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Research and consulting company Age Wise surveyed seniors 65 and older on their impressions of senior living. They found there were five common myths that prevailed among that population. Over the past few weeks, we’ve broken down these myths. This week’s myth is “it’s a nursing home where people go to die.”
Myth #5: It’s A Nursing Home Where People Go To Die.
The final myth identified by Age Wave is that retirement homes are “filled with old people who are sick and dying.” However, many active seniors live in retirement communities.
Visiting An Assisted Living Community Will Show You That Many Individuals Are Living A Very Active Life.
In Assisted Living, there is a good chance that they are more able to be engaged and involved because they have moved out of their homes into a community.
It is much easier to experience socialization, proper nutrition, and daily support to continue to live fully. With reduced fall risks, daily exercise classes, stimulating conversations, and activities, life expectancy can actually increase.
At The Piper Assisted Living and Memory Support, there are regular activities which include: happy hours, flexibility and movement classes, art classes, outings, family-style dining, bible studies, church services, speakers on educational topics, outdoor cookouts, and various other scheduled activities. Beyond that, families can take residents out to other events.
Even during the present COVID-19 restrictions, activities are available in appropriate and safe ways.
So What Is The Real Issue Behind The Myth?
Age Wave has identified three underlying misconceptions:
- All Senior Livings are like nursing homes
- Life in a Senior Living is boring and uneventful
- I will move to a nursing home when I am too unhealthy to live in my home.
Nursing homes have a negative reputation based on the care facilities of years ago. Things have changed immensely. In addition, there are many levels of Senior Living that bare no resemblance to the old nursing homes of the past. Years ago, it was a place where people went to spend their last days. But even then, the care and attention they needed were available in nursing homes.
Nothing is boring about Retirement Living today. Individuals have so many choices to stay active. In comparison, being at home alone, without the ability to drive, may be the most dreary of all.
Senior Living Is A Wonderful Choice Today.
Today, deciding to move to a Senior Living is typically a proactive lifestyle move, rather than a reaction triggered or forced by poor health. Living in a community may be the best way to stay healthy.
The general outcomes of a proactive, well thought out plan are much better. It is the best recipe for making the next chapter in life as vital, interesting, and fulfilling as possible. Residents say every day, “I wish I had moved sooner!”
If you are looking for Senior Living in Kansas City and are interested in The Piper, contact us today.
We continue to look at five of the common myths seniors associate with assisted living communities. The fourth myth identified by Age Wave, the research and consulting company that studied the 65+ age group perceptions of Senior Living relates to the misconception that an individual doesn’t need any help and won’t in the future.
Myth #4: I’ll Never Need It
Seniors are not adept at anticipating the need for care. Much of this comes from a general denial of the aging process in our society. No one wants to be frail and elderly, and it is true that some individuals remain strong and independent to the end of their lives. But the majority of Elders will need some type of care in their lives.
Genworth’s 2010 Cost Of Care Survey Says That 66% Of The Population Will Need Long-Term Care After Age 65.
They also reported that only 35% “believe” they will need care. The gap is created by our unwillingness to face the facts about our own aging issues. We prepare for life’s difficulties with wills, trusts, and insurance, but preparing for personal care assistance seems unnecessary because we can’t imagine a time when we can’t do everything ourselves.
The Reality Is That 66% Of The Population Will Need Help From A Caregiver.
Although couples that live together provide a great deal of support for one another, the time may come when one spouse is left alone, or one of the two needs more help than their partner can provide.
Research says that the caregiver has a much higher incidence of an adverse health event than the one being cared for. Caregivers suffer from not only the physical burden of caregiving but emotional and mental stress also.
It becomes particularly precarious when a catastrophic health event happens to the caregiver. This creates an emergency for outside help or a sudden move to a Senior Living Community. Frequently, families call panicked to support their loved ones when no preplanning has been done.
No one wants to anticipate these scenarios, but preplanning can go a long way to alleviate the sudden emergency situation.
The Study Also Indicated That The Vast Majority Of Seniors Do Not Want To Be A Burden To Their Families.
Frequently the Seniors who say they won’t ever need care also say that will not be a burden to their families. It is a rare situation where families can provide all the care needed to keep a loved one in their own home. Younger generations may want to support their Elders, but the stress of caring for their own children, work, and their home plus meeting the needs of the elders is overwhelming.
