Fears about Moving Into a Senior Living Community (And How to Talk About Them)
It’s normal for seniors to be hesitant about moving into a senior living community, whether it’s an assisted or independent living neighborhood. If you and your loved one are currently discussing the possibility of a senior living community, here are some fears they might express having as well as how you could address those fears.
The fear of losing independence: This is a pretty common one, but in reality senior living is meant to make the life of a senior more relaxed, not more restricted. Housekeeping, laundry, and food services can all be provided based on the senior’s wants and needs. Not having to worry about the chores that might already be wearing a senior down will give more time for the activities going on around the community and more time to visit with loved ones.
The fear of losing control over daily activities: This one goes along with the fear of losing independence. Perhaps your loved one thinks that moving to a senior living community means that he or she won’t have a say in the daily schedule. In reality, a senior living community provides options for activities and social interaction but doesn’t force a resident to participate in anything. It simply provides the opportunity, and each resident can decide which activities to go to.
The fear of feeling isolated from friends and family: To a senior, moving to a senior community can feel like being sent away. Make sure you let your loved one know that you still care, definitely plan on visiting, and also that there will be plenty of people to spend time with in their new neighborhood. Senior communities have a lot of options for activities and for spending time with the other residents.
The fear that it will be too expensive: Maybe your loved one is a least a little interested in senior living but doesn’t want to make the move because of the cost. This is something the two of you can work on figuring out together. Make sure you look into all the ways to get financial help, including long-term care insurance and life insurance. If your loved one is a veteran, also check how much aid he or she qualifies for. Seeing that a senior living community is a viable option financially might be exactly what your loved one needs in order to feel comfortable with the possibility of moving.
The fear of dealing with the move itself: It can be a hassle to move to any new location, and it can be especially difficult to do at an older age, when your loved one probably feels very settled in at his or her current living space. Perhaps this has been your loved one’s home for a very long time. Leaving it and certain belongings and memories behind will be hard. Not everything needs to be left behind, though. Help your loved one pack up and go through old things. Perhaps this is even a great time for your loved one to gift some items either to family members, friends, or charities.
Moving into a senior living community can be scary. Make sure this is an on-going conversation, instead of simply deciding for your loved one that this is the best option. Talk about the pros and cons carefully, and make sure your loved one understands that you are more than willing to assist in the move and the transition as needed.