Aging isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the days of rocking chairs and loneliness. Today’s seniors are finding that aging is more fun when it’s not tried alone.
The number one risk factor to our mental and physical health is lack of socialization or isolation.
Studies show nearly half of seniors regularly experience loneliness, which often increases the likelihood of serious health problems and mortality by over 25 percent, according to the Association for Psychological Science.
Lonely individuals also see a 64 percent increased chance of developing clinical dementia.
Such serious statistics require creative solutions. At Monarch House, their strategy to combat this involves creating an engaging environment where residents look forward to each new day, and where their family members actually enjoy their community as much as they do.
As an Alzheimer’s and Dementia educator, Beth Dow has seen hundreds of assisting living communities. In her experience, the key to extending life starts with enhancing the quality of life.
Now as the director of Monarch House, Dow is continuing the vision of owner Victor Young, in ensuring residents, and their families, are getting a special experience.
“When you walk in the doors here, you feel something different than anywhere else,” Dow said, “There’s life here – a spark.”
That spark can be found throughout the building and it’s something that keeps residents engaged, along with their visitors.
“As a family member, it’s a place you want to visit – it’s not a chore,” she said. “And because of our location, it’s also on the way to almost anything.”
Entering Monarch House feels like a step back in time. From a vintage drug store soda fountain where ice cream floats and milkshakes are sipped while listening to oldies on the jukebox, to playing shuffle bowling, pinball, skeeball, and billiards – the mission of engagement is never forgotten.
A weekend for a resident could consist of a trip to Callaway Gardens and then to the Renaissance Festival. “From running errands to attending concerts and plays, there’s always an opportunity to leave the building,” Dow said.
Even the weekly poker game is a good time for everyone, while it’s also utilizing the underlying benefits of socialization and dexterity.
In addition to enjoying the activities that enhance their life, residents at Monarch House do not have to worry about their rent going up as they age and need more help.
“We don’t do levels of care,” Dow said. “The rent you come in at will not increase because you need more help with your ADLs or activities of daily living.”
And because Monarch House isn’t a chain, they can make their own decisions regarding programming. “We’re the only truly independent community in Newnan,” Dow said.
And for Dow, the best part of Monarch House is seeing residents actually treating it like their home, rather than feeling like a guest. “When I see residents reading with their feet up on the furniture or taking a nap on a sofa, that really makes me smile,” Dow said.
Dow recalled one visitor who, for her birthday, asked to spend a weekend at Monarch House. “She had been to several of our events in the past and knew it would be a good time,” Dow recalled. “How often do you think someone asks to spend a weekend in an assisted living community?”
Monarch House isn’t just helping residents live longer. They’re making sure they live happier, too.