Aging adults are often wary about changing their living situation, especially when they consider the prospect of moving into an assisted living community. Most fears about assisted living stem from observations of outdated practices that evolved into myths. In this case, negative views may keep someone from seeking residence in a setting that might actually be the perfect fit for their needs. The reality is, today’s assisted living communities are drastically different than they were in the past and learning more about them, can help you see them in a whole new light:
Loss of Freedom
The first thing that comes to mind for many people when they think of assisted living, is the prospect that they will be in some sort of facility, where people in charge make all of the plans to dictate what they can and cannot do. People may even fear being treated like a child, with a daily schedule, planned mealtimes, and even prescribed bedtimes.
As an adult, having lived with a large degree of freedom for many years, the prospect of someone else being in charge would be daunting, and would reasonably be a deterrent from considering assisted living. However, today’s senior assisted living communities are not typically run in the same way they were in the past. In fact, today, it is not typical at all for anyone, not even the highest level of leadership, to be “in charge” of how a resident may spend their time.
Along with a loss of freedom, most seniors are truly afraid that they will have limited choices in an assisted living setting. In the past, it may have been the case that every resident had the same type of room, did the same type of activities, and were served the same type of meals. Certainly, things may run more easily when making one plan for every single resident.
Fortunately, somewhere along the way, people started asserting their preference for variety and the freedom of choice for whichever option best suits them. Today’s modern assisted living communities typically offer multiple floorplan options for rooms, which can range in size and accommodate couples or roommates. Meals are served on an ‘anytime’ dining format, with a menu similar to a restaurant. Most residents also choose their own daily schedules.
Loneliness and Isolation
If this sounds better than you envisioned so far, your next fear may be possibility of loneliness and isolation while residing in an assisted living community. Often people fear that with this residential choice, they will be shuttled away from society, away from the family, friends, and community they love. They may fear that once in assisted living, no one will visit them.
Today’s assisted living communities are designed to help aging adults stay active and engaged with life, including through interactions with fellow residents. One of the best elements of assisted living is actually the ability to connect with same aged peers, to form new friendships that can bring excitement to the golden years. Additionally, most assisted living communities now help to keep their residents engaged with one another, by planning shared events.
Last Resort Only
Finally, you may have in mind that assisted living is something to consider only as a last resort. People often assume it is only people with severe health problems, mobility limitations, and dementia who would want or need to move into assisted living. This may be in part because people are picturing a “nursing home” type setting where residents may need extensive care.
Today’s assisted living is not just intended to be a “last resort.” Most assisted living communities are simply designed to be another option for aging adults, who may want to let go of home ownership and some of the responsibilities of living independently. Assisted living is an opportunity to maintain independence, while leaving behind some of life’s responsibility. The intention is a community of residence, with services that can scale to meet individual needs.
After learning more about today’s approach to assisted living, you may be finding yourself more open to and even interested in the prospect of residing in an assisted living community. By looking for and relocating to such a community, you can give yourself the opportunity to enjoy your golden years with fewer responsibilities and peace of mind knowing that should you need help, it would always available, but that no one will take away your ability to live as you want.
If you would like to further examine today’s assisted living options, you may want to start by researching online for communities in your region or in a region where you would like to live. Sometimes people take this move as an opportunity to get to a warmer climate and experience a new part of the country, where perhaps they can also travel and take in new places.
One good option in the west and southwestern regions of the United States is Quail Park. The Quail Park Communities are all built to match these modern approaches to assisted living. There is a mission of respecting resident’s dignity while working to provide a high quality of life.