Steve Roberts and Kay Fennell felt embraced from the moment they first set foot in their new apartment at Oak Crest in 2016. But even more welcoming than their new space were the neighbors who made them feel right at home.
"We felt very welcomed when we moved here," says Steve. "Everyone says hello to you. As you meet people in the community and discover what their interests are, it's easy to find people who like the same things. We found it was really easy to make friends with common interests."
One of the most significant benefits of living at Oak Crest, an Erickson Living-managed community, is the number of opportunities for social interaction, including dining with neighbors and participating in clubs and activities. These opportunities promote healthier living and longevity, while fighting the negative effects of isolation, a problem that many seniors face when choosing to live alone in their house.
"Prior to the pandemic, we would meet friends two or three times a week for dinner here in the community, and on Saturday nights we would meet at the 1812 Pub and have drinks and tell stories and have a really good time," says Steve.
Luckily, the fun doesn't have to stop. Steve and Kay have found plenty of ways to socialize safely.
"Kay has been playing water volleyball with a group of friends in the pool three times a week. And once a week, we meet friends and have a social hour around the fire pit outside while social distancing," says Steve. "We also walk a couple of miles every day around the campus and use the fitness center."
Recent research shows that an active social life and close personal relationships can contribute to good health and longevity, both in adolescence and as we age. Staying socially active may just be the cornerstone of healthy aging.
A national study also found that seniors who live in continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) have greater levels of wellness than older adults in home-based settings, due to the abundance of social interaction. Over two-thirds of the CCRC residents surveyed said that moving to a CCRC "somewhat or greatly improved" their social wellness, a concept that encompasses a person's sense of connectedness and belonging within their community.
"The opportunity to socialize and lead an active lifestyle is one of the primary attractions for people moving to Oak Crest," says Nadine Wellington, community resources manager. "We have approximately 200 clubs and activities. There is really something for everyone and if you have an interest that isn't represented, we encourage and equip residents to launch a new group or club."
According to Wellington, the continual influx of new people moving into Oak Crest aids in the rapid input of fresh ideas for new clubs and groups.
"Many new residents are eager to jump right in," says Wellington. "We have a resident who launched his own television show on the in-house TV station, specifically designed to introduce new residents to the community. So many people have connected since moving to Oak Crest, I'd run out of space if I tried to list them all."
For service-minded individuals, there are volunteer opportunities both on campus and in the greater community, such as organized groups or individual projects with area hospitals for instance.
"I think many people are surprised when they discover just how many different resident-driven groups we have," says Wellington. "Our residents are continuously looking to explore new ideas and try new things."
According to a 2016 Freddie Mac survey of people over the age of 55, an amenity-rich community was one of the most important factors influencing Baby Boomers who are looking for their next home. Affordability, maintenance-free, and walkability were also on the list. All of the apartment homes at Oak Crest are within walking distance of a clubhouse where residents can do their banking, get a haircut, meet friends, exercise at the fitness center, or grab a book from the library.
Oak Crest Sales Counselor Kelly Friend says easy access to activities and amenities, as well as the opportunity to make lasting friendships, is a big factor for prospective residents.
"A large majority of people spend their days in their house alone or with only their spouse," says Friend. "Being able to meet new people who have the same or similar likes and hobbies here at Oak Crest, without having to leave the campus, is a big advantage for many people. It's this level of engagement that sets Oak Crest apart from other retirement communities in the area."
Don't wait to learn more about vibrant and engaged senior living at Oak Crest. Get the scoop on floor plans, pricing, and more by requesting more information today.