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Ask an older adult where they would like to age, and the majority of them – probably up to 98 or 99 percent of them – will say they want to remain in their own home for the rest of their life. But while the reality of aging in place by yourself sounds appealing when you’re younger, it can become a lot less attractive and a lot more difficult as you age.

In an interview for the website Where You Live Matters, Dr. Karl Pillemer, Professor of Gerontology in Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College makes these observations:

“In general, I believe that it’s better for older people to age in community. A real killer is the amount of social isolation and loneliness that affects older people. People become lonelier, and that makes them less interested, less energetic, and that leads to more depression and so forth. It’s breaking that particular cycle that’s important. This is not just an issue identified by psychologists and sociologists. People are actually finding that isolation and loneliness affect your immune system. It affects your ability to fight illness. There’s an enormous mind-body connection there.”

“It’s estimated that nearly one-third of seniors live alone, which can have serious health effects on them,” says Marcos Gonzales, Director of Sales of East Ridge at Cutler Bay, a Miami-Dade Life Plan Community with one story living on 76 acres of green space. “We’ve seen firsthand during the COVID-19 pandemic how isolation can be detrimental to seniors’ mental, physical and emotional wellness.”

That’s one of the many reasons why you shouldn’t age alone. Finding a community in which to age, such as you’d find at a Life Plan Community like East Ridge at Cutler Bay, provides not just a strong social network but also everything you need to age well, such as different levels of care.

What Can Seniors Do To Keep from Getting Lonely?

As we age, our social circle naturally shrinks. While in earlier years, you were able to make and maintain friends in different areas of your life such as school, work and other activities, it’s not uncommon for friends and family to move away or pass on. Even if you’re still living in the same community as your friends and family, coordinating meetups can be challenging especially if you have difficulty driving or have other mobility issues.

One of the biggest ways seniors can overcome loneliness is by moving into a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), also known as a Life Plan Community. These types of communities offer every level of care: independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing (long-term care), memory care and rehabilitation. Beyond levels of care, CCRCs provide social connections and an action plan that helps seniors age well, no matter how their health needs may change in the future.

What Benefits Does a CCRC Contract Provide?

In terms of healthy aging, Life Plan Communities like East Ridge at Cutler Bay provide a wide variety of benefits. Here are just a few of them.

A Life Plan template. Also known as “creating a life plan,” this is a term for the personalized action plan every resident receives when they move into a community. This includes items such as health needs, fitness and wellness goals, interests and hobbies, passions and other lifestyle goals that the individual wants. This plan is revisited regularly as the individual ages and needs or goals change.

One monthly fee. Unlike living at home, which includes a lot of costs (even if your home is paid off), a Life Plan Community fee structure is simple. Residents pay an entrance fee and then, every month after, they pay one monthly fee that covers everything they will enjoy at the community. That fee stays the same, even if the individual requires higher levels of care such as assisted living, skilled nursing care, memory care or even rehabilitation services.

Wellness for the whole person. Wellness is more than just staying physically fit. It means taking care of the whole person and looking at all the dimensions of wellness. In a Life Plan Community, everything is designed to nourish mind, body and soul by providing opportunities for every dimension of wellness: social, intellectual, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, health services and, of course, physical.

A home for life. As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the vast majority of seniors want to grow old in their homes. A Life Plan Community can very quickly become home – and is a place where you can truly grow old in health, wellness and happiness.

About East Ridge at Cutler Bay

East Ridge at Cutler Bay is Miami-Dade County’s only true Life Plan Community. The nonprofit community draws from the neighborhood charm of suburban Cutler Bay and the vibrancy of Miami in a lush tropical setting of 76 acres, located at 19301 SW 87th Avenue. The community offers a continuum of care including independent living, assisted living and memory support residences in a neighborhood setting; respite care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation are available within Three Palms Health Center.

For more information or to schedule a tour, please call 305-280-2346.