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The Truth about Senior Living 

Published: Dec 30, 2022. Last Updated: Jan 8, 2023.

There are a number of beliefs about senior living that spring fear and apprehension among older adults. For one, they think that they would have to give up their independence once they move into senior living communities. One of the most common fears is that they believe that they will no longer see their loved ones as frequent when they move in.

Generally, these beliefs are formed because of the long history of long-term senior care that are prescriptive in essence. However, these situations are becoming more obsolete as senior living facilities have evolved with time. Unlike before, senior living communities of today are designed to foster a holistic approach in providing a comfortable level of care for aging people.

If your loved one is beset with many misconceptions about senior living, it’s best to discuss the reality of modern senior living communities and help them understand that you are there to help manage their fears and apprehensions. Let’s debunk some of the most common myths about senior living and reveal the untold truth behind them.

Senior Living is for “Old” People

TRUTH UNTOLD: While most senior living communities house residents aging 55 and older, there is really no specific age restriction for it for some facilities. These communities do not specifically target a certain age group and in fact, accept a certain number of younger residents. The myth that senior living is for old people has caused a stigma to older adults that makes them hesitant to move in senior living communities because of the implied meaning that they’re already old and frail.

This brings us to the question, can you live in a senior living community if you are under 55 years old? The answer is yes. Some conditions apply for this, given if you are living with one household member that is above the minimum age for the community. For example, if your spouse is over 55 and chose to move in an independent living community, you can move in with him/her as well. The same applies if you’re living with a parent who is over 55, you may also live with your loved one.

There are age-restricted communities that have certain rules with regards to younger residents. In cases that a younger person wants to enjoy the amenities and services in a senior living community and this person does not live with any household member that meets the age requirement, it may still be possible to move in pursuant to the provisions of the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995. It further reiterates that this is possible for as long as at least 80% of the occupied units in a senior living community is resided by persons aged 55 years or older.

Independence will be lost

TRUTH UNTOLD: Perhaps the biggest misinformation connected to senior living is that seniors will be rid of independence once they reside in a senior living community. This is, at all levels, wrong. While aging in place is all great, moving in a senior living facility is not any different when it comes to retaining your sense of independence. You can still be as free-spirited as you want, you can still make your own decisions, and most of all, you can still live your life the way you please.

Contrary to this belief, senior living communities of today encourage independence and free will among its residents. They can still be self-supporting while enjoying the services and amenities for a maintenance-free living. They can have more time and freedom to do the things they find meaningful without worrying about household chores and other errands. The best thing about this is your loved one can be independent while you retain your peace of mind because you know that help and support is there whenever your loved one may need it.

Senior living is too expensive

TRUTH UNTOLD: The first thing that might come to your mind when you begin considering moving your loved one into a senior living community is the cost. At this point, let’s talk about whether senior living is expensive or not. First, ask yourself: between aging in place and living in a senior living community, which is more cost-efficient? Let’s get into the details.

If you think aging at home is the cheaper option, you might want to reconsider it. Aging in place may mean more expenses for an older adult, considering that more modifications are needed for safety purposes of the house, and the rising cost of maintaining an average U.S household. With aging comes many changes, including health deterioration and mobility decline. You will need several add-ons to make your home safer and more navigable, to include handrails, non-skid floors, grab bars, ramps, better lighting, and no-step showers. Renovations may also be needed for hallways, height of cabinets and storage, among other concerns for a senior’s safety. On top of that, you have to allot a budget for occasional repairs. With all these costs, you will also be dealing with budgeting for your daily meals, groceries, health consultations, medicines, and other unforeseen situations that will need a certain budget.

Now, how about the cost of living in a senior living facility? Nothing comes for free, and while senior living may cost you an average monthly rate that could range between $1,500 to $4,000 for independent communities and between $3,500 to $10,500 for assisted living facilities, it’s more cost-efficient when the individual expenses for aging at home is all added up.

The bottomline here is, whatever option you may go for in senior living, it comes with a cost. You have to accurately make your own calculations because the cost of living isn’t the same for all regions and for the individual needs of a person.

I can only move when I need it the most

TRUTH UNTOLD: Most seniors think that they would only have to move into a senior living community when they’re sick or disabled. The thing is, if you have this mindset, you probably won’t have a chance to make the most out of the amenities and services offered in an independent or an assisted living community. If you want to take advantage of the benefits of senior living, you might consider moving in while you’re still healthy and able. This way, you get to access the opportunities for a maintenance-free living while enjoying the activities and events in a senior living community.

I won’t be able to do what I am accustomed to (hobbies,privacy)

TRUTH UNTOLD: Senior living communities are designed to provide its residents with a wholesome lifestyle of a broad variety of activities and social opportunities. There, you can enroll in classes or join in social clubs to mingle with people who have the same interests and hobbies as you. While senior living communities encourage its residents to participate in these activities, you still have the freedom to join or opt not to take part in these social gatherings.

And if what concerns you is the thought that you may not be able to keep your privacy, you’d be wrong. In senior living communities, you will be living in an individual apartment or a detached single-family sized home wherein you can enjoy your own private space.

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About the Author

JM Guiang

Writer & Researcher

Elder Guide LLC

Inspired by fresh ideas and wise words, JM Guiang, Communications degree-holder, and Elder Guide writer, finds profound joy in writing quality content and insightful articles that redefine seniors' perspective on aging with grace and confidence.