Assisted living is rapidly growing in popularity among aging adults, but there are still plenty of myths circulating about what life is really like in an assisted living community. It’s common for seniors to hold onto fears or preconceived notions about assisted living that lead them to overlook its many benefits. The reality is that modern senior living options are a far cry from the outdated “nursing homes” of year’s past. Today’s assisted living facilities have evolved to meet the needs of older adults, giving them a safe, comfortable place to live with access to assistance and amenities designed to make life easier.
When it’s time to talk to your aging parent about moving to an assisted living community, be prepared to be met with some resistance. Chances are, your parent has some fears about moving to assisted living based on rumors or myths that simply aren’t true. Take a look at some of these popular misconceptions surrounding assisted living communities to help set the record straight.
#1: “I’ll be bored!”
Due to misrepresentation on TV shows and movies, many people mistakenly believe that the only thing seniors do in assisted living is watch television or play Bingo. The truth is, there’s rarely a dull moment in assisted living! Most communities schedule a full calendar of fun and enriching daily activities for residents to enjoy together, which may include things like book clubs, fitness classes, art classes, music or dance performances, and offsite trips to local restaurants and events. When compared to living at home, most residents find that life in assisted living is anything but boring.
#2: “There’s no independence.”
Some seniors worry that moving to assisted living means they’ll be giving up their freedom. They may fear that they won’t have the freedom to choose how they spend their days in assisted living. While assisted living communities provide a variety of engaging activities scheduled around-the-clock, residents always have a say in how often they want to participate in community activities. In assisted living, residents are free to live an independent lifestyle, with the added benefit of support with daily tasks as they need it.
#3: “It’s too expensive.”
Another reason seniors (and their families) put off the move to assisted living is because they think it won’t be affordable. However, it’s important to consider all the expenses involved with staying at home. When you factor in caregiving costs, mortgage or rent payments, utilities, meals, home maintenance and repairs, assisted living is often an affordable alternative to “aging in place” at home. In addition to the basic necessities of living, assisted living also gives seniors access to quality care, convenient amenities, and fun social activities that can’t be replicated in a home environment. All things considered, assisted living is often the better deal for your loved one’s safety, well-being, and quality of life.
#4: “I don’t need to move if I’m still healthy.”
Many older adults believe that as long as they’re in good health, there’s no reason to consider assisted living. As a result, many families wait until a medical emergency or other health crisis occurs to look for an assisted living community for their loved one. Choosing an assisted living facility isn’t a decision that should be rushed. Even if your parent doesn’t think they need to move to assisted living quite yet, it’s a smart idea to start looking now, while your parent is still relatively active, independent and in good health. In assisted living, residents receive just the right level of care they need based on their unique needs. As their care needs change over time, assisted living residents can take comfort knowing that help is always readily available.
#5: “It won’t feel like home.”
Another common fear is that assisted living means moving to a cold, sterile, hospital-like environment, which couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, today’s assisted living apartments are designed to be warm and inviting, offering all the comforts of home. Residents are free to decorate however they choose by incorporating their own furniture, artwork, décor, and knick-knacks to make their new space feel just like home. In addition to their own private apartment suite, residents also have access to on-campus libraries, fitness centers, dining spaces, and other common areas to enjoy with friends and family.
Don’t put off the move to assisted living based on misconceptions or myths about assisted living. Instead, take time to research and tour local assisted living communities with your parent to explore their options and find the right fit. You will see that assisted living is much more than a place to live, it’s a place to thrive!