By Mystique Macomber
Special to the City Times
Assisted living is one of those things you only learn about when you need it. Until or unless someone needs care, it’s not something most people think about.
That means there is lots of room for misinformation, mistakes and myths about assisted living. Read on to learn the truth instead.
Myth: I only need assisted living if I have dementia.
Truth: Assisted living is available for a variety of people of all abilities and ages. While some assisted living communities specialize in memory care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, others are more general in the clients they serve. Assisted living is designed for anyone who needs some help or care – even if it’s occasionally. Caregivers at assisted living communities can help with all activities of daily living, including getting up in the morning, getting dressed, bathing, hair care, shaving, giving medications, getting meals and more.
Assisted living communities provide care to people who are: frail, elderly, recovering from an illness or injury or have a permanent disability because of illness or injury, unable to live safely at home, showing signs or dementia or have been diagnosed with dementia, desiring a safe and social place to live and looking to the future when they might need more care.
Myth: I could never afford assisted living.
Truth: Average assisted living in Wisconsin costs between $3,000 and $6,000 a month. That might sound like a lot, but think about all of your monthly and annual expenses: rent or mortgage, utilities (gas, electric, sewer, water, garbage), maintenance and upkeep, snow removal, yard work, taxes, insurance, three meals a day plus snacks, cable TV, Internet, housekeeping, entertainment, classes and activities. How much does that cost on an annual basis and then broken down to a monthly cost? You might find that assisted living isn’t much more than you already are paying. Plus you have the peace of mind knowing there is caregiving staff available 24 hours a day when you need it.
Myth: I would never feel at home in assisted living.
Truth: While assisted living isn’t for everyone, many people find the peace of mind and sense of security at assisted living puts them at ease.
Assisted living communities can include facilities with private or semi-private rooms or apartments. Living in your own private apartment with your own furnishings can help make assisted living feel like home. Inviting common areas where you can gather with friends and family expand your living space as well, and the social aspect of assisted living shouldn’t be overlooked.
Myth: All assisted living is the same.
Truth: Each assisted living community is unique. They serve different clients with different needs. They take different approaches to serving their residents. They have different building types, different amenities and different employees. When choosing assisted living, it’s important to visit and take a tour to help you know if it’s a good fit for you.
Myth: Assisted living is another name for a nursing home.
Truth: Nursing homes provide skilled nursing care to residents. If you need a registered nurse or doctor to provide your care, you will need to go to a nursing home. Assisted living communities are a good choice when you need help with daily living tasks. Staff members at assisted living communities also can administer medications, help with catheter care and mechanical lifts and provide some other types of care if delegated by a nurse.
Myth: Resort-style assisted living is only for active people. I use a wheelchair or walker, so I couldn’t live there.
Truth: Assisted living is designed for people who need some assistance to live. Just because you use an assistive device doesn’t mean it’s not for you – it’s exactly for you! It’s also for people who can walk without assistance or use a cane.
You also can be active in other ways, too. You should challenge your brain every day with some activity. You should be socially active every day, talking with people and engaging in your community. People who don’t stay active will decline – physically, mentally and socially. Assisted living communities are the perfect place to stay active in all these ways.
Myth: I wouldn’t like living anywhere but home.
Truth: This is a trickier one. The truth is, for some people, there is no place like home. But if the time comes when you need assistance to live safely, you might find you really like your new home. Assisted living communities are designed to make you feel at home – with your own private apartment, full kitchen, furnishings, friends and family visiting. You might like it so much that you wish you’d moved to assisted living sooner.
For more information please contact Mystique Macomber, Community Relations Director, Hilltop Affiliates Inc., Assisted Living, 715-423-7400, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org