Most of us have our own ideas about what senior living looks like. Many believe that “senior living community” is interchangeable with the term “nursing home,” but they are in fact two very different things. While many leading senior living communities do provide higher level healthcare services and assistance found in traditional nursing homes, they offer seniors so much more than simply age-related support.
Today, leading senior living providers focus on delivering an ideal senior lifestyle, complete with comfort, freedom and options. Often, it takes a family visiting a community to actually dispel the myths they’ve believed about a community lifestyle. When this happens, senior living communities usually surpass expectations.
10 COMMON MYTHS ABOUT SENIOR LIVING
For those of you who may need some convincing, we’ve compiled ten of the most commonly believed myths about senior living. Admittedly, many of these myths formed due to poor experiences with less-than-ideal communities; however, plenty of leading communities have changed the face of senior living, creating a whole new reality for seniors and their families.
Myth #1 – Senior Living Communities Feel Institutionalized.
Reality – When some picture a senior living community, images of long, white hallways and bright fluorescent lighting emerge, giving way to associations with hospitals and similar institutions. In reality, though, senior living communities are often homelike, comfortable and more closely resemble a resort than a hospital. Most communities understand the demand for a more homelike setting, and offer comfortable and tasteful living suites, bright, spacious common areas and hosts of amenities for convenience and enjoyment.
Myth #2 – Communities Are for “Old” People.
Reality – While most residents range from age 55 through their nineties, you’ll find that the majority of independent – and even assisted – living residents rarely meet the stereotypical expectations of “old and decrepit.” Senior living communities are designed for active older adults who still have a zest for life. Residents enjoy daily recreational, leisure and educational activities that keep them rejuvenated and engaged. Even for those who may require some assistance due to health issues still consider themselves lively and active.
Myth #3 – I’ll Lose My Independence at a Senior Living Community.
Reality – Many believe that living independently has to mean living on their own. While you may no longer own your own home, life at a senior living community can be as independent as you want it to be. Residents aren’t limited to where they can go or what they can do. In fact, many seniors find that letting go of the responsibilities of homeownership allows them the freedom to finally live the way they’ve always wanted to!
Myth #4 – I’ll Have to Give Up My Favorite Hobbies.
Reality – Actually, the opposite is true! Without the time-consuming tasks of home-upkeep, you’ll have nothing but time to spend on the things you love to do. Love antiquing? Enjoy complimentary transportation to the local shops. Always carrying a camera around? Find other residents who share the same passions and plan a day trip to go take photos together, then hold an art show at the community. Additionally, you’ll have the chance to try new things and discover new hobbies.
Myth #5 – Paying for Senior Living Is More Expensive Than Staying Home.
Reality – Some families looking into senior living are often surprised by the “sticker shock” of monthly rates. While cost varies depending on apartment size or levels of care, the average cost of senior living is often comparable or even less than receiving the same services and support at home. Even for those who have paid off their mortgage, homeownership is still costly. Consider insurance, taxes, upkeep and repairs, utilities, emergency expenses, etc. At a senior living community, everything is included in one convenient rate – not to mention the convenience of having entertainment, social events, housekeeping services and care support (if needed) right at your fingertips.
Myth #6 – I Won’t Be Able to See My Friends as Frequently.
Reality – Senior living communities are extremely visitor-friendly. Both common areas and private suites graciously accommodate guests, family get-togethers and even parties. Friends are always welcome to join in an activity or stop by for lunch or coffee. Just because your residence changes doesn’t mean your social life has to! Actually, many choose to move to a senior living community because of the rich social opportunities they’ll enjoy.
Myth #7 – Meals Cooked for the Masses Are Unappetizing.
Reality – One of the most overlooked benefits of senior living is the consistency of multiple nutritious meals each day, as well as the inclusion of venues for unlimited snacks, grab-and-go options and beverages. Many senior living communities dispel this myth with restaurant-style dining, various menu options and specialized dining teams who take pride in preparing delicious meals for residents. Plus, never needing to worry about cooking can free up time for other plans.
Myth #8 – I Won’t Have Any Privacy at a Community.
Reality – Residents have the choice of how much or how little time alone they want each day. Private suites are comfortable and accommodating, and you can choose to spend the whole day reading in your favorite arm chair if you wish. Privacy is respected by staff members, as well as other residents, who desire the same independent lifestyle that you do. And, when you do feel like socializing, all you have to do is step outside. You have the best of both worlds when it comes to spending time how and with whom you want.
Myth #9 – I Won’t Be Able to Personalize My Space.
Reality – While it’s true that most communities may not allow you to paint the walls or refinish the bathroom tiles to match your towels, most communities encourage residents to decorate their suites with personal items and pictures and bring along their own pieces of furniture if they wish. Downsizing to a smaller home can be a difficult task, but most senior living communities won’t make you sacrifice your style and taste in the process.
Myth #10 – I Shouldn’t Move Until I Need Help Taking Care of Myself.
Reality – Many believe that senior living communities are only for those who require assistance with daily activities. However, many seniors are making the choice to spend their healthy retirement years at a senior living community. Not only does community living come with convenience and a full, carefree lifestyle, but moving while you are still healthy allows you to stay in control of your choices. Waiting until an illness or health crisis occurs may rush the moving process and leave you wishing you had more options. In addition, many independent living communities also have higher levels of care, including assisted living and memory care services, that established residents can take advantage of without the worry of moving again.
DISCOVER SENIOR LIVING FOR YOURSELF
If you have to see it to believe it, we encourage you to make a visit to a senior living community near you. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the lifestyle options available for today’s active seniors.