Almost 90 percent of seniors say they want to age in place, remaining in their homes for as long as possible. So the transition to assisted living can feel like a thwarted dream. Many seniors cite moving out of their homes as a primary fear of getting older. Early experiences with aging loved ones, myths about “homes,” and a fear of the unfamiliar all color senior perceptions of assisted living.
The reality is that most seniors are happier in senior communities. They can get help when they need it, along with easy access to fellowship, fun, and gourmet dining.
The websites and blogs of senior living communities are filled with sunny promises, and for good reason — these communities offer a chance at a happier, healthier, even longer life. Yet questions remain for some seniors. Here are the questions you might be afraid to ask — and our honest, no-holds-barred responses:
Will I Lose My Independence?
Nope! Senior living communities exist to promote independence, not take it. You’re still you, with all the rights you’ve ever had. The only difference is that you’ll get help when you need it or ask for it. This can actually help you feel more independent because you won’t have to worry about the future or feel anxious about relying on loved ones.
Will I Be Bored?
Senior living communities are thriving, exciting communities that are bustling with activity. There are regularly scheduled classes and things to do, such as bingo, chair yoga, community walks, and group excursions. You’ll also celebrate special events in style. Enjoy live music, birthday celebrations, and spectacular holidays. And of course, you can still do all the things you once did. Many communities offer transportation, field trips, and help finding nearby activities.
What If I Feel Alone?
Loneliness is a part of life, and even in the right community, it can happen. When you live at home, it’s much harder to address loneliness. You have to proactively call someone, make plans, or get someone to visit. In senior living, addressing loneliness is usually as simple as walking outside your home. Head to an activity, chat someone up in the dining room, or even tell our friendly staff that you’re feeling lonely. Arbor is here to help. No senior should feel alone.
What If I’m Not Like All Those Other Old People?
You probably visited a grandparent or other senior in a nursing home as a child. That may have colored your perceptions of aging and seniors. The truth is that seniors are as diverse as everyone else. In senior living, you’ll find people who prefer quiet, stereotypical activities, and those who crave adventure, an adrenaline rush, and some mischief. Our communities work with seniors who want meaningful retirements. If that sounds like you, you don’t have to worry about being surrounded by boring “old” people.
Will Moving Be Too Hard?
We won’t sugarcoat it: Packing up a lifetime’s worth of stuff can be difficult — both logistically and emotionally. So plan ahead and get some help from loved ones. You may find that clearing the clutter feels like a huge weight is lifted. And there’s no law that says you have to get rid of everything (or anything). A storage space can be your best friend during the transition.
Will My Loved Ones Forget About Me?
No! In fact, in many families, assisted living actually improves relationships. Your loved ones may no longer have to worry about convincing you to accept help. They’ll no longer be juggling caretaking or worried about your safety. That makes it easier to have meaningful relationships between equals. So invite them to a community event and remind them that you still need them. They could never forget about you.
Can I Afford It?
There are no easy answers here. Assisted living has a price tag, but so does living at home. And when you compare expenses, you may be surprised to learn that the costs are comparable. In some cases, especially if you still have a mortgage, living at home may actually be more expensive. Long-term care insurance usually covers assisted living, and some government programs, including certain Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, may cover care, too. To compare the costs of each option, check out our cost calculator tool.
No two senior living communities are alike. One of the most important ingredients in the recipe for a satisfying retirement is finding the right community for your needs. Arbor has proudly served seniors for more than three decades. We would love to support you and your family through this transition. For our expert advice, download our free guide, “Finding a Safe & Comfortable Senior Living Community.”