If you’re considering senior assisted living for one or both of your parents, making the right choice can be daunting. Your parent could be worried about how the transition to assisted living could affect their day-to-day life.
Figuring out the best option for your parent becomes even more difficult with the variety of assisted living myths you may have read on the internet or heard from an acquaintance. In order to make a decision that fits your family’s needs, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.
Myth #1: Assisted living is like living in a hospital
Some individuals have visions of hospital rooms when they picture senior living. They worry that their room will be small or that the community will be clinical and feel like a hospital. Some seniors have even said that they think they’ll do nothing but play bingo if they move to an assisted living community.
The truth is that many seniors in assisted living are glad to be there. They get their own rooms, they have help nearby whenever they need it, and they can still keep up with their favorite hobbies. Moving into assisted living gives seniors more free time and gives them the ability to connect with other people.
Many communities provide rooms comparable to an apartment, allowing seniors to choose their floor plan, bring their own furniture, and control who enters their room and when. There are even many communities with frequent social events and amenities like chef-prepared meals.
Myth #2: Assisted living doesn’t provide quality food
If many people think assisted living is like staying at a hospital, it’s no wonder that many of them worry about the quality of the food. After all, no one wants to eat meals that are shapeless, colorless, and tasteless.
The good news about assisted living communities is that their teams know just how important food is for a happy stay and exert every effort to provide a tasty, frequently changing menu. Once seniors move into an assisted living community, many of them report that it feels like they’re going to their favorite family restaurant every day.
Assisted living communities who employ nutritionists can provide more than tasty food: they can provide healthy food. These nutritionists work with the chefs to create a menu that supports healthy living, reduces blood pressure, and eases diabetes symptoms. Eating healthy is a task that people of all ages can struggle with, so moving to a community can actually save seniors time and effort trying to plan and prepare a nutritious diet.
Myth #3: Assisted living communities don’t provide personal space
Personal space, free time, and privacy are important needs for anyone. For some seniors, the thought of compromising any of these is enough reason to stay away from assisted living for as long as possible.
However, thanks to the variety of rooms and apartments in assisted living, no senior needs to worry about losing any of these. Many rooms include a kitchen or a kitchenette, allowing seniors to live a life with all the privacy and independence that they’re used to at home.
Floor plans can come in studio layouts, while some include even include 1 or 2 bedrooms. Depending on the needs, budget, and preferences of your family, assisted living communities can provide the personal space to meet your parent’s needs.
Myth #4: Assisted living means seeing less of your family
If your parent is living alone now, chances are they’ll feel less alone once they move into an assisted living community. The staff at senior living communities is compassionate and friendly, and many of them are happy to spend time talking with the residents and enjoying hobbies together.
One important factor to consider is the type of time you spend with your parent now. If they live at home, chances are your visits involve completing chores and tasks around the house that your parents needs help with. All too often, the time you spend together is not actually spent bonding and enjoying one another’s company.
When your parent moves into a senior living community, the time you spend with them can be intentional. You can enjoy conversation, hobbies, and events together instead of completing housework. Many seniors find that moving into assisted living allows them to dedicate more time to what matters most to them.
Myth #5: Assisted living is too expensive
Assisted living communities are often much more affordable than one may think thanks to the many resources available. In fact, most people don’t pay for assisted living with their income. They can use the money from selling their home to cover the cost. Another option is to use money from a savings account — savings that would otherwise go toward repairs and emergencies around the house.
There are also many programs that can help seniors afford assisted living. From veteran assistance to life insurance policies to long-term care insurance, there are many paths you can pursue to make assisted living much more affordable than you originally thought.
Experts also recommend that skeptical seniors take a careful look at their current expenses. Living at home can involve many expenses, including a mortgage, repairs, utilities, upkeep, cleaning, internet, cable TV, phone, and life alert. These expenses can really add up. Moving into assisted living could eliminate and/or minimize many of these expenses, further adding to its affordability.
Myth #6: Assisted living communities make it difficult to keep up with hobbies
Hobbies are often what bring a sense of fulfillment to people, so it’s natural for seniors to be concerned about keeping up with their hobbies while in assisted living. Many of them are pleasantly surprised when they learn about the craft rooms, hobby rooms, programs, social events, and clubs that many assisted living communities provide.
In fact, when an individual moves into assisted living, they often have more time to spend on their hobbies than they did before. Since they aren’t working on chores around the house, they can dedicate more of their free time toward the hobbies they love.
Assisted living communities also promote hobbies by offering activities that many seniors can only do on a limited basis at home, such as drawing, painting, cooking, and baking. Particularly with activities that involve tools and utensils, assisted living provides a safe environment where seniors can have even more freedom than they had at home. For those who love to go to the movies and attend community events, it’s easy to leave the community to keep up with these. Remember: Even if your parent’s address changes, they don’t have to change what they love to do.
The best way to bust any myth is to see for yourself
It can be easy to let myths scare you away from trying something new. If assisted living is one of those new topics that you’re curious to know more about, don’t let myths cloud reality.
Instead, check out some of the communities in your area. Visit their property, check out their website, and speak with their team for yourself. Maybe you’ll determine that senior living isn’t right for your parents after all. But you may just find that it’s exactly the solution they’ve been looking for to make their lives safer, healthier, and happier.