Let’s face it: Transitions can be challenging. A lot of fear can come up from an elder loved one as they become aware that they need to transition to an assisted living facility (ALF). And spouses or adult child may feel guilt for “putting” their loved one in a place other than remaining at home. Compounding these natural, human emotions and fear of the unknown, are some misconceptions about assisted living communities. Let’s address them.
1. Expense in general. It is important to remember assisted living communities typically offer different residence plans and pricing to meet the varying needs of residents. For example, here are some options that The Peninsula provides. While communities typically accept only private and long-term care insurance, some assisted living communities accept Medicaid or offer other programs to assist residents whose income is below the median. Veterans or their spouse may also be eligible for veteran aid. Exploring the financial options is a service offered by communities’ staffs that are able to point families in the right directions.
2. Home companion vs. assisted living communities. Many people believe that having at-home care is uniformly less expensive than living at a community. However, at $20/hr. for eight hours a day, the cost equates to $4,800 per month. This doesn’t even include the hard costs of living at home, like mortgage/rent, insurance, taxes, utilities and food. The social aspects of an assisted living community are unlimited as there are amenities available.
3. Assisted living is the term for “nursing home.” Not true. Assisted living communities have evolved over the past couple of decades to meet the needs of a population that is living longer, and wants to remain as independent as possible. Communities promote the active lifestyle and independent living that elders want and need, while also providing levels of care. By contrast, nursing homes primarily focus on providing skilled medical care to their residents.
4. Isolation from family, grandchildren, and lifelong friends. With the amenities offered at assisted living community, residents actually have many ways to socialize with their loved ones – they are always welcome. For example, residents can invite friends to dinner, a movie or a game of bridge. And ice cream socials are sure to make grandkids happy!
Remember, finding the right university, a child’s summer camp or the right “neighborhood” requires good research, so does finding the assisted living community that best meets your loved one’s needs and personality. It is possible. Feeling comfortable with the research you’ve done will make the transition easier for everyone. And once your loved one assimilates into their new routine, they may just find joy and friendships that they never anticipated!