If you are talking to a loved one about moving to a senior living community and experiencing difficulty, you might have heard something like this: “It’s too expensive to move there! They won’t let me do what I want!” These fears usually stem from some common myths believed by many about assisted living. In reality, today’s senior care communities are dramatically different from these unfounded perceptions.
A tour to a modern senior living community will reveal the truth about senior living. Ask questions of the staff and residents and you’ll learn that most of the misgivings associates with assisted living are fairy tales.
“I won’t be allowed to do what I want!” This is among the most common myths about senior living communities. Most residents find the opposite to be true – with the removal of the burdens of housekeeping, chores, home maintenance, and other difficult and undesirable tasks, seniors have more time to do whatever they choose than ever. Most communities encourage residents to be independent as their individual abilities and preferences will allow.
“I won’t have any privacy anymore!” Senior living communities are busy, active places, but they also provide lots of quiet spaces for seniors to be alone if they choose. The spa or library can be wonderful escapes, or you might find prefer to retreat to your own room any time you like. It is up to each resident whether or not they choose to participate in scheduled activities. Seniors have the option to maintain a private life while still being part of an active community.
“It won’t be home!” It’s true that at first, a senior living community may be unfamiliar, but modern assisted living communities understand the effect of moving and are eager to help make the new home feel more like “home”. Seniors can bring their own furniture and belongings from their old home to make their new home feel safe and comforting. Mementos and furniture, arranged the same way they were in the old home, can help to make the adjustment easier.
“I won’t like the food – I eat what I want!” Most people thank that senior living communities serve boring, bland food, and that everyone will have to eat the same things, or that meals will only be served at limited times. Modern senior living communities provide healthy, nutritious meals planned to meet individual taste within the community. Often communities employ a gourmet chef who creates the menu, so that meals are more like fine dining than eating in a cafeteria. Many communities even boast a choice of different dining rooms with a variety of menu choices, and access to snacks is the accepted norm.
“Assisted living is too expensive!” You may be surprised to find that when you compare the cost of living in a home that you care for yourself to the cost of living in a senior living community, the difference is rather minimal. Home upkeep, bills, future medical care, transportation, and other factors make living at home significantly more expensive for those who need care than relocating to an assisted living community. It would be almost impossible to cover all the services available to residents of a senior community at the same cost in a private home.
“I don’t need to discuss assisted living! I’m FINE!” This is a particularly troublesome myth, and one that creates unnecessary anxiety for everyone. Seniors must be involved in the decisions made about their care. Leaving the decision until you are too incapacitated to help make decisions about where you live leaves you at the mercy of those around you. The stress families feel about whether or not they are making the right decision can be eliminated if seniors take part in decision making. You should plan well before you “need” assisted living while you still have the ability to decide what the right next step will be.
“What will I do there? It will be boring!” Studies show that active seniors who engage in lots of activities live longer, healthier lives, and modern senior living communities have been responded by creating an environment for seniors that is fun and active. The staff is dedicated to offering a wide array of amenities, services, and programs to keep seniors interested and involved in lots of things.
“But the people are old and won’t be interesting!” Studies show that seniors in assisted living communities are more likely to have active, enriched lives. Most seniors in these communities show adventurous, vibrant, and excited attitudes about what life has in store for them each day. Senior community residents also show more optimism and develop more friendships than those who live at home.
“No one will like me and I won’t have friends!” This myth really has nothing to do with senior living communities. Studies have consistently shows that those who don’t have a wide circle of friends before moving to an assisted living community make friends once they have moved. At any age, making friends often has more to do with the individual. If you like to reach out to meet new people and try new things, it will likely be no trouble to make friends in the senior community, and probably will be easier than it was from the isolation of home. As in any community, the individual resident may choose to have as many or as few friends as they choose.
“I don’t need to tour senior living communities – they’re all the same!”/ Senior living communities strive to offer unique living experiences for different individuals. What might appeal to one person may make someone else miserable, so modern senior living includes a wide variety of options. It’s important to tour more than one to find the perfect option for you. It’s also imperative that you meet other residents, learn about programs offered, talk to the staff, and taste the food in order to make the right choice.
When the myths about senior living have been erased and understand you can see the reality of modern senior communities, you may want to tour one yourself! Open your mind to the possibilities and you might discover a new way of life.