June 12, 2023 —A 5-year study of health and wellness among more than 8,000 residents of life plan communities across the country found that residents are doing quite well compared to older adults living in the community at large.
The findings from the Mather Institute “Age Well Study” are not surprising to Kendal at Oberlin, which was one of the 122 communities to participate.Read more
“For me it was a validation of what we do at Kendal,” said Jill Tvaroha, Kendal’s Wellness Coordinator. “There are not a lot of areas for improvement.”
A snapshot of how Kendal compares to other life plan communities found that Kendal residents reported a higher satisfaction with life, more social contact and intellectual activities such as reading and writing and greater purpose in life than other life plan community residents.
Life Plan Community Residents Report Better Health
In general, life plan residents fared better than non-residents. According to the Mather Institute, “Resident-participants continued to report better health and wellness over time across the majority of wellness dimensions versus their community-at-large counterparts. It’s possible that people with a strong interest in health and wellness self-select when considering a move to a life plan community, since wellness is a key attribute of offerings in these communities.”
The study was conducted from 2018 to 2022, which gave insight into how life plan community residents did during the pandemic. “The fact that social engagement increased for residents during the pandemic is not surprising, since data across the five years consistently emphasize the social benefits of life plan communities,” Mather researchers found. Barbara Thomas, CEO of Kendal at Oberlin, was delighted to have 65 residents participate all five years. “When comparing ratings of Community older adults with Kendal’s participants, Kendal rated more favorably on 18 of 23 factors. I love that our residents pursued this opportunity, furthering our learning,” she said.
Story by Molly Kavanaugh
About Kendal at Oberlin
Kendal is a vibrant, diverse, inclusive and caring nonprofit life plan community serving older adults in northeast Ohio. Located about one mile from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and about a 40 minute drive from downtown Cleveland, Kendal offers a resident-led lifestyle with access to music, art and lifelong learning. We are an affiliate of the Kendal System, offering values-driven services in the Quaker tradition.