If you’ve been considering senior living, either for yourself or a loved one, the health crisis may have given you pause. While that’s understandable, it’s important to know there are quite a few senior living myths out there that have created confusion. So you can have accurate information, here are five senior living myths – and their realities.
5 Senior Living Myths
Myth 1: All senior living communities are COVID-19 hot spots.
Reality: It’s true that some long-term skilled nursing facilities around the country have experienced severe outbreaks. But here are two key things to keep in mind:
- The majority of communities have been able to minimize the impact of COVID-19, resulting in fewer cases. Some have had no cases at all.
- There are differences between skilled nursing facilities (nursing homes) and other types of senior living communities.
The term “senior living” encompasses a wide spectrum of community types:
- Independent living communities – Age-restricted communities for older adults who can live independently and who want a maintenance-free lifestyle with access to amenities and programs that interest them.
- Assisted living communities – Communities that provide housing and help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, grooming and medication management.
- Memory care communities – Communities that offer housing and specialized care and programming for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
- Skilled nursing – Licensed facilities for those who need 24/7 skilled medical care. These residents have chronic medical issues that make them more vulnerable to illness.
- Continuing care retirement communities – Also known as Life Plan Communities, they offer independent living as well as a continuum of care, which can include assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing.
So, if you hear about a health crisis at a senior living community, remember that not all communities are hot spots, and try not to assume that the community types you’re hearing about are all the same.
Myth 2: I’m better off staying where I am.
Reality: Residing in a senior living community makes a lot of things easier and may actually reduce your risk of getting sick.
- Convenient services & amenities – You don’t need to hassle with grocery shopping or going multiple places to work out, take a class or socialize. Having on-site amenities means you can stay in one place, enjoy yourself, and reduce your risk of exposure.
- Built-in health & safety protocols – Senior living communities are uniquely positioned to help protect your health. On top of routine health and safety practices, communities already have existing plans and training to handle emergencies such as natural disasters and health crises. Since the onset of COVID-19, communities have added rigorous protocols, including additional cleaning and disinfection, reduced visitation, and health monitoring for staff and residents. At communities like Peace Village, there are on-site health services available, and a continuum of quality care, so you don’t have to worry about where to go if your health needs change.
Myth 3: Residents are stuck in their rooms with nothing to do.
Reality: Communities have adapted how they deliver services and programming, such as meals and activities, so residents can still enjoy the lifestyle they love. Many communities offer video-based classes and virtual cultural experiences. And they’ve found ways to help residents safely socialize, reducing the risk of isolation and loneliness.
Myth 4: It will be safer to move my parent or loved one out of a community and bring them home.
Reality: If your loved one has functional or cognitive needs that are currently being met at a community, bringing them home may do them more harm than good. Ask yourself a few questions before deciding:
- Can their care needs be met at home?
- Is your house suitable and safe for them?
- What will their level of socialization be?
- How disruptive will the move be to their routines and care?
- Will you put them at risk for exposure during a health crisis?
- What impact will it have on your family?
Myth 5: It’s a bad time to move into a community.
Reality: When you compare the senior living myths to their realities, it’s actually a good time to make the move. Plus, staff has added health and safety protocols to the moving process, so even your move-in is safer.
If you have questions about what we’re doing at Peace Village to protect residents and keep them healthy, happy and engaged, feel free to reach out. Use the contact form or give us a call. We’re happy to discuss things with you.