Most seniors have an idea of what senior living communities are like as you like have friends or even relatives in assisted living, retirement homes, or other independent living. There are always horror stories and news headlines, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite this, senior living today focus greatly on the ideal senior lifestyle. Many seniors are not completely retired and work part-time or volunteer their time extensively. Other seniors require extra support and care with assisted living or a long-term care home. There are general common myths and misconceptions about senior living, but most senior living facilities and communities provide living that is far beyond expectations.
Myth—Senior Living Communities Feel Like Institutions and Are Communities for Old People
Senior living communities are not set up with long white hallways and bright lights similar to hospitals or institutions. Most senior living homes are home-like, comfortable, and more closely resemble a resort-style than a hospital. There are various styles of senior living homes and communities across the nation. Facilities that provide a higher level of care may have a hospital feel because of support staff, but overall, most senior living facilities are home-like environments.
The age of residents varies; while most residents range from 55 through their 90s, you will find that most residents are independent, even in assisted living, and do not meet the stereotypical expectation of old and decrepit. There are countless senior communities designed for active adults, and those communities are designed for adults who need help with some activities of daily life and are still active. Retirement communities are also home to seniors of different ages, and most residents are still active and living life to the fullest.
Myth—You are No Longer Independent and Can No Longer Do the Things You Like
Independent living for seniors is just that, independent living. It is not uncommon to confuse living independently with living on your own. You may no longer own your own home, but life at a senior living community is as independent as you want it. Residents at any retirement community, assisted living facility or any independent living for seniors are not limited to where they can go or what they can do. A reason for choosing independent living is to free up more time and not have to worry about maintaining a home. Moreover, most senior communities provide extensive amenities and services to help residents stay occupied and socialize.
Additionally, there is a misconception that when you downsize, you have to give up your hobbies and interests, and this is not true. Because you are freeing up more time and not having to maintain a home or work schedule, there is more opportunity to do the things you love. While in a senior community, you also have the opportunity to meet other seniors with similar interests. Retirement living is not about giving up hobbies, but rather discovering new ones and pursuing the ones you have.
Myth—Senior Living Communities is Too Expensive and Takes Me Away from Family and Friends
The cost of senior living varies depending on the type, location, amenities, and services provided, along with the level of care. The average cost of senior living in Canada is comparable to most monthly rents with utilities and receiving some care services at home. However, the best approach for any senior is to compare what they are paying now to what the cost of a retirement home is each month. Senior living homes have everything included in one convenient rate. Compare all of your living costs to the cost of a senior living community.
Long-term, it may end up being more beneficial, but cost comparison is the best way to approach it. There is also a misconception that senior living communities disconnect you from family and friends, which is not true. Senior living communities are extremely visitor-friendly, and there are always common areas and private suites that accommodate guests and family members. Most seniors choose a senior living community close to family and friends. Just because your residence changes, it does not mean your social life changes.
Myth—I Could Never Enjoy Someone Else’s Cooking, and I Won’t Have Any Privacy
There is a common misconception that meals are bland and boring and do not accommodate anyone’s needs. Residents have access to multiple nutritious meals a day, and most senior living communities accommodate their residents’ dietary needs. Depending on the size of the senior living community, the dining set-up could be quite large or small. Moreover, seniors living in private apartments or condos have a kitchen and can continue to cook and prepare meals. Retirement homes typically offer suites with full kitchens but also have a restaurant or dining hall available for residents to attend.
Senior living communities are meant to alleviate some of the tasks of daily living, and for some seniors, this is cooking. Regarding privacy, residents have the choice of how much or how little time alone they want each day. Most residents have their own suits that are comfortable and accommodating and can choose to spend time in their apartment or common areas. Moreover, privacy is respected by staff members and residents, who understand the desire and need for a non-intrusive environment.
Myth—Retirement Homes and Assisted Living are the Same, and I Should Not Move Until I Absolutely Have To
Retirement homes and assisted living facilities are completely different from one another. Retirement homes are privately operated and are not funded by any level of government. Assisted living facilities in Canada are private and public services. Retirement homes are for active and independent seniors who have downsized their living arrangements and do not need help with the activities of daily life. Assisted living facilities are also for independent seniors, but the facilities provide services to help residents with some of the activities of daily life. Retirement homes do not provide the same level of care as an assisted living facility or long-term care home.
Additionally, if you begin to require help with certain activities and cannot arrange in-home services, or have no family to help, you should consider assisted living. It is a good idea not to wait too long, especially if you have no one available to help you. There is a misconception that senior living facilities or communities are only for those who require assistance with daily activities. Retirement homes, for example, provide opportunities for residents to live independently and have more free time to do the things they enjoy.