Congratulations! How do you keep things rolling forward once the novelty wears off?
When the time comes to decide whether or not you or a loved one should move into a senior living facility, having all the facts can make a big difference. A lot of myths surround senior living facilities—and fear of the unknown can cause a lot of anxiety. Making a decision between senior living, assisted living or in-home care should be a decision made with as much information as possible. Researching ahead of time most definitely helps. The first steps involve busting some of the myths that surround senior living facilities.
Myth #1: Say Goodbye to Friends and Family
The Myth: Senior living facilities are often portrayed somewhere in between hospitals and prisons, where visiting hours are severely limited. This negative portrayal often shows senior care center visits as uncomfortable, with cramped rooms, hard chairs and no privacy. Visitors are made to feel unwelcome thanks to sick people wandering the halls and staff that doesn’t care about the people living at the facility. People don’t want to go where they aren’t welcome, so soon visits slow to a trickle, then dry up because grandkids are scared of the facility.
IT’S A MYTH!
The Truth: Today’s senior care centers are fun and active communities that welcome outside visitors. Baby Boomers are rapidly becoming the target audience for senior living centers, and they’re soaking up a lot of the senior housing market. Boomers don’t want the institutional feel of facilities of the past. They want spaces where they can host birthday parties, retirements, and other celebrations. They want rooms to feel less like hospital rooms and more like hotel rooms. They want visitors to feel welcome any time of the week. Facilities looking to please these customers and their families are updating their amenities to meet demand.
Myth #2: Say Goodbye to Hobbies and Interests
The Myth: Seniors gather up a lot of knowledge, hobbies and interests during their lifetime—but those passions will be left to rot when they end up in senior housing. Those caretakers are just there to make sure their most basic needs are dealt with, so they just stick seniors in a common room where a single TV blares out a program nobody wants to watch. This myth suggests that the only option for fun in these facilities are beat-up chessboards and the occasional craft class where everyone is forced to make something—just like grade school all over again.
IT’S A MYTH!
The Truth: Today’s senior living facilities don’t seek to destroy hobbies and interests; instead, hobbies and interests are encouraged and nurtured. When senior residents engage in the things they enjoy, they’re happier and healthier overall. Many senior living facilities often have programs in place for the common hobbies (like gardening), plus, they also take up ideas and suggestions from residents—especially when it comes to getting more active or helping seniors find others with common interests. These classes aren’t necessarily limited to other seniors. Facilities often partner with nearby schools and other organizations to not only help seniors participate in their hobbies and activities, but also to pass these hobbies and interests on to other people looking to learn from someone with a lifetime of experience.
Myth #3: Say Goodbye to Independence
The Myth: Life in a senior living facility is like life in the military. The staff tells residents when to get up, when to eat, and when to sleep. Residents have no say in their lives anymore in this myth. They’re there to watch as their savings drains away while nobody comes to rescue them from routine. The best years of life that should be spent traveling, enjoying family and exploring retirement are instead spent locked away in a small room full of medical equipment and medications. All of the struggle during years of hard work matters little if you end up in one of these dreadful places.
IT’S A MYTH!
The Truth: Real senior living facilities are nowhere near as horrible as this myth sounds! Many communities are structured like apartments rather than hospitals, with private entrances and living spaces. These spaces are controlled by the resident and only entered by staff with the proper permissions. Modern facilities try to stay out of the residents’ lives as much as possible, only interceding when necessary or at a resident’s request. While the fear of losing independence is certainly a cause for concerns among seniors, even residents with significant care needs can still maintain relative independence. Modern technology can keep caregivers in the know about a resident’s condition without requiring constant monitoring and check-ins. They can provide real-time updates to all concerned parties and still let a resident lead an independent life.
Several myths surround the idea of senior living facilities. Most commonly, these myths prey upon the fears of lifestyle changes that residents will supposedly have to endure. Residents fear they won’t be able to host friends and family at the facility. They might fear they won’t be able to continue to do the things they love. Most importantly, they fear losing their sense of independence. The truth of the matter is much different. Senior living facilities encourage visitors to keep their connections to residents. They want residents to develop their skills and find passions late in life, while living as independently as possible. With these myths busted, seniors can start constructive dialogs about their housing options into the future.
Images from “Last Station Nursing Home” courtesy of Flickr user Ulrich Joho licensed under CC by 2.0.
Featured image “It’s all about Love” courtesy of Flickr user Candida Performa licensed under CC by 2.0.