The advent of the Coronavirus pandemic has generated or enhanced several myths about Assisted Living that need to be corrected. Some of these have been around for a while but they have become more prevalent of late.
Myth: Assisted Living Communities and Nursing Homes are the same
Truth: Assisted Living has larger apartments, more amenities and more services
Many seniors and even their children do not have a positive image of Nursing Homes. Many boomers can probably remember their own grandparents being in a Nursing Home when they were kids. So, when seniors say ‘Don’t put me in a Nursing Home’, this resonates with everyone and it is understandable how people have a negative reaction when the topic comes up. Unfortunately, the recent media coverage is lumping both Assisted Living and Nursing Homes into a Long Term Care bucket so they get mixed together. Assisted Living communities can provide a much higher level of care than people realize, are considerably less expensive than Nursing Homes while providing significantly more ‘Living’ for their residents.
Myth: Assisted Living is the ‘Lonely Widow in the Window’
Truth: Grandma’s social life might make yours feel boring
Media coverage during COVID isolation has been good about documenting the risk to seniors. It has also shown several clips of family members reading, serenading or playing an instrument outside the window of their loved one’s apartment. While this is incredibly sweet, a recent video from one of our Assisted Living communities showed the residents having fun with their ‘COVID Conga Line’. This was after they played bingo, did crafts together and had their Thai Chi lesson while maintaining social distances. Yes, Assisted Living residents are isolating to their communities and they miss their seeing their loved ones. They also miss trips to the store, lunch outings, visits to the game parks, local wineries etc. But, they have each other. As they say, ‘You couldn’t handle my Grandma’s social life’.
Myth: It is not safe to move into Assisted Living
Truth: For many seniors, Assisted Living is a much safer choice
In many areas Assisted Living Communities are quarantining new residents to their rooms for a period of time. This is for the protection of the current residents and staff. The timeline varies, usually depending on whether or not the community is testing new residents for Coronavirus when they arrive. However, consider the comparison for a single senior living on their own. On one hand, you have someone that would be by themselves most of the day, will have to go get groceries weekly, has little to do during the day and may need to call 911 if they have even a minor medical problem. On the other hand, you would have caregiver visits in your apartment at least half a dozen times a day for meals, medication and more, no need to go get groceries, visits, puzzles and games with the staff all while medical needs are just a button push away. And this is all during the isolation period. Once that is over, even with social distancing in place, there are many options for socialization. In comparison, the second option can be a safer, more enjoyable option for many.
In summary, there are several misconceptions about Assisted Living that are even more prevalent today that people need to understand. At any time, change is hard. While things may be a bit harder today due to the virus, if you or your loved ones need Assisted Living, there is no need to delay.