In our last blog, Five Myths about Senior Living, we discussed levels of care in Senior Living, including Independent Living, Assisted Living, Home Health, Memory Care, and Long Term Care or Nursing Home Care. At McCrite Plaza, each level of care is designed to meet the specific needs of individual residents in a progressive way. We also spoke about the first of the common myths.
After clearing up the confusion about levels of care options, we can answer the questions surrounding these most common myths.
Age Wave, a research and consulting company, surveyed the thoughts and perceptions of the 65+ population concerning various forms of Senior Care. Five myths prevailed among this age group. Age Wave discovered a dramatic difference between perception and fact. Age Wave pointed out that the misunderstanding and mythology surrounding Senior Care created so many misconceptions.
The five myths that prevailed among this age group were:
1. “My current home will be the best possible place to live in retirement years.”
2. “I will stay more active if I stay in my own home.”
3. “It is less expensive for me to stay in my home.”
4. “I can easily get the care I need in my own home.”
5. “Retirement Communities are filled with old people who are sick and dying.”
Myth number 2: “I will stay more active if I stay in my own home.” Is it true?
This myth is partially true because social connections can help you live a longer, happier, and healthier life. But it is not a fact that staying in your own home will facilitate maintaining and growing your social 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. So obviously, having easy access to neighbors, friends, and family is critically important!
A recent article from the CDC titled, Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions says, “Social isolation was associated with about a 50% increased risk of dementia and other serious medical conditions. Loneliness and social isolation in older adults are serious public health risks affecting a significant number of people in the United States and putting them at risk for dementia and other serious medical conditions.”
Isolation is the number one health risk of older adults.
Being in your home alone can cause dementia, depression, isolation, medication errors, susceptibility to scammers, and many other issues. It’s important to weigh these factors:
- How long will you be able to drive?
- Do you have a social group in your own neighborhood?
- Is your neighborhood safe?
- Do you have friends and family that will visit frequently?
- Do you have easy access to healthy food choices?
- Can you stay connected with church groups and other social networks like a senior center?
- Do you have access to transportation?
- Are you outliving your friends and family members?
All of these issues can become detrimental to your health. And all of these issues can be solved when living in a Senior Living Community.
Susan lived all her life in the family homestead in a rural area. Five generations of her family had lived in the same home. Although she was busy caring for her home, she became increasingly isolated from friends, and her neighbors were moving away. She had children, but none of them wanted the farm, and when they came to visit her, they spent their time doing chores and upkeep on the house and outbuildings. So she decided to build a new life in her independent apartment. She brought her treasures and all of her memories with her. She became active in all the activities offered, including exercise classes, crafts, and outings on the McCrite bus. She made dozens of new friends that shared meals, movies, books, and conversations over coffee. And when her family came to visit, they didn’t have chores to do!
Planning for a healthy future includes making sure you can maintain an active social life. The growing research puts a real emphasis on engagement with others, even for someone who considers themselves to be an introvert.
Living in a Senior Living Community provides endless opportunities to socialize.
There were three misconceptions unearthed by the survey:
1. “I won’t fit in or make new friends if I move.”
2. “I will lose connections with family and friends.”
3. “I won’t have privacy when I want it in a Senior Living Community.
Making new friends is easier than you think.
The fact is that there are lots of positive, stimulating, like-minded people living in retirement communities. Daily activities are scheduled so residents can select from a list of programs where they will have a chance to meet new friends who enjoy the same activity. Whether it is card games, fishing, exercise class, or a book club, there will be friends waiting. There is a niche for everyone.
An interesting phenomenon is that when families introduce their loved ones to a community, they may say, “Mom is pretty quiet and usually stays to herself these days.” But, 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.
When Carolyn moved into McCrite Plaza Independent Living, her family warned the staff that she wouldn’t care for much social interaction. They even made plans for mom to receive her meals in the privacy of her own apartment, thinking she would prefer that. Little did they understand that Mom had become a loner because she lived as a widow for ten years and was completely isolated. She had adjusted to that situation and spent most of her time watching her favorite TV shows. But when she moved into McCrite Plaza, she blossomed into a delightful social individual. Carolyn loved joining her new girlfriends for lunch daily and many other activities.
Family and friends visit residents more often than when they lived 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.
Privacy is always available.
The issue of privacy is extremely important. There is always a balance between social time and quiet time. Each resident has a lovely apartment to retreat to. Their private quarters represent all that is personal. Everyone can have their favorite books, collectibles, and, most importantly, their favorite lounge chair. Having your own television gives complete control to each individual to watch what they choose. Having personal and public spaces allows for a balance that fits the individual. It really is the best of both worlds.
Come for a visit.
The best way to dispel misconceptions is to come for a visit and see for yourself. Have lunch in the spacious dining room and meet other residents. It is important to meet the staff but just as important to meet some of the people who call McCrite Plaza home. Give us a call and plan your tour today!