The routine of doctor’s appointments, preparing food, cleaning, home maintenance, laundry, shopping is a tremendous burden.
This myth is particularly challenging to handle.
This myth is incredibly difficult to expose because it is based on the belief that an individual will decline. No one wants to believe that, so it takes a serious reality check. It means looking at the facts and preplanning for the what-ifs.
Age Wise, a research company, found there were five common myths among the 65 and older population concerning moving to a senior living community. We are debunking each myth over the course of a couple of weeks. This week’s myth is “Senior Living is Too Expensive.”
Myth #3: Senior Living Is Too Expensive
The third myth identified by Age Wave, the research and consulting company that studied the 65+ age group perceptions of Senior Living, is, “It is less expensive for me to stay in my home.”
In today’s financial world, dealing with real-estate is particularly confusing. Most Seniors have lived through a lifetime of accelerating property values. It is considered a core value of life to own a home AND to pay off the mortgage.
Homeownership comes with many joys and burdens. About the time the mortgage is paid off, it’s time for a major remodel, paint job, or a new roof. Continued upkeep is vital to maintain the property value.
For older people, it becomes more challenging to manage the upkeep, including the exterior and landscaping. The value of the property may be deteriorating even in the best market.
Is Owning A Home Really Less Expensive Than Living In A Retirement Community?
Consider that the following expenses that may be associated with staying in your own home. Even if it is paid for and there is no mortgage, there are annual expenses that continue year after year. Mortgage lenders remind homebuyers that in all, the hidden costs of owning a home run about $11,000 a year for the average homeowner.
- property tax
- maintenance and repairs
- appliance upgrades
- security system
- lawn care and landscaping
- exercise and health equipment
- groceries for meals
This would not include significant maintenance issues like a new roof or kitchen or bathroom remodels. These expenses would be ongoing if a person stayed healthy and independent.
If The Time Comes Where Extra Healthcare Support Is Needed Even In The Home, The Price Increases Dramatically.
Hiring caregivers or private duty to come into you home averages $22 per hour with a typical minimum of 3 hours a day. That could quickly run $800 to $1000 a month. All the while, you are paying the home expenses.
The national median cost for Assisted Living is approximately $4000 a month, which breaks down to $133 per day or $48,000 per year. This living arrangement would include all of the normal home expenses, including all meals and 24/7 medical staff in case of emergencies.
Suddenly The Difference Between Living In Your Home With Hired Care And Moving To An Assisted Living Community Is Very Comparable.
Worries about home maintenance are eliminated, and there is more time to enjoy family and new friends.
To be absolutely sure of the finances, an individual or family member should create a balance sheet putting all current expenses living at home and expenses living in a community. That would help clarify the issue.
Many Seniors Live On A Fixed Income.
Because many Seniors live on a combination of Social Security, pensions, retirement funds, equity derived from the sale of real estate, it is comforting to know that there will be no major surprises in homeownership for the future. Being able to forecast expenses is very comforting. And what is peace of mind worth? Priceless!
Research company Age Wave surveyed the thoughts and perceptions of the 65+ population concerning Senior Living and found there were five myths that prevailed among this age group.
Over the next few weeks, we will look at these five myths through the lens of those Elders that are actually living in Senior Living communities.
Myth #2: I Will Miss My Friends
The second myth identified by Age Wave, the research and consulting company that studied the 65+ age group perceptions of Senior Living is, “My current home is the best option to continue an active social life and stay connected with friends.”
A dramatic story that exemplifies this situation is a recent story of a 90-year-old woman who became so isolated that she became an easy target of a scam that cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This is a topic that is all too common these days. When individuals are home for long periods of time and the phone rings, they are happy to have lengthy conversations with someone pretending to be friendly. Scammers know how to weasel their way into private information and bank accounts!
Having an active daily social life can avoid these long down periods.
It Is A Fact That Social Connections Can Help You Live A Longer, Happier, And Healthier Life.
In 2010, Forbes.com published a study showing that having low social interaction is as bad for your health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day, as dangerous as being an alcoholic, or never exercising, and twice as dangerous as being obese.
