Currently, an estimated 46 million Americans are in the bracket of 65 or older, a demographic that’s projected to more than double in the next 40 years, based on data from the Population Reference Bureau. Since people now tend to live longer than ever before, it also stands to reason that more access to the resources of quality assisted living care will be needed to support them in later stages of life. However, there are many assisted living myths that can deter public perception.
Senior adults—and sometimes, their caretakers—still remain hesitant to explore assisted living communities. This is due, in part, to the misconceptions entrenched in the public consciousness about what assisted living is, the purpose behind it and how it can impact the welfare of people as they age. Below, we use data and evidence to debunk four common assisted living myths.
Read on to understand why assisted living is, in fact, a viable option for you or a loved one who is still independent but requires some additional care in the aging process.
Myth #1: Assisted Living Is the Same as a Nursing Home
These terms are often viewed as interchangeable. In reality, assisted living communities serve an entirely different function than nursing homes do. While both are residential, nursing homes cater to people who need constant medical attention and supervision. Alternatively, assisted living empowers residents to maintain their own self-care and participate in daily routines.
In most cases, an assisted living community does offer a clinic onsite. However, the main focus is to help but still allow privacy. Assisted living communities also aim to encourage independence and create a sense of community through:
- Social activities
- Health and fitness classes
- Recreational hobbies
- Mindfulness practices
- Shared meals
- Other amenities that build connection and satisfaction
Myth #2: Assisted Living Is Too Expensive to Be Practical
The median expense for an assisted living facility is $4,000 per month ($48,000 per year), estimates the National Center for Assisted Living. Initially, this can seem unfeasible. However, once you factor in the various benefits included in the total price, it’s often more affordable than at-home care. The cost of assisted living comprises all entertainment, meals, housing, and physical or occupational therapies. Remember that Medicare also offsets any medical needs.
In addition, if you have a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, this can cover assisted living expenses. Which means you or a family member will not pay the entire cost out-of-pocket.
At Vineyard Bluffton, we offer financial planning assistance, as well as pricing options customized to the care and assistance you need. We also proudly participate in the Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance Pension (A&A Program).
Myth #3: Assisted Living Chains Offer the Most Ideal Care
In some cases, the mainstream assisted living companies do provide excellent care. But when you choose a facility based on name recognition alone, you could be subject to overpriced rates and generic, impersonal treatment. For this reason, it’s essential to conduct thorough research before you make a decision. Check for transparency in the institution’s online records.
- Does it have an updated and valid state license?
- Has it passed agency inspections?
- Is there a history of lodged complaints or violations?
The Better Business Bureau can help you search for this information, and keep in mind that, while it might not have the same reputation as the large facilities, a smaller “boutique” model of assisted living can offer the personalized, experiential care that you want in this next stage of life.
Myth #4: Assisted Living Means a Loss of Independence
A common assisted living myth is that older adults will lose their independence. When in reality, they’ll gain much more than they give up. Assisted living doesn’t take away your freedom; it simply offers hands-on help to make your life easier. What’s more, in a dynamic community, residents have a much richer experience via amenities and programming, compared to living alone. In fact, assisted living might provide even more freedom to explore new opportunities.
Don’t Believe Assisted Living Myths
More than 800,000 Americans reside in some form of assisted living, according to recent reports. That is a major segment of the country’s older adult population who chose to live in that environment. Moreover, what these people know firsthand is that assisted living myths are just that—inaccurate, misconstrued, and not a true representation of their experiences. So before you dismiss the notion of assisted living, visit a community and make an informed decision for yourself.
Vineyard Bluffton offers daily tours, contact your nearest Vineyard community today to find out what it means to Live Life, Your Way.