Contemplating a move from a long-time home to a senior living community can feel overwhelming, scary, and unappealing. However, this is usually caused by a simple lack of knowledge about senior homes.
The more information someone has about these truly exceptional communities, the more appealing they usually become. It can be hard to find the right information, though. That’s why we put together this short list of the seven most important things to know about senior living communities.
1. Senior living communities are often much more than expected.
For some reason, pop culture always depicts senior care centers the same way—long, dark halls with lots of cramped, dark rooms. Everyone sitting quiet and alone. The air looks musky, as though it would smell like mold.
It’s no wonder that many people find themselves shocked to walk into the high-quality senior living communities of today.
One of the first things they notice about a great care center is the light—really great care centers are designed to let the sunshine in. Next, they probably notice the comfortable furniture arranged for building and enjoying community, and then hear the buzzing conversations and laughter. Or perhaps they notice the fresh smell (that’s nowhere close to moldy).
Excellent care centers intentionally design their buildings to provide an environment people want to be in. Why?
Because excellent senior living communities see themselves as just that: a place for seniors to come together in community to truly live life to the fullest. And a delightful atmosphere is the best way to start that process.
2. They offer more than just one type of living environment.
Again, thanks largely to misrepresentation in pop culture, living communities for seniors are often depicted as a separation for couples into hospital-like, bare rooms. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth in most care communities these days.
There’s actually a living option for pretty much any type of senior in most quality communities. Some seniors who don’t need medical assistance choose fully independent one- to two-bedroom apartments to have easier access to community and amenities like housekeeping and transportation.
Others choose a modified version of this with access to excellent, in-home medical supervision and assistance.
Still other couples choose an apartment in a memory care wing so that the spouse with the fading memory has the safety and supervision needed while lessening the burden on the other spouse so they can make the most of their time remaining together.
3. Senior living communities provide better health care, physically and emotionally.
Most people understand that senior living communities offer health care—after all, that’s usually why they’re considering the move in the first place. However, what many people don’t realize is that:
• This health care is available 24/7. That’s right—if something feels off at 2 am, that sketchy emergicare down the street is no longer the only option.
• This health care comes to them. Even better? There’s no need to get bundled up in bad weather or find those night-glasses for driving. The health providers at great senior living communities always make in-home visits.
• This health care is consistently personal. Best of all, those health care providers are consistently the same people over and over again, so they know exactly what’s going on with their patients. (Sometimes even before the patients do!)
Additionally, many people overlook the emotional health of seniors. Growing older—especially when mobility is restricted—can grow incredibly lonely. Senior living centers provide ample community for seniors to build strong relationships. And often, these relationships are built on shared experiences, which leads to strong empathy and deep friendships.
4. Senior living communities improve family relationships.
There are few things harder for a child than watching a parent age, and having to step into that “parent role.” The constant pressure to orchestrate a parent’s overall needs on top of an already busy life can easily lead to daily worry about bills, appointments, pills, and meals. Children of aging parents often find themselves stuck in survival mode, waffling between stress, guilt, and even resentment.
However, once a parent moves into a senior living community, all of that stress, frustration, and resentment instantly vanishes. Knowing experts are handling the difficult tasks allows a child to regain that special relationship with a parent. Most parents and children report dramatically improved family relationships after a move to a senior living community.
5. There is more freedom, not less.
Perhaps the most common fear of people considering a senior living community is the potential loss of freedom. We get it—it’s scary to consider loss of autonomy over what to do, when to eat, and where to sleep.
However, the overwhelming majority of residents in quality senior living communities find themselves pleasantly surprised by the level of autonomy they are able to retain after moving.
As we mentioned earlier, senior care centers have come a long way over the past several decades. The best senior communities create a holistic approach to senior care that takes into consideration not only the resident’s health needs but also their hobbies, interests, and social preferences. Then, they strive to go above and beyond in what they offer in their schedules, in their menus, and in their room and apartment set-ups, providing residents with plenty of options so that they maintain as much independence as possible for as long as possible.
Moreover, residents in high-quality senior living centers find freedom in other surprising ways, as well. They discover a love for leisure time. The stress of home projects and lawn care (and the never-ending unexpected costs of these) is a burden many residents delight in leaving behind.
Additionally, many residents find themselves increasingly homebound as driving becomes more difficult. However, most care centers offer van transportation or other regular excursions off-property. Often, residents at these living communities find themselves out and about far more often after moving in.
6. Senior living communities are not only for the fabulously wealthy.
Many seniors believe a great living community is financially out of reach. However, this simply isn’t true. Many senior living communities offer a variety of living options and available services, which can make the living community more affordable.
Moreover, when seniors factor in home costs, in-home health care and transportation costs, food costs, and other daily living expenses, senior living communities start to look like a surprisingly comparable option.
Additionally, many seniors are surprised to find help from surprising places, like insurance plans or even choosing to use their homes as income properties. There are many, many ways to afford an excellent senior living community.
7. Think about the transition ahead of time.
Senior living communities are best experienced when a senior can move in on his or her own terms. This means it’s important to begin to think through options before a crisis occurs.
This gives the senior and his or her family plenty of time to visit different senior living communities, take time to get to know the current residents and begin to build friendships, and provide themselves with plenty of time to process not only when they want to move but how and with what personal items.
Urgent moves due to medical needs can cause unnecessary stress for everyone involved. Protect yourself and your loved ones by scheduling a visit today!