Talking About Independent Senior Living
If one or both of your aging parents are living in a home that's now too big for them, you may think it's time for them to consider moving to some place smaller and more manageable, maybe even a senior living community. You may have even tried broaching the subject with them but heard responses like "it's too soon for something like that" or "I'm comfortable here" or "that's for old people". The thing is, they're still pretty active and can look after themselves. They don't need help with medications or personal care like you'd find in assisted living. Still, they seem to be "rattling around" in their own home. Keeping up the place is becoming more and more of a chore for them.
Independent Living May Be the Answer
You're wondering whether they'd enjoy life more if they moved to a place where property maintenance was looked after for them, housekeeping services were included, and organized social activities were close at hand. They'd still have their own apartment, complete with a kitchen. But if they decided they didn't want to cook, they could join their neighbors in the dining facilities or a group going to a local restaurant. - That's what independent senior living can be like. - When it's described that way, it sounds pretty appealing, doesn't it? Nonetheless, you're still not sure it will be enough to persuade your parent(s) that moving out of their current home is something worth considering.
Talking About Independent Senior Living
1. Possible payoffs of moving to independent living. Plenty of seniors choose to move to independent living apartments every year, recognizing howit will improve their lifestyle. Here's a list of reasons why people move. Maybe some of them will resonate with your parent(s).
They're tired of all the work involved in maintaining current home
They lost their spouse, and their current home feels empty without them
A place without stairs makes more sense for them now
Social programs in a senior living community makes it easier for them to meet new friends and stay active
Proceeds from the sale of their current home will help them fund some of their retirement goals
Downsizing helps them simplify their life and focus on what's really important to them It's an opportunity to move closer to your family and their grandkids
It's an opportunity to move to a new town where the pace of life suits them better
There's peace of mind in having access to a senior living community's health and wellness services should they need them
2. Consider what might be holding them back. Maybe you've tried to sell them on the benefits of independent senior living, but they're still reluctant to consider it. Remember, change is hard. And moving out of a house filled with memories and belongings accumulated over the years may simply be too overwhelming for them to consider. The good news is they don't have to do it all themselves, if they don't want to. If you're willing to help, let them know. There are also a growing number of professionals who focus on helping downsizing seniors, including real estate agents, senior move managers and estate sale companies. If they're concerned about the amount, they'll have to spend to get their current home ready for sale, they may want to consider an as-is home buyer.
3. Mention friends who've already moved to independent senior living. Your parent(s) may still be reluctant to take your advice. But if they were to hear from someone in their social circle who's already moved to independent living and is enjoying life there, that could be a game changer. If you know of such a person, don't be afraid to drop their name into a conversation. "Hey, Mom. I heard so-and-so moved to such-and-such a place…"
4. Give them time to think about it. Remember: you're asking your parent(s) to make a major life decision. If at all possible, give them time to sit with it a while. Avoid nagging them. Don't forget how much you hated it when they nagged you as a kid. More often than not, it probably just made you dig in your heels.
If you're considering a move to a senior living community for you or someone in your family, you may have gotten advice from different people, some of it is well-informed and some of it is simply hearsay. You likely have your own opinions as well. So, how can you sort through what's true and what's a myth? After all, this is a big decision. You want to have the right information.
Here are six senior living myths to watch out for.
Myth #1: Senior living communities are just for older people who need care.
Sometimes people assume that the terms retirement home and nursing home are interchangeable. That's simply not true. Very often, people don't move to a senior living community because they need care. Instead, they've decided that staying in their current home has become a hassle, and they want to free uptime to pursue leisure activities, personal interests, and new friendships. In other words, they're choosing a better lifestyle. And yes, they can get help with personal care in a senior living community if they need it. But they certainly don't require the around-the-clock attention that nursing home residents do. Nursing Home Care by definition is twenty-four hour care.
Myth #2: When you move to a senior living community, you give up your independence.
Some people worry that moving to a senior living community will mean having to live by a set schedule. In fact, residents have a tremendous amount of choice. There's a wide array of outings, activities, dining options, and social opportunities to choose from. Instead of being locked into a daily routine determined by someone else, community members set their own course, trying as many new things and discovering as many new interests as they like.
Myth #3: There's no privacy.
You can spend as little, or as much time with other people as you'd like each day. You can enjoy the whole day reading in your comfortable private apartment if you wish. And when you feel like socializing, all you have to do is step out your door. You decide how to spend your time and who to spend it with.
Myth #4: The food in senior living communities leaves much to be desired.
If you're expecting institutional food in senior living, think again. Communities understand just how important good food is to everyone and so most put a huge emphasis on creating a great dining experience. At many communities, meals are prepared by skilled chefs using fresh, nutritious ingredients. Snacks and beverages are provided throughout the day.
Myth #5: Senior living is a lot more expensive than continuing to live in your own home.
It's easy to jump to this conclusion, particularly if you don't factor in how much it's truly costing you to stay in your current home. Don't forget that once you move into a senior living community you won't have to pay for things like property tax and ongoing maintenance. At Lake Sherwood Village, your food expense will be included in your monthly fee. And don't forget that if you're selling your current home, a portion of the proceeds can go to some of your living expenses. Once you factor in everything, you may be surprised just how affordable senior living is. In fact, you may find that it's actually cheaper than living in your current home.
Myth #6: I should wait until I need care before considering senior living.
You may be thinking this if you still believe that senior living is for people who need care (see Myth #1). But remember, many people decide to move because they want to free themselves from household chores and more actively pursue leisure activities, personal interests, and new friendships. Moving to a senior living community can mean a better better quality of life. The other thing to consider is that moving is going to be a lot more difficult for you if you wait until your health deteriorates. At that point, you may find yourself rushed into making a decision about where to live. And sorting through all your belongings may require more physical and emotional energy than you have. Even if you don't feel like you're ready to move now, it's probably a good idea to at least begin exploring senior living options.