Stay Safe and Keep Your Independence - Making it Happen at a Senior Housing Community
This article discusses some of the safety measures retirement communities take while you live there. It also talks about the different modes of transportation available to you including using your own personal car and the campus bus.
Retirement Communities Keeping An Eye On Your Safety
One inventive retirement community we know has a large block of apartment units that enter into a hallway like a hotel. They invented a one way flag that sits above the door. Each night a watchman goes by and sets each flag to the off position. When residents open their doors in the morning it pops the flag to the on position. If the watchman does not see the flag pop open by noon time, a safety phone call is made to the apartment. Often times it was just the resident sleeping in, but this is one way community innovation at a retirement community can be put into play to make sure everyone is safe and sound.
In Room Safety Devices At Retirement Communities
Ask your retirement community if there are any in-residence safety devices that are installed campus wide. In-unit fire alarm pulls are one example. Also common are wearable distress devices such that if you fall and need assistance you can simply press a button and your home phone will call for help. Such devices may not work with a cell phone so real connected house phone land-lines still have a place on some retirement community campuses.
Retirement Community's 24-Hour Security Desk
Retirement Communities often have a security desk manned 24-hours a day. Take some time to find out where it is and what powers the desk security worker has. Also keep a copy of the desk's phone number in your pocket. If you find yourself locked out of your unit or in need of some late night help, being able to access the 24-hour desk will come in handy.
Safety Classes For Electric Scooters And Wheelchairs
Do you use an electric scooter or wheelchair to get around? If so, you may need to pass the retirement community scooter safety class before you can use it on campus. In the class, rules such as the local scooter speed limit and areas where you can drive and not drive will be covered. Speed limits for both scooters and even cars are usually kept low on retirement community campuses.
How do you stay independent in old age?
You can usually take your car with you when you move to your retirement community. Many stand-alone or duplex units will have driveways and garages. Some will even have large two car garages. If you live in a condo there may very well be a car port or at least a parking spot for you. Register for handicap accessible privileges in your new state if applicable and enjoy your driving freedom. Even though you have your car remember that many of your needs will be met directly on campus if it is large. The campus bus will bring you around campus and off campus to the local town too.
Riding The Campus Bus
Almost all retirement communities and senior living campuses have a campus bus. The bus will take you around to the far reaches of the campus and to satellite campuses if any. Regular scheduled trips to the local grocery store, medical buildings, town library, and other local "hot spots" are usually published on a weekly bus schedule. The bus is handicapped accessible and often has a wheel chair lift. The bus is cleared to park in the handicapped spots in the parking lot of each place it visits.
The bus can also be your personal chauffeur! Ask the retirement community how you can schedule the bus to take you to a medical appointment or to a family member's home. We know of one retirement community that will give you a personal bus trip for free if up to 15 miles away and then charges a per mile rate for distances further away. Be sure to schedule your trip in advance with the bus coordinator.
Overlapping Senior Services
When you live at a retirement community keep your eyes open for overlapping senior services that exist outside the retirement community. The town the retirement community is in may have a senior center, library, and a senior bus. Retirement communities will have most of these facilities as well. Some benefits like "Meals on Wheels" may be a better or less preferred option compared to the retirement community's home meal delivery service. At either end of the spectrum, remember to take advantage of any amenities you may qualify for, be they from the local town or the retirement community itself.
Safety measures are something that is very important to consider when choosing a retirement community. Most retirement communities have safety devices in their rooms as well as a 24-hour security desk. Depending on your level of care you should also have transportation options that work best for you including using your personal car and using the campus bus.