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Four misconceptions about senior living communities that may be holding you back

As Baby Boomers age into retirement, more Americans are talking about their living options – is a move to a senior living community a good idea?

Many people immediately dismiss the idea, most likely because of a negative (and outdated) perception about what senior living communities are like. That’s unfortunate as many seniors would not only benefit from living in a community but would probably thrive in such a supportive environment.

Here are some of the misconceptions that are keeping people from considering what could be a great option for them.

1.      Who wants to live with a bunch of old people?

If you are considering a move to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) or some other type of senior living community, you may have heard this response from a friend or loved one. Or it could be that consciously or subconsciously, this sentiment is holding you back.

What's behind this response? Maybe it’s the false belief that “old people” have nothing to offer to society. It’s a misconception that likely lingers from a time when the only senior living options were nursing homes.

In contrast to the stereotypes of “old folks” homes, many residents still lead very active lives and are integral members of their surrounding communities. Some are experts in their fields and give talks to other residents and even to groups outside of the community. Others are invaluable to local volunteer organizations and houses of worship. Many enjoy athletic hobbies from golf to pickleball. And for those whose physical capabilities have declined with age, there are many ways to stay engaged socially.

Senior housing is no longer just for the old and frail. Continuing care retirement communities in particular offer options such as independent living and assisted living that allow you to continue to live an independent and productive life while removing some of the stresses of running a household.

2.      It’s too expensive

The cost of senior living varies depending on your living choice and your level of care, but many people’s first reaction is that it’s too expensive. When you consider the cost of aging in your home however, you’ll see a move to a community may be the better value.

As you age, staying in your own house will become more expensive. You may have to make costly modifications – taking out steps or installing ramps, updating bathtubs to showers, installing grab bars. You’ll also have the continuing cost of utilities, lawn mowing services, property taxes, and insurance. And you may need to hire an
in-home care aide to help you with activities of daily living such as bathing or even cooking and doing laundry. It all adds up.

When weighing the cost of senior living versus aging at home, also consider what a senior living community might include: home maintenance and housekeeping, meals, amenities such as fitness centers, and maybe even personal care.

An additional value of a continuing care retirement community like Newton Presbyterian Manor is priority access to a higher level of care (such as assisted living, memory care, or long-term care) if and when you need it.

3.      I’ll lose my independence

If you’re afraid of living in a continuing care retirement community because you’ll lose your freedom – it’s time to reconsider.

Independent living communities offer the same freedoms as living at home – with additional benefits such as fitness classes, fine dining, entertainment and fun activities and excursions. You can come and go as you please, have visitors whenever you like, and take part in as much or as little community life as you’d like.

You can set up and decorate your home – whether an apartment or a cottage – as you’d like, with your own items. At Newton Presbyterian Manor’s independent living, we even allow pets (dogs, cats, or birds) with approval.

4.      Senior living housing is lonely and boring

Because of stereotypes about nursing homes, it’s a common misconception that living in a community can leave you isolated and lonely – confined to your room with little to do.

The reality is that senior living communities have life enrichment teams whose job is to create a fun environment with lots of activities and events. Residents can participate as much or as little as they want.

Communities also offer lots of opportunities to be social and grow your circle of friends – from eating your meals in the dining room to joining a book club in the library, participating in a fitness class or going to a religious service in the chapel.  

A recent five-year study from the Mather Institute about life in continuing care retirement communities (also known as life plan communities) found that residents report their social wellness improved from the first year on. By the fifth year, changes in social contact and engagement in intellectual activities were more favorable for residents than people not living in a senior living community.

Make your decision based on reality

If you’re considering a move to a community like Newton Presbyterian Manor, don’t fall for stereotypes or preconceived notions. Make your decision based on reality. You can do by visiting continuing care retirement communities so you can see what life is like in person. You can chat with other residents or event participate in an event.

If you’d like to schedule a visit to Newton Presbyterian Manor, contact us online or call us at 316-283-5400.

The above article was partially written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.
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