Many seniors and their families are hesitant to explore assisted living as an option because of harmful myths. Thankfully, this article breaks down four common assisted living misconceptions.
Many people believe that assisted living is a lonely and isolating environment. Independent and assisted living facilities offer social events and activities to support residents in maintaining their activity level and connections with their peers.
Assisted living is a nursing home.
Many seniors struggle to choose between nursing home care and assisted living. Though similar in some ways, they are very different facilities with distinct services and benefits.
Assisted living is designed to foster independence and social connections for seniors. It’s often an excellent option for people whose health or family circumstances have led to increased injuries or who are finding it challenging to live alone at home.
Nursing homes typically have more of a hospital-like feel and are equipped to provide more thorough medical attention. In contrast, assisted living residents can decorate their spaces in private apartments or cottages. Staff will only enter a resident’s private living quarters in the case of an emergency or when they request assistance.
Patience and empathy are essential when helping your loved one understand the differences between assisted living and a nursing home. Taking the time to debunk the myths surrounding these two options can help your parent see the benefits of this lifestyle choice.
Assisted living is lonely and isolating
Many seniors living alone in their homes start feeling isolated as they age. This can happen for various reasons, such as friends moving away, family members dying, the inability to drive, or just losing a busy social schedule.
Living in a senior care community like Westminster Shores residence will allow your loved one to stay connected with peers through regularly scheduled activities and visiting with friends and family. Plus, they’ll be able to do what they love most without worrying about meal preparation, home maintenance, yard work, or driving.
Loneliness is a different concept than social isolation. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are weakly correlated and that individuals can feel lonely even with a high frequency of social interactions. To ensure that your loved ones do not feel lonely, staff should talk to them about their feelings and concerns.
Assisted living is expensive.
Many adult children of aging parents find that this common misconception holds their senior loved ones back from exploring the possibilities of moving to assisted living. The reality is that community fees can vary significantly based on the level of care your loved one needs. Most communities will provide a detailed pricing list at move-in and annually during a care review.
In addition to a base monthly fee, most communities will charge additional monthly fees for services like three meals a day served in a group dining area, housekeeping and laundry, transportation to shopping and medical appointments, and other amenities.
Considering that staying at home can add up to many more expenses in the long run, such as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, utilities, in-home care costs, and home maintenance, moving to assisted living is often a cost-effective solution. Plus, most communities will take care of all the details of maintaining the property and provide a sense of belonging for residents.
Assisted living is not for couples.
Often, couples may need different levels of care. In these cases, the lower-functioning spouse may be reluctant to move into assisted living while the higher-functioning partner is ready. If that’s the case for your family, consider working with a Medicaid planning professional. They can help you creatively structure your assets to ensure you’re both eligible for assistance in the future.
It’s also important to remember that assisted living communities are not prisons. While residents share common spaces, their private living quarters are not shared like in a nursing home, and they retain a sense of freedom. Plus, they can enjoy regularly scheduled social activities that connect them with their peers to keep feelings of isolation at bay.
Another upside of a loved one moving into assisted living is that it can take significant pressure off the primary caregiver. Both the caregiver and their partner may benefit from improved health and well-being as a result.