Many modern assisted living facilities are wonderful places to call home. They offer chef prepared meals, usually with a variety of choices available. They also provide transportation, entertainment, plenty of activities, friendships, and a comfortable, safe place to live. Many of them offer private apartments or individual rooms which you can furnish with your own things and decorate as you wish. Even when the residents share a room, they can still bring in a few of their own favorite furnishings, photographs and artwork. Each person receives whatever care they need and they are allowed to be as self-sufficient as they are able to be.
However, despite all the advantages of moving into one of these facilities, large numbers of people resist the idea of moving into assisted living. Here are some of their objections, followed by some ways to get past them, whether you are discussing this issue with a spouse or an aging parent.
Objections to Assisted Living
* Resistance to moving anywhere new ... away from friends, familiar places, your current doctors, place of worship, etc.
* Fear that you will have to give up your "bad" habits ... smoking, drinking your favorite alcoholic beverages, sleeping late, gambling, eating candy or whatever else you like to do and don't want to give up.
* Fear that you will have to give up your pet.
* Fear of the unknown.
Overcoming the Objections to Assisted Living
* In most parts of the country you can find assisted living facilities that are either in your current neighborhood or that are near family members who can check on you frequently and take you places. The sooner you decide to move into one, the more input you will have in helping with the process of finding one that you will like, with the types of nearby activities that interest you. In some cases, churches can arrange transportation that will make it possible for you to continue to attend their services. In other situations, the assisted living facility can arrange the transportation to a nearby place of worship.
* Many assisted living facilities have no problem if you want to have a cocktail, a bottle of beer or a glass of wine with your dinner. While they may send someone to check on you if you unexpectedly miss a meal, most of them will allow you a lot of personal freedom in your own private room or apartment. Many of them also plan outings to local casinos, shopping malls, etc., so you will still be able to enjoy many of the same types of treats and activities that you have always enjoyed. These are issues you can work out by asking a lot of questions before you move into one. If you have a "bad" habit you do not want to give up at this point in your life, ask what the facility's policy is regarding that habit. I have a friend who likes to drink champagne with her dinner. The waiter at her assisted living facility opens a bottle for her every evening. She said she never feels "judged." Keep searching until you find a place where you feel confident you will be comfortable and happy. This is one more reason why you want to take an active role in finding your own assisted living facility. You do not want to wait until you are so ill that someone else has to choose the place for you.
* While most skilled nursing facilities will not let you bring your pets, there are some assisted living facilities which are pet friendly. This fear can be quickly resolved with a few quick phone calls. Some placement companies like A Place for Mom or Nursing Home Solutions (in California) can help you quickly narrow down your choices.
* The best way to overcome a fear of the unknown is to take your time visiting a variety of assisted living facilities, long before the need becomes critical. You or a family member should keep a notebook with details about each location ... the cost, the amenities, whether or not it is pet friendly, whether or not you can enjoy your favorite activities, whether you can get transportation to your church or other important events you wish to attend. Visiting assisted living facilities is also a wonderful way to discover all the positive things they have to offer ... security, good food, friends and activities. After seeing a few, you may find the one that is perfect for you!
* You may also want to consider the risks of living alone, especially as your health fails. When an elderly person falls, it frequently leads to death. In addition, people who live alone and eat their meals alone often become depressed and decline in health much more rapidly than people who live in more social settings.
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