As Marketing Coordinator for one of the top-rated retirement communities in the area, I meet a lot of people. I hear a lot of things. I surprise a lot of people.
You see, when people reach out to me for information or a tour, most have a completely different picture in their mind. When I meet new folks in my personal life and am chatting about what I do for a living, I can almost see the wrong idea pop into their head. A lot of what I do is help people understand that retirement communities, and more specifically Assisted Living, are very different from what most imagine them to be.
Curious? Keep reading to discover what I’ve found to be the most common misconceptions about Assisted Living.
It’s A Nursing Home
By definition, it’s not. In fact, if Assisted Living residents become bedbound, need 24-hour medical supervision, or meet other high-level-of-care criteria, Assisted Living isn’t a safe fit anymore, and we help find a nursing home or a facility with the level of care they need.
You Give Up All Your Freedom
Our Assisted Living unit isn’t locked 24/7. You don’t need a code to get in and out. You can come and go as you please, have a space for your car in our underground parking garage, schedule a personal ride in our van, participate in as many of our widely-varying activities as you wish, and not be bothered in your apartment if you want some privacy.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given tours of our community and had visitors mention how fresh it smells. That’s fresh and clean, not bleached and medicinal.
It’s Dark, Cramped and Depressing
Visitors touring our community also consistently comment on how wide and nicely lit the hallways are, how much light our big windows let in, and how everything is bright and cheery, from the art on the walls to the fresh flowers on the tables.
People Just Sit Around And Do Nothing
Our Assisted Living residents are extremely active, enjoying a variety of activities like fitness classes, water aerobics, crafting, art projects, card games, movies, guest lectures, musical entertainment, field trips and more. The activity calendar is always changing based on what our current residents are actually interested in doing.
You Have To Share A Room
All of our apartments are private, have their own bathroom and kitchenette, and our floor plans range from cozy studios to two-bedroom suites perfect for couples.
You Have To Give Up Your Pets
We love pets! Some of our staff even get to bring theirs to work on occasion. As long as you can care for your dog or cat, they are very welcome to come along!
You’ll Never Need It
You never know what the future will bring. Health issues arise unexpectedly and sometimes suddenly. Why not be prepared and ready to embrace the next chapter with a plan and a positive attitude?
There’s Always Availability
Many communities, like ours, have waiting lists. Don’t wait until you ‘need’ it – get all your ducks in a row, just in case. And when something opens up, take it.
Medicaid/Medicare Will Cover It
Many communities, like ours, are private pay, which means we can’t accept vouchers, waivers, or Medicare/Medicaid. Long-term care policies often kick in for Assisted Living, but every policy is different, and it’s worth checking out how much they cover and what their criteria are.
Bottom line, there are a lot of assumptions and misconceptions about Assisted Living and Independent Living communities. Don’t assume you know them all because you’ve seen one (or you saw one 20 years ago). Call them. Talk to an expert. Talk to a resident or family member. And above all else, visit them in person. The right one just might surprise (and delight) you.