As you plan your future, making sure that you do not become isolated is a primary key to good health. The growing research puts a real emphasis on engagement with others. Even for someone considered themselves to be an introvert needs human interaction.
Living in a Senior Living Community provides constant opportunities to socialize. There were three misconceptions unearthed by the survey:
- “I won’t fit in or make new friends if I move.”
- “I will lose connections with family and friends.”
- “I won’t have privacy when I want it in a Senior Living Community.
Making New Friends Is Easier Than You Think.
There are lots of positive, stimulating, like-minded people living in retirement communities. Daily activities are scheduled so that residents can select from a list of programs where they will have a chance to meet new friends that enjoy the same activity. Whether it is card games, exercise class, book club, or some other activity, there will be friends waiting. There is a niche for everyone.
An interesting phenomenon is that when families introduce their loved one to a community, they may say, “Mom is pretty quiet and usually stays to herself these days.” After move-in, the report changes dramatically. The resident becomes a social butterfly and enjoys multiple daily activities. It wasn’t that Mom didn’t care for those things; they were just not easily accessible.
Family And Friends Visit Residents More Often Than They Visited Them At Home, Especially When Invited To Share A Meal.
So often, families spend their visiting time doing home maintenance when Elders are living at home. When living in a community, all of those things are done by staff. Instead of family members being caregivers, they can relax and be family. This makes for a much more meaningful and enjoyable visit.
Privacy Is Always Available.
Each resident has their private quarters with their favorite things around them. Having personal space and public space allows for a balance that fits the individual. It really is the best of both worlds.
Certain Myths Or Misconceptions Concerning Senior Living Have Continued To Be Firmly Held.
There are five myths that need to be approached with an open mind. Research done among Senior Citizens shows that these often stated “facts” are not necessarily factual. Over the next few weeks, we will look at these five myths through the lens of those Elders who are actually living in Senior Living communities.
To Start, It Is Essential To Understand That There Are Multiple Categories Of Senior Living In Kansas City And Around The Country.
- 55+ communities are popping up around the country. These are not traditionally called Senior Living, but it is more of an age designed community that serves older people who want their living situation to be maintenance-free and centered around socialization and activities. These communities would not typically have any additional services available.
- There are Independent Living communities, where people are living in a community where amenities are offered à la carte. You might pay rent for housing (or, in some cases, a buy-in purchase) and choose what additional services you are interested in from a menu of items. There may be dining services, housekeeping, transportation, maintenance, and other conveniences available. Residing in an Independent Living facility would include socialization and group activities.
- There are also communities that provide everything that Independent Living does, but with onsite healthcare support. Typically this is called Assisted Living. A resident would enjoy all meals, housekeeping, and maintenance, plus whatever medical support that’s needed.
- As an adjunct to Assisted Living is the specialty services of Memory Support. In Memory Care, residents live in a secured space, receive all the healthcare services they need as well as extra supervision, and participate in activities tailored to dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- At the next level, commonly called Nursing Home Care or Skilled Care, residents need a lot of support with their daily activities. This would include personal hygiene care, medication management, ambulation services, and a host of other services. This would be the highest level of care one would need.
- Some communities that have all levels of care that are considered Continuing Care Retirement Communities or CCRC. These communities typically cover a campus with multiple buildings where all levels are available.
Age Wave, A Research And Consulting Company, Surveyed The Thoughts And Perceptions Of The 65+ Population Concerning Senior Living.
They learned five myths that prevailed among this age group. Starting this week and in the following weeks, we will address each of these myths with the realities of today’s Senior Living. Age Wave discovered a dramatic difference between perception and fact.
Myth #1: “My Current Home Will Be The Best Possible Place To Live In Retirement Years.”
Nine out of ten Seniors who were surveyed believed that the best option was to stay put in their homes during retirement. The reality is that, throughout life, people choose different types of homes to meet their evolving lifestyles. From your parents’ home to college dormitories, to smaller apartments during singlehood, to large family homes, people repeatedly move to new homes that provide the best amenities for each stage of life. The current stage of life is no different.
The belief behind the myth is that Seniors think they have more freedom and a sense of purpose when residing in their homes. Some may think there are too many restrictions in Senior Living. In truth, there is complete freedom to come and go, to engage or not engage. If you went to church, grocery store, shopping, movies, or the symphony before, you can continue those activities when living in a community.
