Misconceptions about senior living: The concerns and the reality
Holiday Retirement commissioned a survey of American Baby Boomers to gain an understanding of concerns, attitudes and misperceptions about senior living. Here are the most common misconceptions and realities based on the survey.
The Concern: My senior loved one won’t have the independence to do what he or she wants.
The Reality: As the name implies, independent living communities allow seniors to live independently. Offering an all-inclusive lifestyle, these communities free seniors from the hassles of cooking and home maintenance, enabling them to focus on the activities and people they love. Seniors who can still drive have the opportunity to bring their car to the community, and those who no longer drive have access to a community’s transportation resources.
The Concern: My senior loved one will be lonely.
The Reality: Seniors in retirement communities are surrounded by people. In an independent senior living community, seniors live autonomously in their own apartment or other housing, but in a community setting surrounded by staff and other residents. This community environment has significant benefits, as studies have shown that living in isolation may have negative health consequences.
The Concern: My senior loved one won’t get the attention he or she gets at home.
The Reality: Senior living communities have familiar, friendly faces serving residents daily. Finally, living in a community environment provides security and peace of mind for a senior’s health and safety needs.
The Concern: My senior loved one will experience boredom after moving.
The Reality: Senior living communities design programming to help seniors with a variety of interests get involved in daily activities. At Holiday Retirement, activities are designed around the “Seven Layers of the Holiday Lifestyle”, a series of programs that address everything from seniors’ physical activity and emotional needs to their creative, spiritual, and intellectual interests.
The Concern: I will feel guilty.
The Reality: While feelings of guilt may stem from a variety of sources, it is important to remember that this move – like any move – is an emotional process. It is OK to have feelings of apprehension and stress. However, the best way to overcome these feelings is to know that the right decision has been made. Once a senior has moved into the senior living community and begins enjoying maintenance free living, making new friends, and discovering new hobbies, feelings of concern will melt away.
The Concern: My senior loved one won’t have enough money saved.
The Reality: Senior living may actually be the more affordable choice. Although nearly 90 percent of people over the age of 65 want to live in their current homes for the rest of their lives, aging in place may actually be the more costly choice for many seniors. Hard costs like home maintenance can add up as a home ages along with its senior. In fact, more than one third of baby boomers surveyed in the Holiday Retirement-commissioned survey cited a loved one’s inability to keep up with home maintenance as a factor that would make them at least somewhat likely to consider senior living. Intangible costs, such as the loss of personal connections as a senior loses his or her ability to drive or as social circles change, can also impact a senior’s well-being.
For loved ones providing care to an aging senior, the costs can mount as well. Lost wages and limitations in career advancement from time spent care-giving, and caregiver burnout can take their toll.
The Concern: My senior loved one won’t eat well.
The Reality: Senior living may actually improve a loved one’s eating habits. Eating alone can significantly impact a senior’s nutritional health. In one survey of seniors, 94 percent of those who were considered at risk for malnutrition also reported that they often dined alone. When living alone, seniors’ poor nutrition habits can stem from depression, difficulty buying groceries, or even challenges eating due to dentures or dental problems. And frankly, who wants to spend the time preparing a home-cooked meal when no one else is there to enjoy it?
Holiday Retirement communities prepare meals fresh from scratch, and each meal is carefully planned to meet the unique nutritional needs of a senior living population. Seniors enjoy their meals with other community residents, so that meals are not simply opportunities to fulfill nutritional needs, but also times for community and companionship.
Moving decisions at any stage in life can be challenging; and this process is no different when it comes to senior living. When planning is thoughtfully done and concerns are compassionately assuaged, the transition can be smoother and more gratifying for everyone involved.
Download the full e-book to learn more about common misconceptions about senior living.