Many older people (and their caregivers) who are considering a move to an assisted living community in Cincinnati have no idea what to expect.
Naturally, this leads to some worries and a lot of questions. It can also lead to misconceptions. In this post, we’ll address some of the common myths so that you’ll be better prepared and less concerned when the time comes to make a transition to assisted living.
Myth #1: I won’t have any privacy or autonomy.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Each person has their own space; some assisted living communities even offer prospective residents the option of choosing apartment-style or cottage-style homes.
Within the bounds of your residence, you rule the roost. You’ll have a door that locks and the opportunity to decide when visitors can come over, when you want to get up in the morning, when you want to take meals and when you want to go to bed at night.
Myth #2: I won’t be able to bring my own possessions.
Generally speaking, residents are encouraged to bring their own things—though there might besome space restrictions. As you’ll likely be downsizing, you’ll probably have to make some tough decisions about what you will or will not bring.
Naturally, you’ll want to bring the things that you really need or that carry deep personal significance or sentimental value. You can bring important keepsakes, family photos, jewelry, favorite outfits and electronics— everything you’d normally want at home. But, realistically, you’ll want to pare things down as your new space will likely be smaller or have less storage room than your previous home.
Things that are unneeded or unimportant to you can always be sold, given to family members or friends, or donated. A little extra money in your pocket after a moving sale, or a nice tax break for donating many items, is a nice reward for shedding unnecessary items.
Myth #3: I’m going there to die.
Absolutely not! Assisted living is not a hospice, an acute care hospital, or even a traditional “nursing home.”
“Assisted living” means just that: a retirement community that provides residents assistance with daily tasks, up to the level that the residents need it. They do provide wellness checks and medication compliance monitoring, but they don’t provide advanced medical intervention.
It’s more appropriate to think of assisted living as one step along a continuum of senior care, providing the support and physical help a person needs when they can no longer live safely as an independent. But it is certainly not a one-way street.
Residents can move back and forth along the continuum of care. You might, for example, temporarily go into assisted living while recovering from a major illness, injury, or surgery, then go home. Or you might leave your home for a semi-permanent placement in assisted living and live there, happy and healthily, for years before needing more advanced care.
Myth #4: Spouses cannot live together in assisted living.
Again, patently false. Many aging couples live together in retirement communities after one or both begin to need day-to-day physical support.
Sometimes, one spouse needs more care than the other; in many cases, retirement communities meet their needs by offering wings or units that provide differing levels of care on the same site.
One spouse may reside in the assisted living unit of the community, while the other resides in the nursing unit. Though they may not live in the same room or apartment, they are not separated by long distances and can see each other every day.
Myth #5: The people there are old and sick. I feel alone.
Residents in a retirement community may be older, but they aren’t infirm. And you won’t be lonely if you don’t want to be. There will be plenty of activities, social engagements and opportunities for you to meet people of your own age group.
Many retirement communities encourage residents who have new ideas for activities to share them, too, so if your hobbies or interests aren’t well-represented, you can always organize your own interest group and get to know people who share your passions!
Transition is easier if you stay positive and remain open to change.
Everyone adjusts to changing needs in their own way. You just need to be patient and take things day by day. The staff members, your family and your friends will be more than willing to help you through the transition, to answer your questions and address your concerns. Just be open and honest in your communications.
Don’t believe the myths and keep an open mind; your transition to senior care doesn’t have to be fraught with anxiety.