Understanding and Empathizing with Older Adults’ Fears about Assisted Living

Sunrise Senior Living  |  May 22, 2019
Understanding and Empathizing with Older Adults' Fears about Assisted Living
Share

Assisted living communities offer a wide range of services and amenities designed to promote quality of life and independence. Yet many seniors delay making this move.

Older adults who have recently made the transition, however, are likely to tell you they wish they moved years ago.

Fear holds many people back. For some it is fear of the unknown. They don’t have any close friends or loved ones who have moved to an assisted living community, so they don’t know what to expect.

There are other common fears that might prevent a senior from moving. Here are a few to discuss with your loved one.

4 Reasons Seniors Fear Moving to Assisted Living

  1. Being forgotten: When an older adult lives in their own home, it is fairly common for loved ones and friends to visit frequently. Some help with errands and transportation, while others might stop by to assist with household chores. The senior might worry that they will be lonely and forgotten if they move to an assisted living community. Reassuring your older loved one that family will visit can help. You can even set up a visitors’ calendar to make sure they have company on a regular basis.
  2. Cost of assisted living: This generation of seniors tends to frugal. While assisted living offers older adults a good overall value, the costs can initially overwhelm a thrifty older adult. It may help if you work with the senior to compare the costs of living at home—insurance, transportation, groceries, utilities, and more—with the cost of assisted living. It will become more apparent that assisted living is a cost-effective solution. Depending on the senior’s personal situation, there are financial resources that may help with expenses. Long-term care insurance, life settlement funds, veterans’ benefits, and Medicaid are just a few.
  3. Loss of independence: A leading reason seniors fear moving to an assisted living community is they mistakenly believe they will lose their independence and maybe even their privacy. The truth is assisted living communities combine support with independence. With their own private apartment or suite, residents are free to come and go as they like. They can also decide which household chores they want assistance with and which they’d like to do themselves.
  4. Forced participation: Another popular myth about assisted living is that residents are forced to participate in daily community activities. While assisted living communities offer many life enrichment programs, residents aren’t required to participate. Residents can choose what they want to do each day.

Moving can be difficult at any age. For a senior who has lived in their home for decades, the emotional impact of parting with their house can be significant. Helping your loved one work through their fears and emotions requires you to be an empathetic listener.

Visit a Sunrise Senior Living Community

One way to help an older adult overcome their fears about moving to assisted living is by visiting a community in person. The senior can spend a day meeting residents, participating in activities, and enjoying a meal.

Another option is to take advantage of a short-term respite stay program. This allows the older adult to give the community a trial run. Call us today at 888-434-4648 to learn more!