By Alexander Germanis
The word retirement has long held connotations of finally being able to live a laidback, sedentary lifestyle. The thought of concluding a life of hard work and no longer having to run the so-called rat race is often met with this belief that one’s life afterwards should be the complete opposite of what it was before—in other words, a life of inactivity.
Of course the irony is this is an inaccurate thought, especially as so many careers now are spent sitting down or doing a repetitive task all day. So a life of inactivity after a general career of inactivity just seems like more of the same.
True retirement, at least at Independence Village in Peoria, should be seen as anything but sedentary. Retirement should be a new start to life. It should be infused with new interests, enjoyment, learning, and activity.
Room to Move
One of the many great things about our nation is the sheer size of it. The grand space between the oceans practically shouts of freedom. Providing more space to the residents at Independence Village could be argued, therefore, to be a downright American thing.
Although renovation began last year, it was unfortunately delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions. “We had to pause,” admits Independence Village Executive Director Juliana Jordan, “but now we are back in full swing. We are in the middle of a complete renovation and we are remodeling the entire community.”
Activity and entertainment spaces are expanding, including a multi-use theater room. The library will be doubling in size, as will be the fitness room. The latter will also be updated with easy-to-use, modern equipment. New lighting, flooring, and comfortable furniture are also being added throughout the community.
Independence Village prides itself on truly feeling like home and nothing speaks of home more than food. “We are adding a new resident- and family-use kitchen,” Juliana announces. “The new community kitchen will also be a hub for cooking and baking activities. Families can use the space for gatherings, and residents will be able to participate in cooking classes.”
To go hand-in-hand with the kitchen will be the new dining setup, in which residents can choose between tables set for four, six, or eight to accommodate themselves, their friends, and/or their families.
Adapting and Loving It
While it is true the recent forced lockdowns, quarantines, and shutdowns have not been easy on anyone, many people have adapted in very positive ways. One way has been increasing activity levels. Whether through exercise or taking up a new hobby, the pandemic has encouraged many people to discover new avenues. The residents of Independence Village are no exception to this.
Among the forms of entertainment the residents have been able to enjoy this past year are musicians such as pianists, bands, singers, and violinists. “Our residents have also enjoyed entertainment such as comedians, storytellers, and DJ’s,” adds Juliana. “We have various arts and crafts classes. We have also had cooking classes. We have continued to ‘Love the Way We Live’ throughout the pandemic.”
It is not surprising the residents of Independence Village still love the way they live. Activity and entertainment grant tremendous payouts for one’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Physical activity improves mood and sleep patterns. Engaging in entertainment and activities with others helps dispel feelings of loneliness and even blocks negative thoughts.
Juliana proves these activities have indeed paid dividends. “We have managed exceptionally well during the pandemic,” she proudly states. “We have not had a single outbreak since it began. We also have been able to allow visitors, continue our fun activities, welcome entertainers, and we were able to keep our residents healthy and safe.”
To the New Year With Thanks
From the time we are little children, we associate the holidays with fun activities, the list of which goes on and on. Christmas music, party games, cooking – and, of course, the subsequent eating—spending time with friends and family, and making new memories while cherishing the old are all part and parcel of the holidays. None of these yuletide favorites are missing from Independence Village.
Looking into the New Year, Juliana says their residents should only expect more on the horizon. “We will be doing even more fun and exciting activities,” she states. “We are always expanding on our lifestyle activities and entertainment. We have a variety of daily fitness programs, however, and with the expansion of our fitness room we will be able to add even more!”
Of course none of these activities the residents enjoy would be possible without such a dedicated staff of men and women who keep the community running on a daily basis. This is of special note considering how difficult the last couple of years have been on the workplace.
Many businesses have had to shutter their doors after decades of operation and thousands have found themselves out of work. Independence Village, however, has proven to outlast the pandemic and its concomitant economic hardships.
“I am happy to say that we have an incredible team who work hard every day to serve our residents,” Juliana beams. “We have a full staff that has been consistent and long term. Many of our team members have been at Independence Village for 10-plus years. Our experienced staff really sets us apart.”
As the residents of Independence Village have been and are continuing to display, their retirement years have been anything but inactive.
By taking part in a vast array of entertainment, seeking physical exercise, learning new skills and hobbies, and socializing with family as well as making new friends, retirement may be tiring from time to time, but it is never tiresome.
At least at Independence Village, maybe it’s finally time to retire the word retirement. Reactivement has a nice ring to it.
Independence Village is located at 1201 West Northmoor Road in Peoria, Illinois. If you would like to tour our community and see for yourself what we have to offer you or your loved one, please call us at (866) 962-6840 or visit us on the web at www.independencevillagepeoria.com.
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