Busting Common Myths About Senior Living

Where you live matters greatly as you grow older. Research confirms that environment plays an important role in healthy aging. Factors ranging from physical activity and nutrition to emotional well-being are impacted by where you choose to live. They, in turn, play an essential role in both quality and length of life.

One avenue for making the most of one’s retirement years is to move to a senior living community. From healthy nutrition to on-site wellness programs and life-enriching activities, the benefits of community living are numerous.

Unfortunately, there are many pervasive myths that can make older adults skeptical about moving. These seniors may choose to stay at home despite feeling lonely or fearful about living alone. If you or a family elder need to make a change but aren’t sure it’s the right decision, separating fact from myth about senior living communities will probably help.

Busting Common Myths About Senior Living Communities

  1. Communities are depressing

This myth might be linked to nursing homes of the past which could indeed appear depressing. Once you visit a senior living community, it will become obvious that this popular myth has no merit. Senior living communities are often warm and vibrant places. You’ll typically find inviting lobbies where residents gather for informal activities and conversation. Dining rooms, bistros, fitness centers, spas, beauty/barber salons, and game rooms are fairly standard. 

Today’s senior communities are a hub of activity. Residents can be as busy as they choose to be each day. They have opportunities to participate in activities, family open houses, wellness programs, and more. They can also join one of many informal gatherings that occur throughout the day, such as coffee in the lobby, exercising in the fitness center, and taking a stroll on campus.

  1. Communities are expensive

Another much-repeated myth is that senior communities are only for the wealthy, and are just too expensive for a typical older adult. Those who are living in a mortgage-free home might think they are better off financially if they just stay put. When you compare the costs of aging at home, including utilities, taxes, lawn care, and housekeeping, with what is included in the fees of a senior community, you’ll find there isn’t much difference. Especially when a senior’s needs increase and they need to employ in-home caregivers.

The average cost of in-home care was $24 per hour in 2020. When a senior needs assistance with personal care, light housekeeping, and meal preparation, the costs can quickly add up. For example, just 20 hours of care a week may top $26,000 a year. On top of the expenses already listed are common home modification costs, like remodeling a bathroom, building a ramp, installing grab bars, and widening doorways.

Comparing the cost of in-home care with the median annual cost of the most popular type of senior care, assisted living, can be an eye opener. In 2020 the annual cost of assisted living was $51,600. This typically included a variety of services and amenities: 

  • Healthy snacks and 3 nutritious meals each day
  • Caregivers on-site 24/7 to help with personal care and toileting
  • Emergency call systems and built-in safety features
  • Transportation for scheduled appointments and outings
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Medication reminders/assistance program
  • Social activities and fitness programs
  1. Communities have awful tasting food

Another misperception is that community meals look institutional and taste just as bad. This couldn’t be less accurate. Most communities employ nutritionists and chefs who design meals that appeal to a variety of palettes and dietary needs. They also offer a variety of different options for enjoying meals. While the socializing that occurs when residents opt for an evening meal in the dining room is meaningful, most communities also have bistros, coffee bars, and other options.

Seniors who make a move to an assisted living community often find their health improves as their nutrition does. That helps lower their risk for falls, as well as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. 

Free Advice from a Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner If you are just beginning the search for a senior living community, our team can help. Under the direction of a Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner who has extensive experience in the senior care industry, A Rae of Hope Advocacy Center can offer free guidance to older adults and their families. All at no cost! Contact us today to set up a time to learn more!

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