If you’re considering a move to a senior living community for you or someone in your family, you may have gotten advice from different people, some of it well-informed and some of it simply hearsay. You likely have your own opinions as well. So, how can you sort through what’s true and what’s a myth? After all, this is a big decision. You want to have the right information.
Here are six senior living myths to watch out for.
Myth #1: Senior living communities are just for older people who need care.
Sometimes people assume that the terms retirement home and nursing home are interchangeable. That’s simply not true. Very often, people don’t move to a senior living community because they need care. Instead, they’ve decided that staying in their current home has become a hassle, and they want to free up time to pursue leisure activities, personal interests, and new friendships. In other words, they’re choosing a better lifestyle.
And yes, they can get help with personal care in a senior living community if they need it. But they certainly don’t require the around-the-clock attention that nursing home residents do.
Myth #2: When you move to a senior living community, you give up your independence.
Some people worry that moving to a senior living community will mean having to live by a set schedule. In fact, residents have a tremendous amount of choice. There’s a wide array of outings, activities, dining options, and social opportunities to choose from. Instead of being locked into a daily routine determined by someone else, community members set their own course, trying as many new things and discovering as many new interests as they like.
Myth #3: There’s no privacy.
You can spend as little, or as much time with other people as you’d like each day. You can enjoy the whole day reading in your comfortable private apartment if you wish. And when you feel like socializing, all you have to do is step out your door. You decide how to spend your time and who to spend it with.
Myth #4: The food in senior living communities leaves much to be desired.
If you’re expecting institutional food in senior living, think again. Communities understand just how important good food is to everyone and so most put a huge emphasis on creating a great dining experience. At many communities, meals are prepared by skilled chefs using fresh, nutritious ingredients. Snacks and beverages are provided throughout the day.
Myth #5: Senior living is a lot more expensive than continuing to live in your own home.
It’s easy to jump to this conclusion, particularly if you don’t factor in how much it’s truly costing you to stay in your current home. Don’t forget that once you move into a senior living community you won’t have to pay for things like property tax and ongoing maintenance. Your food expenses may well be included in your monthly senior living community fee. And if you’re currently paying for any home health care, at least a portion of that will also be part of the monthly fee.
And don’t forget that if you’re selling your current home, a portion of the proceeds can go to some of your living expenses.
Once you factor in everything, you may be surprised just how affordable senior living is. In fact, you may find that it’s actually cheaper than living in your current home.
See for yourself by using our handy-dandy cost calculator.
Myth #6: I should wait until I need care before considering senior living.
You may be thinking this if you still believe that senior living is for people who need care (see Myth #1). But remember, many people decide to move because they want to free themselves from household chores and more actively pursue leisure activities, personal interests, and new friendships. Moving to a senior living community can mean a better lifestyle.
The other thing to consider is that moving is going to be a lot more difficult for you if you wait until your health deteriorates. At that point, you may find yourself rushed into making a decision about where to live. And sorting through all your belongings may require more physical and emotional energy than you have.
Even if you don’t feel like you’re ready to move now, it’s probably a good idea to at least begin exploring senior living options.
Should you stay or should you go?
Still not sure about moving to senior living? For more on this topic, check out our handy guide, “Should You Stay or Should You Go? How to Decide Between Home and Senior Living.”