Aging Well

The Eight Myths about Senior Living Facilities


The myths of senior living are ubiquitous.

Thanks to a 24-hour news cycle, outrageous daytime TV shows, and a generally negative stereotype, retirement homes and senior living facilities often bear the brunt of false allegations and rumors.

Debunking the myths of senior living is critical for families looking to broach the subject of a move with their loved one. Here is the truth about eight of the most common myths surrounding retirement living centers:

1.“You lose all your independence at a retirement home.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. The facilities are designed to be easily navigable so seniors can move with ease throughout the home. In addition, transportation is provided at retirement homes to allow residents to become more independent and stay active in the community without the worry of driving. The main advantage of a senior living facility is the access to immediate medical help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

2.“I’ll have to give up my hobbies and my friends.”

False.  Almost every senior living facility offers recreational activities, workshops, tours, social clubs, and events and day trips.  The sense of community is actually enhanced at an independent living center, because seniors find many more of their generational peers nearby. It is actually quite common for new residents to find themselves talking to people they haven’t seen in years and rekindling long-lost friendships. They are also often relieved to discover their existing group of friends still remain an important part of their lives.

3.“Senior living facilities are nothing more than nursing homes.”

The difference between a senior living facility, an assisted living facility, and a nursing homes can be confusing. While most retirement facilities contain personal care services, true senior facilities offer independent living. Assisted living offers just that—assistance with medications, meals, housekeeping and daily living. Nursing homes provide a level of care that is much more intensive. The quality of cleanliness of rooms and meals does not depend on the type of facility, but the people running it.

4.“It’s cheaper to stay here at home.”

This is a common misconception frequently perpetuated by seniors looking for any reason to remain in familiar surroundings. When you start to add up all the costs associated with living home alone, however, the numbers quickly begin to favor retirement communities. Besides the financial costs, the isolation of in-home living and the missing sense of community that goes with it can create problems that extend well beyond the pocketbook.

5.“Retirement communities are like everything else—you get what you pay for.”

Just like buying a home or making an investment, it pays to do your homework. Affordable senior living facilities are often just as clean, active and professional as more expensive alternatives. With online reviews, ratings and discussion forums just a click away, senior living facilities must comply with government standards and maintain high levels of quality if they’re going to stay in business. Resident lifestyle, amenities and comfort are all critical factors to consider.

6.“The big outfits and retirement home chains have the best care.”

Not always.  Sometimes a smaller place with more friendly staff that is closer to loved ones is the better fit.  As you being to shop around for the facility that’s right for you or your loved one, you’ll see rather quickly that privately owned facilities and non-chains have virtually all the same amenities and services. Choosing the right facility is largely subjective.

7.“Retirement homes are where old people go to die.”

Not true. Most senior living centers are filled with residents who still enjoy an active and engaging lifestyle. When people have access to the kind of activities and quality of care found at modern senior living facilities, they often wind up livinglonger.

8.“Residents have no privacy at ‘independent living’ centers.”

Residential living facilities like those run by Providence Place go to great lengths to ensure the privacy of their residents. Personal space is important regardless of one’s stage of life, and the more reputable senior living providers understand this. The only time our team encroaches upon a resident’s privacy is when they are summoned or when there is a medical emergency.

Most retirement communities provide residents with many more opportunities for independence and enjoyment than they might expect. In fact, seniors who transition into retirement homes tend to have a better quality of life than they could have ever imagined.

Anna Horn works on outreach for Providence Place, an independent living facility in central Pennsylvania. Providence Place simplifies retirement living and provides the right amount of care for several life stages.

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