If you believed everything that society told us about senior living, you’d think that senior living is a place the elderly go when they have no more options and can no longer care for themselves. How dismal! Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of the often-perpetuated myths about senior living are false. By debunking these myths, seniors can understand more fully what senior living means and how it can benefit them.
What is Senior Living?
Senior living facilities are places where seniors can live with as much or as little assistance a they want or need. While senior living facilities do indeed provide a whole host of essential care services, they also provide fun, companionship, stimulation, and exposure for active seniors from all walks of life. Options included in most senior living facilities include independent living, assisted living, nursing care, rehabilitation, and more!
The Ten Biggest Fears About Senior Living
While many seniors appreciate the benefits offered to them by senior living, not everyone fully understands these facilities or what they offer. If you or your loved one has concerns about moving into a senior living facility, read on for our answers to the top ten concerns about senior living:
Senior living means I’ll lose my independence
Many people believe that moving into a senior living facility is akin to giving their freedom away on a silver platter. Fortunately, this isn’t true. There are many different options available to seniors who chose to move into a senior living facility. People who choose the assisted living option, for example, will get help with cooking, cleaning, laundry, or whatever else they may need.
Seniors who choose independent living will enjoy their own apartment with no help, unless they need it down the road. The entire goal of senior living is to support seniors at all life stages. Because of this, the assistance offered ranges from light cleaning to intensive rehabilitation care. Older people in senior living will never receive help they don’t need and won’t have to worry about being infantilized or coddled.
Senior living is lonely
One of the biggest myths surrounding senior living is that it is an isolating experience. People worry that moving to a senior living facility means that they’ll sacrifice all of their relationships and lose interaction with their friends and family. While this is an understandable fear, it’s not altogether rooted in reality. Senior living facilities support interaction with friends and family and provide a whole host of opportunities for new relationships to form.
Seniors living in senior living facilities will enjoy community events, classes, social hours, and educational opportunities that allow them to meet other seniors while also enjoying a comfortable living space where they can entertain their pre-existing friends and family. While seniors worry about isolation in senior living, many people find that their social lives become more active when they move into a senior living facility.
Senior living is unaffordable
It’s true that senior living can be a large financial burden. It’s also true that there are dozens of financial options to help seniors afford senior living. From Social Security to VA benefits, there are scores of ways to make the cost of senior living more manageable. Additionally, seniors can choose from a variety of senior living programs – some elaborate and some more simple – to fit their budgets and their lifestyles. While senior living is often regarded as the most expensive care option, it’s important to consider that, in many cases, it’s less expensive than staying at home and hiring full-time in-home care.
Senior living will make me age prematurely
While many people worry that moving to a senior living community makes them “old,” the opposite is often true. Between the activities available at a senior living community to the customized care intrinsic in the structure of these facilities, it’s completely possible to look and feel younger than ever while also enjoying the enhanced ease, social activity, and free time a senior living community offers. Senior living facilities aren’t a trap for the aging – they’re a way to increase a senior’s quality of life across the board.
I can’t trust the senior living staff
Many seniors considering senior living worry about the competence and trustworthiness of the staff. They may also worry that their children will just drop them off in this strange place and that their care will be totally unmonitored from then on out. Fortunately, this isn’t true. The fact of the matter is that senior living facilities are meant to make seniors comfortable. If you’re not comfortable with your caregivers, something is wrong.
Good senior living facilities are run by professional senior care personnel that care deeply about the health and well-being of the residents and legitimate senior communities pride themselves on improving the happiness and quality of life for their residents. Seniors who are concerned about the staff at a new facility should make this clear to their family members, and close contact should be maintained during the first few weeks of care.
I won’t have control over my own life
Many seniors confuse the schedule of a senior living community with that of basic training or boot camp! While it’s true that there are plenty of activities to take part in, it’s important to remember that they’re all voluntary. Nobody is going to force a senior at a senior living facility to take part in arts and crafts if they don’t want to and many seniors live in senior living communities while maintaining the patterns and habits of their regular lives.
As a senior ages, it’s possible that their need for care will increase. In this case, a senior living facility may be the best choice for both the senior and his or her family. It’s important to remember, however, that senior living facilities respect the autonomy of their clients and aren’t on a mission to force people into abandoning their daily routines and habits.
I’ll be bored
While many seniors worry about being bored in a senior living facility, they need only to talk to the people who already live there to understand this isn’t a genuine threat. Senior living facilities take the happiness of their residents seriously, which is why they offer such a wealth of activities. It’s not uncommon for a senior living facility to provide field trips, hair salons, language classes, social hours, games, cooking classes, or therapy animal sessions. More likely than note, a senior living facility exposes seniors to more activities then they’d have access to in their own homes!
Family won’t visit in a senior living facility
While many seniors worry that their friends and family will forget about them in a senior living facility, the opposite is often true. The fact is that older people in assisted living communities often have more time on their hands and enjoy more time with their friends and family than they did before. Plus, many senior living facilities do special family days that encourage a senior’s children, siblings, or other family to visit and participate in fun activities.
Senior living means I’ll have to give up my taste
Many seniors worry that living in a senior living facility means they’ll have to renounce their ability to decorate or manage their own homes. While additional assistance is available to those who need it, the purpose of a senior living facility is not to rob a senior of his or her personality or style. Seniors are encouraged to decorate their living spaces they way they’d like to and are encouraged to continue participating in the things they love.
I’ll have a hard time integrating into senior living
Many seniors worry that they won’t make friends or fit in in a senior living community. While adjusting to a new way of life can be difficult, many seniors find that they enjoy a senior living community and become more comfortable with the new pattern over time. While it’s unfair to say the transition will be seamless, most seniors find actually enjoy living in a senior living facility.
While seniors may feel many fears surrounding the concept of senior living, many seniors truly enjoy their transition to a senior community. From providing assistance with daily chores to helping seniors meet new friends and be more active, there are many benefits to senior living facilities and many seniors find that these communities improve their happiness and quality of life.