When it is time for seniors to make a choice regarding their care, it is important to separate fact from fiction in considering assisted living. Many seniors ask the same questions when weighing whether to move forward with an assisted living facility, and they should consider the truth behind some of the most common myths of assisted living care.
“My lifestyle will drastically change if I choose assisted living.”
It is understandable for a senior to be nervous about leaving their home and moving into an assisted living community. However, the welcoming environment of an assisted living community may be a comfort to an interested senior and their loved ones from the moment they step through the door. Assisted living communities are designed to be open and welcoming spaces that are tailored to a senior’s specific lifestyle needs. The staff of an assisted living community is trained to fit in with a senior’s routine, so there is no pressure to conform to someone else’s way of life.
“I will lose my sense of independence if I move into an assisted living community.”
Many seniors fear losing their independence when choosing assisted living. However, that could not be farther from the truth, as seniors most often gain more independence while living in an assisted living community. A positive change for a senior residing in an assisted living community is not having to depend on a family member or loved one for help. Assisted living communities provide meals, maintenance, 24-hour medical assistance, and even transportation to run errands or go to doctor’s appointments.
The living arrangements in an assisted living community are also organized in a way that encourages a senior’s independence. Depending on the community and their personal needs, seniors can choose between private and semi-private living arrangements. Not having to worry about the tedious task of maintaining a home or having to live by a family or loved one’s schedule leaves more free time to pursue hobbies and activities, whether organized in a group setting or independently.
“I will see my family less if I move into an assisted living community.”
Some seniors fear that leaving their home means less time spent with their family when in fact, the environment created by assisted living communities allows for seniors to see their family and loved ones just as much as they would have had they continued living on their own. Visitors are welcome any time in an assisted living community and often, different communities will host events and activities encouraging family members to attend. Since assisted living provides everything seniors need to live their lives, family visits are less stressful and burdensome. The time a loved one used to spend driving a senior into town or helping to clean the house can now be spent relaxed enjoying a pleasant conversation or participating in a favorite hobby. The peace of mind of knowing the difficult things are taken care of means a senior can focus on building and maintaining their familiar relationships.
“Assisted living is way too expensive. I will save money by living at home.”
The price tag for assisted living can seem daunting at first, but when compared to the cost of living at home, the benefits of assisted living often come out on top. The average cost of assisted living in the United States is $3,500 a month, or about $42,000 a year, according to survey conducted by Genworth Financial Inc. The average cost of a home health aide is around $21 an hour, a cost that can certainly add up depending on how much care a senior may require.
The difference in cost of living is really truly apparent when reviewing what assisted living provides on a daily basis—things that seniors will no longer need to worry about when living at home. The cost of meals, transportation, housekeeping, 24/7 care and security are all included in the price—not to mention not having to pay rent or a mortgage. When added up, assisted living is often the more affordable care option.
“Medicare will pay for my assisted living costs.”
According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Medicare program, the federal health insurance program designed for those over 65, will not pay for long-term assisted living nor will it pay for in-home assisted living care. There are other ways the seniors can pay for assisted living, however. Aside from paying out of pocket or relying on a family member or loved one, payment options include selling a home or a reverse mortgage, which is a government-backed, interest-free loan based on the collateral of your home for those 62 years old and up. With a reverse mortgage, there are no monthly payments, as the loan is paid back when the home is sold. For those who qualify, veterans assistance programs can help offset the costs of assisted living. Many seniors also qualify for Medicaid, depending on their income and what state they live in.
“Assisted living communities are depressing places full of depressing people.”
Assisted living facilities are designed with community in mind. Most facilities resemble high-end apartment complexes or condos, designed to foster independence and provide quality care. While healthcare is one of the prime focuses of assisted living, they do not resemble hospitals. The community assisted living provides also extends to the bonds that can form there not only between fellow seniors, but also between seniors and staff. Community activities can be a great place for seniors to make friends and share experiences. Many seniors report feeling lonely, but the community environment created by assisted living can go a long way in providing a sense of belonging in a senior’s life.
Choosing the next step of care when the time comes can be a daunting task. Through debunking many common myths associated with assisted living, seniors and their loved ones can be comforted by the freedoms and peace of mind gained from an assisted living community.