Retirement Home Myths

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For a long time, nursing home was often synonymous with retirement home – a designation that often has negative connotations. However, today’s nursing homes have come along away from the image of a hospital-like setting – with shared rooms and old people in wheelchairs dozing off in front of the television set. Still many myths still linger.  

These myths or misconceptions often come from fears, images in the media, or hearsay. It is important to do your own research – speak to current residents and their families, tour each home, and look online for Medicare ratings. 

It is also important to receive recommendations from the individual’s primary physician and family members when deciding if life in a retirement home is appropriate.

Retirement Home Misconceptions

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Myth 1 - Retirement homes are for ALL elderly individuals.

Retirement homes are not a place for an elderly person to live just when they reach a specific age or because they are living with a chronic disease. There are many factors for the nursing home administration to review when determining if an individual is an appropriate resident.  

Myth 2 - There are no factors that come into consideration when determining if a senior can live in a retirement home.

An important factor is that the individual needs assistance with Activities of Daily Living Services (ADLs). These include help with feeding, homemaking, cleaning, toileting, grooming and dressing.

Myth 3 - There is no socialization in retirement homes.

This is a large misconception. Just because an individual lives in a retirement home doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t still have the need for different types of relationships. It is important to continue to have relationships and contact with your family. At the same time, both friendships including platonic and romantic relationships exist in retirement homes.

Myth 4 - People have no activities in retirement homes and only sleep or watch television.

This is a common misconception of life in a retirement home. It is important to choose a retirement home that encourages a comprehensive activity program. That is why research and visits to retirement homes is important. Attend activities, meet with the activity coordinator, and talk to family members who have loved ones living at the retirement facility. It has been proven that involvement in activities can help reduce depressive symptoms and anxiety for seniors. It is also helpful to find retirement homes that follow person-centered care philosophies that incorporate the interests of your senior loved one into their activity program.

Myth 5 – Retirement homes are only for people who have chronic illnesses.

People who live in retirement homes may have chronic illnesses but they may also have cognitive deficits including dementia and other mental health diagnoses. Some cognitive deficits may accompany a physical illness, like a stroke.

Challenge myths when researching a retirement home for your senior loved one. Do your own research and see if the myth has any credibility. Try to involve your senior loved one in your research and visit if possible. Listen to your loved ones concerns. Myths develop due to fears or long held concerns and should be explored and questioned for your peace of mind.

If you need assistance in finding long-term care for your loved one, Abramson Care Advisors can help. A senior care expert is available to talk, for free, 24/7 at 215-371-3400.