Any kind of change can be challenging – particularly when it involves our living situation. The prospect of leaving the comfort zone of a family home, no matter how necessary it might be, is rarely something we choose for ourselves. I remember my own Dad after my mother passed, living alone and struggling to keep up with an aging home – and yet his standard response to anyone suggesting the prospect of moving was a firm “The day I move out of this house is the day I die!”
Sound familiar? If you have aging parents resistant to new options but not thriving living alone, you might be looking for ways to diffuse this impulse to shut down the conversation and perhaps lay the groundwork for an exploration into the benefits of assisted living. Here’s a sampling of comments we’ve heard from seniors who made the change and never looked back:
- “I have so many friends!” Loneliness is not only epidemic among the elderly, but it has also been linked to depression and other serious health problems. Assisted Living communities build a robust (and elective) social life into the daily routine, through planned experiences and outings, fitness and music classes, on-site seminars and other cultural events. And the communal dining element is central to daily life at these communities, meaning no one ever has to eat alone unless they prefer to.
- “I don’t miss looking at chipped paint.” Even the most basic home maintenance can be physically and financially challenging for an elderly person on a fixed income. Assisted living amenities vary, but usually include options for housekeeping and repairs in all apartments and common living spaces.
- “I love not having to think about dinner!” The demands of food shopping, cooking, and cleaning up mean that many seniors living independently don’t get the nutrition they need. That responsibility is taken care of in assisted living communities, where full-service culinary programs are standard fare. And our country’s cultural shift towards fresher, more locally sourced ingredients has driven the quality of these programs way up over the last decade, with many communities offering menu-driven, restaurant-style dining.
- “I feel safe.” Many seniors choosing to stay in their homes require environmental modifications or in-home healthcare that can be cumbersome and expensive. Assisted living apartments and communal spaces are designed to provide residents with the greatest amount of mobility in the safest way possible. And all have options for expert care and medical attention onsite.
- “It’s like being back in school.” An active brain is a healthy brain – that’s true for all of us, but especially critical for seniors hoping to prevent cognitive impairment or dementia. Assisted living communities provide a broad array of learning opportunities to their residents that most seniors would be hard pressed to access themselves, including art and music classes; computer lessons; movement classes, like Tai Chi; and book clubs. They also often offer opportunities to attend outside lectures or other civic events. And those communities located near colleges and universities often make it possible for residents to take classes or attend academic discussions and talks.
Have you had “the talk” with Dad and are still meeting some resistance? Often visiting a few communities will help make these concepts feel more real, and help diffuse objections based on assumptions instead of what’s really out there. Head to A Place for Mom or tips on making the most out of an assisted living tour.