Dispelling Myths of Senior Living

Independent Living - the Village at Southlake

The Best is Yet to Come

by Laura Griffith, BSN, RN, MBA; Executive Director, The Village at Southlake 

As a daughter and a nurse, for years I have felt that the best place for my parents as they lose their ability to maintain their home or drive, would be to live with me. Now I realize what a disservice and poor quality of life this would provide for my mother and/or father. They would be alone too often and sit in front of the TV. They would not be motivated to do anything. They would just be waiting…some would say waiting to die.

What would be the best life and environment to ensure a stimulating, engaging, active life where your parents are surrounded by companions with common interests in a safe environment? First let’s dispense with some myths.

Myth: “Senior Living is when I need nursing care.”

Senior living is not just “when you need nursing care”. There are levels or stages to senior living. The first stage is Independent Senior Living. Independent Living Communities offer the best of both worlds. Residents are independent and enjoy numerous diversified, engaging activities while the cares of home maintenance, housekeeping, cooking and multiple bills are taken away. Independent Living does not provide any nursing care to the retirement community.

The second and third levels are Assisted Living and Nursing Homes. Assisted Living provides assistance with activities of daily life while Nursing Homes provide extensive care when someone is unable to properly care for themselves.

So there are three levels or stages of Senior Living. Independent Senior Living can provide an incredibly stimulating environment where residents can come and go as they please. They can drive, work a full time job and hang out with their family if they like. They are Independent.

Myth: “Seniors can’t improve mentally and/or physically.”

Not true! You know the old saying that “if you don’t use it you will lose it”? That is true, but you can reverse the process. The more active you are, the more you stimulate your mind and spirit. You will experience more physical mobility, improved strength, endurance, clarity of mind and positive spirit. Live a lively life.

Myth: “Seniors are just waiting to die.”

This can be true but it’s not necessary to “wait to die”. Not only can you have an active, stimulating, exhilarating life, but you can feel fulfilled and have purpose. A senior living community offers a buffet of talent, experiences and history.

You are needed to share your stories. You can teach other residents or youth your skills and knowledge. You can be a companion and/or look after someone that needs a little assistance. You can share your knowledge, love and time with family. Life isn’t over. It’s what you make of it!

Myth: “Senior Living is not affordable.”

Senior living can be affordable at all levels! Do your research. Gather information from all communities. Review senior living community websites for information, the feel of the community, amenities and activities. Check to see if it is a rental or buy-in.

What is the initial community fee? Compare not just prices but services provided for that price. Are small pets included and is there a pet fee? Are there diverse activities that you have an interest in included in the fee? Is there a pool included? What kind of safety features are included in these services? Are meals and transportation included in the price or are they additional?

If you or your spouse served in the military, the Veterans Department may assist with your monthly living costs at a Senior Living Community. It will take some ground work and your family can help, but you can find an upscale senior living community without the upscale price.

Many communities provide lunch tours and trial stays. This helps to determine if the community is a good fit for your needs, wants and expectations. Residents provide feedback as you visit the community.

What Independent Senior Living can be…

Independent Senior Living can be a safe, maintenance free haven for you to live! You can enjoy freedom and family interaction as much as you like. There is companionship and new friends with common interests. There are new engaging activities to stimulate the mind, body, and spirit. Activities may include water aerobics, a walking club, arts & crafts, live entertainment, poker night, college football games, a women’s tea and much, much more! Join a senior living community for fun, not because you have to “go there”. The best is yet to come!

“Life Lives Better… Let us show you how.”