As more and more baby boomers reach retirement age, it’s no surprise that just as they reinvented the world in their youth, they’re rewriting the book on what it means to retire. At the heart of this new paradigm is the idea of active aging, which includes nurturing the six dimensions of wellness: social, intellectual, vocational, physical, emotional and spiritual.
At its core, active aging isn’t just about living longer — it’s about how to keep thriving as we age to enjoy and make the most of that longevity. Senior living communities, which are in a perpetual state of evolution due to generational shifts, are adapting to serve the needs of people who are living longer, healthier, more active lives. This includes implementing holistic wellness programs that go beyond simply offering fitness equipment and aqua aerobics classes. Programs centered on active aging provide the tools needed to achieve whole-person wellness, from carefully curated meal options, specially tailored exercise classes, and resident interest groups to enhanced social spaces, on-site health care, and opportunities for continued learning.
For example, at Mirabella in South Lake Union, a comprehensive wellness program is built around maintaining and expanding these dimensions in countless ways that seamlessly blend into the daily lives of its residents. Social discussion groups, senior-focused workout spaces and fitness instruction, meditation sessions, nutrition monitoring, and lifelong‐learning programs, including a relationship with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington, all work in tandem to provide residents with an active, engaged lifestyle that benefits all six dimensions of wellness.
“We see and hear from residents every day how the commitment to their wellness makes them more fulfilled,” says Kevin Stallo, Director of Sales & Marketing at Mirabella. “Today’s older adults aren’t content to sit and watch TV all day; they want to stay active, relevant, and connected to their community and the world at large. So we’re always looking for new, creative ways to help them achieve that goal.”
Even the location of a senior living community can be an important factor to promoting wellness. While some may want a quiet, retreat-like campus, many retirees today are more interested in an urban setting that keeps them “closer to the action,” so to speak. City-based senior living communities put residents in proximity to cultural attractions like museums, libraries, higher-learning institutions, social gathering spaces, and more, offering a host of ways to maintain their well-being.
Mirabella’s walkable location in South Lake Union is a great example. It provides countless wellness benefits for its residents, even with the simple act of taking a walk, which can nurture not only the physical, but the emotional and spiritual dimensions as well. As evidenced by a recent Seattle Times article, one Mirabella resident in particular, Bill Hoppin, has made walking the area a decade‐long ritual that has seen him cover nearly 20,000 miles. Walking has seen Bill through good times and bad — including the loss of his wife in 2014 — but he attributes his ability to stay strong mentally and emotionally to his daily, sometimes hours‐long excursions around the city.
Senior living communities in walkable, urban areas like South Lake Union also offer residents easy access to a variety of activities that support an active‐aging lifestyle. The website Walk Score, which ranks the walkability of properties, gives Mirabella Seattle a rating of 99 out of 100, making it a “Walker’s Paradise” with restaurants, grocery stores, and cultural and entertainment outlets in easy reach. And for those with an itch to explore far and wide, close access to public transportation allows convenient passage to other areas of the city and beyond.
The generation that currently makes up the bulk of retirement‐age adults were trailblazers in their youth, and they’ll continue to demand such innovation in senior living. Finding a community with a commitment to its residents’ well‐being is fundamental to giving today’s older adults the retirement lifestyle they want.
Mirabella is a proudly not-for-profit Life Plan Community for Seattle’s older adults. Our South Lake Union location provides a thriving, urban environment for active seniors who seek an active, engaging lifestyle with the peace of mind of on-site health care services.