A Purposeful Life During Retirement
When living alone in your own home, television may become the primary source of daily activity. And it is not a good substitute for healthy social interaction. It makes no difference if you are entirely independent or in need of support for the activities of daily living; socialization is necessary for the quality of life.
The statistics are revealing. The study showed that this age group spent an average of 2 hours and 48 minutes per day doing household work in their home as opposed to 1 hour for those living in a Senior Living apartment.
At home, they spent an average of 35 minutes per day socializing, and in Senior Living, they spent more than 3 hours. At home, Seniors spent 1 minute on educational activities, and in the Senior Living, they spent on average 2 hours per day!
The facts indicate that there is much more time to pursue a purposeful life when living in a Retirement Community.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added additional complexity in the decision making to move a loved one to senior care. In regular times the choice is difficult for families and Seniors to make. The issue of moving out of your home to a community for additional medical support is only one part of the dilemma. The typical list of questions might consist of:
- Is the time right for getting more help?
- Can Dad live safely in his own home?
- Is Mom getting enough socialization?
- What are the risk factors of living alone?
- Is Dad able to keep up the maintenance of his home, and is that dangerous?
- Is Dad eating nutritious meals?
- Is Mom lonely?
There is a pattern to all of this that seems very typical. Millions of families face this every year as they consider the health and happiness of their loved ones. These are tough decisions and require time and attention for everyone. It can be very stressful.
The Pandemic Has Added So Many Additional Complications.
The fear that surrounds the additional risks of Senior Living is real. Many communities have experienced illness among residents and staff. Families have many more questions concerning the safety of their loved ones when it comes to moving.
It Is Not Unlike What Families Are Dealing With Concerning Sending Kids To School.
The questions are similar:
- How can I move my Mom safely at this time?
- How can we minimize the risks?
- Should Dad just stay home?
- What are the protocols to keep everyone safe?
- Is the benefit of socialization and support worth the risk of moving at the time?
- Is it better for Dad to be home alone or move where he can have interactions with other people?
- How will I feel if I cannot go and visit my family member?
Each Senior Living Community In Kansas City Has Procedures In Place.
These concerns should be directed at each separate community for clarification. State and federal rules and regulations mandate communities, but in addition, individual Assisted Livings and Care Facilities to have unique protocols. Some communities are limited by the physical structure of their facility.
During this unusual time, onsite tours are not allowed, but many communities are making virtual tours a reality. Family conferences can be accomplished through Zoom meetings.
The Piper Assisted Living in Kansas City, with its unique small household model, can minimize risk to larger groups. Community space is large enough to accommodate social distancing while providing a more intimate homelike experience.
In addition, private isolation apartments are available for new residents to be separated for a 14 day isolation time before moving to their individual apartment. All of these precautions are put in place to keep residents safe while receiving all of the medical support they need. These are necessary steps for the health of everyone. Staff and administrators are tested on a regular basis, and safety protocols are followed daily.
Even Though The Decision Making May Be Difficult, Most Elders Adjust To Senior Care Successfully.
The benefits often outweigh the negatives. And many of the fears during the decision-making process dissolve after a time of adjustment to senior care. So many Seniors enjoy the newfound social life and diverse activities that exist in Senior care. They may have the opportunity to return to activities that had been lost because of living alone like card and game playing. Some will engage in new hobbies and interests.
Most importantly is the occasion for new friendships and shared experience with one’s peer group. Shared mealtime can become a real treasure again.
There is nothing easy about this whole process, but everyone is pulling together to find answers and make the best out of a difficult time. The staff and administration are continually creating innovative ways to overcome problems. Sometimes multiple attempts must be made until the best answers become apparent. Everyone is on a steep learning curve.
There Are Many Reasons To Believe That Once Some Kind Of Normalcy Has Come About, That Senior Living Will Have Experienced Improvement.
A new sensitivity to the needs of Elders is surfacing, and the desire for ‘home’ to be real and not an institution is more apparent. The human touch will be more profoundly acknowledged as a key to health and happiness. This population has become the focus of the devastation of this pandemic, but it also highlights the responsibility of our culture to honor and protect our Elders. It is imperative that everyone involved must capture the lessons learned and never return to taking things for granted again.