You’ve probably heard the term “old folks’ home” among many others. There are plenty of negative nicknames for retirement communities, and even more myths about them. We’ve heard them all – and chances are good you’ve heard them, too.
But take a closer look and you’d see the reality: Older adults are moving to active senior living communities to find more freedom, fun, joy and purpose. And that’s the truth!
And contrary to what you might have read in the headlines or seen on the news, living in a retirement community during the current global pandemic may offer you a better quality of life than living in your home.
Take a look at these seven common senior living myths. We’ll debunk them one by one with the facts.
MYTH: There’s no such thing as “active” senior living communities.
THE FACTS: Older adults as young as 55 are moving into retirement communities. They want to give up home ownership headaches and explore more freedom and opportunity. And they want a community that will keep up with them! That’s why you’ll find communities that offer amenities like fitness centers and comprehensive wellness programs, numerous dining choices with flexible menu options, volunteering opportunities on and off campus, educational classes, discussion groups, common spaces like pickleball courts and hiking trails – all of which contribute to a lifestyle that’s as active as you want it to be.
MYTH: Senior living communities are expensive.
THE FACTS: Senior living communities may look expensive – until you consider what you’re paying for. For example, at a Continuing Care Retirement Community, you pay two fees: a partially refundable entrance fee and a monthly service fee.
The entrance fee ensures you have a place to live for life. It covers the cost of living in an independent living residence of your choice, plus some of the costs of higher levels of care if you need it.
Your one monthly fee pays for dining, all maintenance of your residence, most monthly utilities, housekeeping, activities, resident programs, unlimited use of numerous common spaces like a pool and spa, wellness center, art studio, game room and much more. The cost for all this is often the same or less than what you’d pay to receive the same services and care support at home.
Try this helpful affordability calculator to compare your monthly expenses.
MYTH: My home offers me everything independent senior living offers.
THE FACTS: You might benefit from making a comparison worksheet. Because chances are very good your home can’t offer nearly the amount of services and amenities a senior living community will offer you. Nor can your home provide you with a higher level of care, right on site, if you need it.
And something else to consider: Senior living communities provide opportunities for engagement and social interaction. If you live at home alone, you may be more socially isolated than you realize. And according to a report by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, social isolation significantly increases a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
MYTH: There’s no privacy.
THE FACTS: Retirement communities offer fully private residences where you can relax and enjoy your privacy, just as you always have. You can welcome visitors into your home whenever you want – or retreat to your own quiet, personal sanctuary whenever you feel like it. If you want to be around people, just walk out your front door. You’ll have an entire community of neighbors who quickly become friends, and soon feel like family.
MYTH: Senior living communities aren’t safe during COVID-19.
THE FACTS: Residents’ health and safety have always been top priorities for all communities. The pandemic has simply caused communities to proactively implement even more procedures and protocols to ensure the well-being of residents, family members and staff.
Those measures have included restricting visitors, creating socially distant activities, limiting group gatherings, following even more rigorous cleaning and disinfecting regimens, and following all state and local health guidelines. And for priority communities like Viamonte, residents and care staff are currently receiving vaccinations.
MYTH: The food is all low-salt, low-fat and low-taste.
THE FACTS: Nothing could be further from the truth. Many senior living communities have a culinary team on staff, led by a professionally trained chef, who have spent their careers in hospitality, working in some of the finest restaurants and private clubs. A community may boast multiple dining venues on campus, from restaurant-style dining and a bistro to al fresco dining and an outdoor fireside lounge. Residents enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, and can invite friends and family over to dine with them in one of the venues or in a private dining space. And while the menus may have healthy dishes and lighter fare, none are light on taste, flavor or quality.
One more fact: Independent living residences also offer spacious modern kitchens with beautiful appliances. But you may never need to cook another meal in your kitchen again.
MYTH: I’m too young to look at retirement communities.
THE FACTS: Many older adults choose to move into a community so they can fully enjoy all the services and amenities. Yet they’re also choosing to make the move while they’re healthy enough to be in control of their decisions. They don’t want to make a move in a crisis, and they definitely don’t want to leave their health care decisions up to children or other family members.
If you’re ready to see what a senior living community truly has to offer you, learn more about Viamonte. Find more helpful answers by browsing our FAQ section. It’s a great resource to help you separate fact from fiction. Another ideal way to learn more? Call us at 925-621-6600. We’ll answer any questions you still have, and schedule your personal visit to our Preview Center.