Being able to retire in a responsible way is on the minds of many older folks today. With the move towards more sustainable lifestyles, eco-friendly assisted living communities are becoming a popular way to do this. In many cities, the development of green retirement homes are an integral part of society, to lessen the negative impact that past generations have had on the earth. In this way, retired citizens are leaving behind a legacy of honor that starts with the way they spend their golden years.
Trends in Green Retirement and Assisted Living Communities
While assisted living communities provide an independent lifestyle for retired people, they also encourage a sense of community and ongoing support that is beneficial to residents. In terms of green retirement options, one big trend is the updating of assisted living facilities with high energy rated appliances, well-maintained heating and air systems, solar lighting options, and on-site recycling programs. This can not only help to reduce waste, but it gives residents a lower cost option for their apartments or condos, which can be a welcome aspect of carefree living.
Some of the newer assisted living communities are also providing access to commune-style living with shared gardens and eco-friendly routines that keep older folks active and part of something meaningful. Enjoying the bounty of a harvest with fresh foods can be highly rewarding and healthful. Recycling and re-using materials for other purposes around the complex also helps to restore the earth and conserve natural resources. Residents are encouraged to share their resources with each other and participate in community enhancing activities to add more value to their lives.
Going green is an initiative that many assistant living facility managers are focused on, with the addition of solar and wind energy options that rely less on city power grids. Having access to hot water and reliable electricity for normal household needs, as well as on-site therapies is an added bonus that residents experience without guilt. Mealtimes, daily routines, and recreational activities are handled with as little impact on the environment as possible. Giving back to the earth becomes the focus of life in a green assisted living community.
Updates in hybrid transportation and alternative fuels is also a feature found at green assisted living communities. Residents are encouraged to either walk or use the convenience of bicycles to travel around for social activities, or they may ride on special hybrid-vehicle public transportation that is managed by the community. For some residents, the ability to share a fleet of electric cars is also an option, instead of having the worry and cost of a gasoline vehicle that has to be maintained year-round. Personal assistance from drivers of energy-conserving vehicles are often available for day trips into town or for sightseeing adventures.
How to Find a Green Assisted Living Community
As you evaluate the assisted living communities for either yourself or your family member, and you want to go with an eco-friendly facility, you can easily check with the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), which has a strong stance on green retirement living. Recently, ALFA announced a partnership with Energy Star, the leading government backed program that helps businesses and individuals do their part to protect the environment through advanced energy efficient products and services. The assisted living facilities that are endorsed by AFLA are likely to have undergone positive green changes in order to meet their strict housing guidelines.
Look for highly rated Energy Star appliances, renewable utilities, and other earth-friendly living essentials when visiting assisted living communities in person. Ask about upgrades and what the property management company is doing to reduce wasteful energy practices. See if residents are provided with education and support to lead eco-friendly lives. In this way you will be doing your part to get as much information as you can before selecting your green assisted living facility.
Julia Dennis writes about eco friendly assisted living facilities and other topics related to assisted living for Friendship Village.
Exciting to hear of this happening and would love to see a list of assisted living facilities taking this approach, perhaps searchable based on zip code. Is that available?
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