Last Updated: April 22, 2019
Most older adults may find moving into a senior living community to be a frightening prospect, but they needn’t worry.
Today, we’re highlighting the seven biggest fears that our parents and senior loved ones have about senior living and sharing why there’s nothing to be worried about.
The vast majority of our society’s fears about senior living communities are inaccurate. Over the past decade, baby boomers have reinvented what senior living really means. Today there are a wide range of state-of-the-art senior living communities, from assisted living for those who need day-to-day help, to independent living for more active adults.
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These options all aim to provide seniors with a lifestyle tailored to their individual interests and needs, while also offering the necessary care to remain mentally, physically and socially healthy.
If you, a parent or a senior loved one is worried about making the move into senior living, read on for answers to seven of the most common fears about senior living:
With the activities and amenities offered by today’s senior living communities, there’s no time to be bored. Senior housing nowadays offers everything from field trips and outdoor excursions to fitness and personal enrichment classes. There are even affinity types of senior living communities that cater to specific preferences and tastes — like cultural senior living or senior living communities based on university campuses.
Yes, senior living can seem financially daunting, but if you’re already thinking about how to afford the care, you’re ahead of the curve With some financial planning — and maybe a little help from Social Security or VA benefits — senior living communities just might cost less than staying at home.
There’s far, far more to senior living than the stereotype of adult children dropping off their parents with random strangers. When it’s time to move to senior living, the process of decision-making is one that should involve the entire family and your senior loved one should be just as comfortable with their new home as you are moving them there. Caregivers should maintain regular contact with senior loved ones, particularly in the weeks after the first move.
Whether you’re old or young, it’s being alone or isolated that leads to anxiety and depression, while the social contact a senior living community provides is key to better health and quality of life. If a senior loved one is already ill — with Alzheimer’s disease, for example — memory care offers daily stimulation, customized care and planned activities, all of which can actually slow down the progress of an illness or even improve behavior and health.
While some seniors fear that senior living is equal to a loss of independence, the truth is in fact much the opposite. If you choose assisted living, you’ll have help with cleaning, cooking and other chores that only become more onerous over time. What senior living offers is greater freedom with the precious time you do have. To make that time happy and rewarding, communities provide ample opportunity for social activities on-site as well as transportation around the area when you need it.
Moving to a new residence and letting go of long-held habits of daily life — these are often realities of getting older, but they can be difficult and require a major adjustment. Take your loved one’s concerns seriously and don’t minimize their feelings. The fact is, assisted living can be a necessary and freeing step for both seniors and their families. If it is already too difficult for a senior to care for herself independently, or for caregivers to provide the necessary help, then assisted living may be a good option. The emphasis is on safety and security, but also independence and privacy, enabling each resident to have the care they need without compromising individual dignity.
It’s natural to worry about being alone, especially if you define yourself by those relationships you value. However, moving into senior living doesn’t mean you’ll lose those relationships. In fact, you just might value them even more. At the same time, a senior community provides new venues for social contact, not to mention onsite help when there’s an emergency.
What are your parent’s or senior loved one’s fears about senior living? We’d like to hear from you in the comments below.