While many individuals dread a move to a senior community for a variety of reasons, the senior living industry has revolutionized itself into something to be celebrated. Common misunderstandings among seniors and families often emerge when the topic is broached.
Myth #1: These Are Nursing Homes
The words “Assisted Living” conjure up scary images for many individuals – based upon past experiences – nursing homes of the 1960s and 1970s – where their loved ones may have had negative experiences.
Today’s senior communities couldn’t be further from the nursing homes of yore. They are designed to cover health management, safety, social engagement and quality of life for the residents. They offer bright, comfortable residences of all sizes, engaging programming based on the residents’ preferences and peace of mind that any care needs can be addressed.
Myth #2: Safer at Home
Safety is a key benefit of moving into a community. Most seniors prefer to stay in their own home – somewhere familiar and full of memories – but many homes are not conducive to “age in place” safely. They may not be able to easily accommodate walkers or wheelchairs, which often results in seniors spending more and more time in a small section of the house. Senior communities are specifically designed with safety in mind: Handrails, grab bars, personal alert devices and emergency pull cords are all standard – helping to reduce stress on both the senior and families knowing they are in a safer environment.
Myth #3: Taking Away Independence
Many seniors feel a move to a community means a loss of independence – the next step in their ever-shrinking world. Though many no longer drive, family and friends may not visit as often, friends and spouses may have passed – leaving these individuals more isolated than ever before. Maintaining independence is a priority for communities and residents alike – staff provides the care and support (including transportation) so the senior’s world actually expands beyond what they had at home.
Myth #4: They Aren’t That Social
Even if someone is not a social butterfly, there is value in daily engagement with peers. It has been demonstrated that both loneliness and social isolation are associated with decreased cognitive function. Even something as simple as coming out of their apartment for three meals a day can go a long way in the social engagement of a resident.
The best way to dispel the myths associated with these communities is to get information and tour those near you. A move to a senior community can provide the framework for a future of independence through reassuring avenues of care, safety and socialization.