When posed with the question, How would you describe your life at your retirement residence?, Violet exclaims, “It’s anything but boring!” Having lived at her Chartwell residence for almost nine years now, she can certainly attest to what the lifestyle in a retirement community looks and feels like.
Does love at first sight exist? If you were to ask Gina and Giuseppe of Chartwell Valley Vista Retirement Residence in Vaughan, Ontario, it most certainly does! This happy couple of 74 years is living proof.
‘Tis the season of showing loved ones how much we care—including those companions that come with four legs, two wings or even a few scales. For many older adults, pets are the love of their life—right up there with spouses, family and friends.
Just a few weeks ahead of Valentine’s Day—when some individuals may experience heightened feelings of loneliness over love—the U.K. government appointed the country’s first Minister for Loneliness to manage what has been called an “epidemic” of lonely people in the country.
Here is the surprising thing about loneliness: it actually has an upside! According to Dr. Abraham Palmer, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, “Loneliness may be a warning sign that motivates people to try to develop social links, in the same way the pain of a burn motivates people to move away from a hot flame.” Dr. Palmer is suggesting that instead of viewing loneliness as something inevitable that we just have to endure, we can see it as a signal that we need to do something different.
It’s a brand-new year, full of possibilities and perhaps even time for a change. If, for example, you’re considering a move into a retirement residence, then the early part of the year is a surprisingly good time to do so. Here’s why:
Earlier this fall, residents and staff of Chartwell Belcourt Retirement Residence volunteered to show their support for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Elementary School in Ottawa, Ontario, where many refugee children attend and are in need of their community’s support.
As the days get shorter and the weather turns cooler, it’s important for older adults to stay socially engaged with friends and family and not let factors like inclement weather foster feelings of loneliness—especially as such feelings are shown to be detrimental to our health, even more so than smoking, obesity and inactivity!
Studies show that older adults who are socially isolated have a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety. People who are socially connected are less likely to develop physical and mental health problems, and they live longer on average than those who are socially isolated. Retirement communities offer older adults, whose social networks often get smaller, many ways to socialize each day through activities and broaden their social networks.
Sébastien Chartier, General Manager of Chartwell L’Unique had an idea last year. “Initially, I wanted to organize a beach party for our residents to enjoy the sun and relax for an afternoon,” he says. Fast forward two years later, and the initial 2016 Beach Party where 200 or so residents from Chartwell homes in the Laurentians first gathered and its surroundings has now become Chartwell’s largest seniors’ gathering in all of Quebec.