Do Assisted Living Communities Come Complete With Workout Rooms?
If you are a family member helping your adult parent seek a suitable assisted living community, you may wonder what these types of facilities offer in the way of physical fitness. The reality is that keeping physically active is crucial to a senior’s overall health and wellness. In this regard, you may wonder whether assisted living communities come complete with workout rooms.
The quick answer to this question is that some do and some don’t. There are over 30,000 assisted living facilities in the United States. They come in a wide range of different sizes and with a myriad of various amenities. For example, there are many assisted living communities with hundreds of residents. At the other end of the spectrum, small assisted living communities with under 10 residents are situated in typical residential properties.
Simply put, larger assisted living communities are more apt to have significantly outfitted fitness facilities or workout rooms. However, that doesn’t mean that smaller communities might also have some types of senior-friendly fitness or workout equipment available to residents. Moreover, as will be discussed throughout this article, there is a variety of fitness programming available to residents of assisted living communities, no matter the size of the facility in which they reside.
Importance of Exercise for Seniors in Assisted Living
As the adult child of a parent considering assisted living, you are spot-on when you are concerned about what a community might have available regarding exercise programming and perhaps even a workout room for residents in these facilities. Exercising regularly is important at all stages of life, but it is especially beneficial for seniors.
As we age, our bodies undergo changes that can negatively impact our health and well-being. Regular exercise helps to reverse many of these consequences of aging. Regular physical activity not only reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity; it also helps to maintain mental alertness, improves sleep, and boosts a person’s mood.
Regular exercise can help maintain mobility, muscle strength, coordination, and balance for physically fit seniors. This can reduce the risk of falls and fractures by improving bone density, muscular fitness, and strength. Exercise also helps to slow the effects of loneliness, depression, and other mental health issues often faced by seniors as they experience life transitions such as retirement or the death of a partner.
Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous or uncomfortable to provide benefits; light exercises such as walking or swimming provide many benefits without putting too much strain on the body. Increasing flexibility through stretching exercises is also important in maintaining healthy joints.
There are numerous ways that seniors can incorporate regular exercise into their daily lives. Participating in team sports or organized activities is a great way to stay active while having fun with friends or family members. You could also try taking low-impact classes like tai chi or yoga, which can help improve flexibility and balance. If you’re more comfortable exercising alone, plenty of options are available, such as taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood or joining a gym to take advantage of safe training methods designed specifically for seniors.
Specialized Fitness Programs for Your Senior Parent in Assisted Living
If an assisted living community lacks its own fitness or workout room, the facility is highly likely to offer fitness programming for different types of its residents at the location. A community can have fitness opportunities, including aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching. Many assisted living communities offer fitness and mindfulness opportunities like yoga.
Off-Site Exercise and Fitness Opportunities
Many assisted living communities have relationships with community centers, fitness clubs, etc. Through these relationships, seniors who live in assisted living can access fitness programs and exercise classes.
In addition, seniors in assisted living may also have access to fitness and wellness programs like SilverSneakers. SilverSneakers is a fitness program designed specifically for seniors. This comprehensive program provides access to exercise classes, gyms, and other physical activities to help seniors stay active and improve their overall health.
The SilverSneakers program was launched in 1992 by Healthways, Inc., a health solutions company based in Tennessee. It was created to make it easier for seniors to stay physically active and maintain their health as they age. The idea behind the program was that it would provide access to thousands of health clubs, fitness centers, and gyms across the country at no additional cost to participants.
The initial version of SilverSneakers offered participants access to 50 exercise classes ranging from aerobics and yoga to strength training and Tai Chi. Since then, the range of activities offered has expanded greatly, with many locations now offering over 100 different class options. Each class typically lasts an hour or less, depending on its intensity level. Additionally, some gyms offer special programs, such as water aerobics and chair exercises specifically tailored to seniors.
In addition to providing access to exercise classes, SilverSneakers members can also take advantage of various discounts associated with their membership. These include discounts on transportation services, medical supplies and equipment purchases at participating pharmacies, restaurant meals at participating establishments, movie tickets through MovieTickets.com, and more. There is an online community where members can connect for social interaction or seek advice on healthy living topics, such as nutrition or weight management strategies.
On top of all these perks associated with a SilverSneakers membership comes a dedicated staff who are there to help answer any questions about the program or provide guidance about how best to take advantage of all its features. Various fitness instructors certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine are also available in many locations throughout the United States. They can work one-on-one with SilverSneakers members if desired.
Overall, the goal of SilverSneakers is quite simple: To help make it easier for seniors to stay active so they can maintain their health and well-being into their later years without having to worry about the high costs associated with joining a gym. It is a program ideally suited to seniors residing in assisted living and is highly recommended by adult children of such individuals.