. Laugh factory
Residents at The Kenwood by Senior Star in Cincinnati, Ohio, don’t like to take themselves too seriously. In fact, many participate in a special yoga class specifically designed to make them laugh.
They’re also able to take advantage of Zumba classes and guided brain-training exercises.
“Laughter Yoga at The Kenwood by Senior Star is a fun, guided meditation that involves a series of breathing and laughter exercise,” says Jeanne Bilyeu, director of programs and wellness for the community. “Our residents enjoy the program because it decreases stress while helping them feel renewed, refreshed and happy. Plus laughing can lower blood pressure, release endorphins and improve cardiac health.”
5. Coffee shop
What’s better than a delicious pastry and a hot cup of coffee shared with friends? Not much, according to the residents of Applewood, a continuing care retirement community in Freehold, New Jersey. They get to enjoy a cozy, Soho-style coffee lounge whenever they want.
“A key wellness tool for seniors is socialization,” says Keith Grady, executive director at Applewood. “We introduced our coffee bar as a destination for residents to join others and watch the game, meet a friend for coffee, or enjoy a game of shuffleboard before dinner.”
6. Green living
When they’re not out hiking the community’s four miles of trails, residents of Wake Robin in Shelburne, Vermont, are focused on protecting and preserving the environment. They have the opportunity to harvest honey from the community’s bee hives, boil sap to make maple syrup and help with composting. And, instead of using pesticides, Wake Robin recruits 60,000 ladybugs to its lush, green campus.
7. Vineyard strolls
Though it’s not yet open to residents, Touchmark in the West Hills is sure to be a hit when it’s completed in 2018 — especially among wine lovers. The 200-unit retirement community is being built next to Swede Hill Vineyards in Portland, Oregon, which means residents will be able to stroll through the lush vineyard when they’re not busy in the community greenhouse or playing pickleball.