When we think of senior care in America, many of us might conjure up images of sterile, lonely nursing homes, where elderly folks sit listlessly in wheelchairs with nothing to do.
But as with many stereotypes, these images only tell a small part of the story. Having a conversation about what senior care actually is, and what it actually looks like, is so important.
Let’s take a closer look as we reframe what senior care actually is in 2023 and beyond.
First and foremost, understand that there are a variety of different types of senior living options available. While nursing homes do exist and can be a great option, they are far from the only option for older adults who need assistance. Some may choose to move to retirement communities, which offer independent living apartments as well as a range of amenities. Others might opt for assisted living communities, which provide help with daily activities like bathing and medication management. Included in these types of senior living arrangements are a wide variety of activities and social events for residents.
A final stereotype is that once you move into a senior care facility, you may lose independence and freedom. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Many seniors find that moving into a care community actually gives them more freedom than living at home. With all of their daily needs taken care of, and like-minded peers living nearby, they have more time to pursue their hobbies and socialize with friends and family.
It is important to approach the senior care conversation at the right time. Select a time when everyone is comfortable and relaxed. Natural conversation starters such as recent news articles or reports about assisted living communities can be used to initiate the discussion.
Do not rush the conversation. Let your family members express their opinions, answer their questions, and take your time. Share your experiences or those of others who have had positive experiences with senior care communities to ease any feelings of anxiety.
Approaching the senior care conversation with empathy can go a long way in easing the discussion. Talking about assisted living communities in a positive light can also be helpful. Show your senior family member that you care about them; mention how you’re concerned about their welfare and health. By demonstrating how much you care, you are building a bridge of trust and hope. Listening to your family member’s needs, thoughts, and fears is an important aspect of having the senior care conversation. This knowledge will also help you find the right community for your loved one.
By taking the time to learn about the various types of care available, the quality of care provided by professionals, and the experiences of seniors themselves, we can gain a more accurate and compassionate view of aging.
Still not sure what to think? Contact a community near you to further the conversation. We want to make sure you understand all that senior living offers and ensure that our communities are right for you and your family.
We’re all in this together and ultimately, by breaking free from our stereotypes, we can build a society that truly honors and supports our loved ones.