4 retirement residence myths, debunked

Misconceptions about what a retirement residence really is and what life looks like living in one still exist. Some people may assume retirement communities are just for seniors who require care support, while others may assume that choosing to live in one may result in a loss of independence and freedom.

In fact, the reality is quite the opposite, as many seniors living in retirement homes will tell you. They aren’t your grandmother’s nursing homes; rather, they are welcoming and vibrant places that not only offer personalized support, but offer rich social and recreational opportunities, as well as conveniences like delicious dining and housekeeping.

Here are four common myths that are just begging to be debunked:

Myth #1: I’ll lose my independence.

There’s a reason you’ll often see “independent living” describing the lifestyle at many retirement residences: that’s because it is! Residents can come and go as they please, do what they want (or don’t) and live their lives as they choose. In fact, they often gain more independence, freed from daily chores such as cleaning, home maintenance, shopping and other tasks. Some seniors find that gives them time to begin (or rekindle) new hobbies or passions, or spend more time with friends or family. The result is often a redefined sense of independence—and self.

Older couple laughing

Myth #2: There’s no need to move until my health declines.

Today’s retirement residences are designed for active seniors who enjoy their vibrant communities—and with the peace of mind that comes from knowing support services are available if and when they’re needed. Many new residents comment that they wish they’d moved in years earlier, loving their new space, the wide range of activities and busy social life they’ve discovered. In fact, many people even report that their health has improved since making a move. It’s also much less stressful to make an important change in your life when you’re not burdened by health concerns.

Myth #3: It’s too expensive.

It pays to explore all your options by shopping around and visiting residences that appeal to you, taking into account what affordability means to you. It can also be illuminating to tally current expenses living in your own home. (Chartwell has a useful Budget Assistant tool that does just that.) You may be surprised by how much you’re spending on maintaining your home, buying groceries, bringing in extra home or healthcare support, or even undertaking accessibility renovations. Compare that against the value of living in a seniors’ residence, reflecting on the gains of worry-free living, no meal-making (if you choose), no snow shoveling or roof replacement costs, and you may find investing in a retirement living lifestyle makes a lot of sense for your situation.

Myth #4: The food is boring and bland.

Ricotta spinach lasagna? Baby arugula and honey roasted pecan and apple salad? Raspberry buckle torte? Today’s seniors have no time—or taste—for retirement residence food of old, and are much more likely to tuck into diverse, delicious and nutritionally-balanced dishes. Also keep in mind that many residences offer full or partial kitchens in their suites so you can still cook your own meals if you wish. Visit several residences during meal times: that’s a perfect opportunity to check out the food and speak with residents in the dining room.

If you’re considering a retirement living lifestyle, check out our “Exploring Retirement Living” Guide for more information.