+1 (877) 929-5321

Schedule a Tour

By: Tracey Haughton on June 5th, 2024

Print/Save as PDF

Facing Fears And Addressing Emotions in the Senior Living Decision

assisted living  |  assisted living ct  |  Safety Tips For Senior Citizens  |  ct assisted living  |  Aging & Caregiving  |  Cognitive Health

Making the transition to community living is a weighty decision for seniors, caregivers, and family members alike. Whether the senior in your life is planning a move to an independent living community or you are preparing to move your loved one to a memory care community, the decision can bring feelings of fear and complex emotions. 


Common fears may include concerns about a loss of freedom and autonomy, the quality of care received, or feelings of loneliness. Others may worry about making friends, dining with others, or having concerns about boredom and maintaining an active lifestyle. Fears about growing older and all that the aging process entails may also arise.
The move itself can often be the initial source of fear. Therefore, it is crucial for the senior, caregivers, and family members to offer support and assurance, while prioritizing the senior’s preferences.  In this article, we’ll guide this transition while addressing common fears associated with a move to senior living.
Making The Choice
Many factors play a part in the decision to move a to senior living community. This move will likely involve selling a long-time family home, downsizing old belongings, calculating monthly fees and who will pay them, and many other dilemmas. For some individuals, there may be healthcare needs involved, which creates another layer of emotional complexity. 
With these components to consider, it can be tricky to know which path to take. It might be helpful to make a list or two, such as a list of pros and cons or a checklist of “to-do” items once a decision has been made. Ensuring the best quality of life for the senior making the move should always be the primary goal. Whether this goal is accomplished by utilizing supportive care for a loved one who wants to stay at home, or by downsizing to an independent living community with a continuum of care, respecting your loved one’s desires and preferences is key. 
It can also be helpful to ask questions and do your research. Though terms like “nursing home” and “senior living” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing and it is important to know what kind of community best suits your loved one. For example, if your loved one can generally manage on their own but needs assistance with getting dressed or managing medications, an assisted living community may be worth considering. Or, if your aging loved one wants to “get acquainted” with the option of senior living before committing to it, respite care or a trial stay can provide them a chance to experience the lifestyle, while providing caregivers time to recharge.
7 Myths About Life In a Senior Living Community
Addressing Common Fears
Growing older can be intimidating, both for the person growing old and the people who love them, but knowing how to address some of the common fears around senior living and the aging process can help your loved one grow old with dignity and peace. 
“I’m afraid I’ll lose my independence.”
A primary concern, particularly for seniors themselves, is the potential loss of autonomy and freedom. While moving to a senior living community comes with change and may involve certain limitations, many seniors experience greater independence once they make the transition. It may sound contradictory, but in having everyday tasks from laundry to shoveling snow taken care of for them, seniors have more time and energy to devote to their desires and dreams. Exceptional senior living communities will anticipate this fear in advance and make conscious efforts to encourage and protect a senior’s autonomy regardless of their life stage while keeping safety a priority.
“I’m afraid my loved one won’t receive the best care.”
Another common fear when making the senior living decision is the quality of care you or your loved one will receive. There is no shortage of bad press highlighting the negative, harmful, or negligent practices of some senior care providers. Seniors and their families place a great deal of trust in an organization when making any senior living decision and should always remain vigilant when selecting the right option. As regulations can vary by state and by facility type, families should become familiar with the care offerings each community can provide.
This fear can be alleviated in part by asking thorough questions upfront, paying close attention to your loved one’s health and well-being during visits, and listening to any concerns they express. Examining community survey results, online reviews, word-of-mouth opinions, and consumer ratings from sites such as U.S. News and World Report, are all important steps to determine the quality of a senior living community beyond first impressions. Pursuing a community with a relationship-centered culture can also help ensure a high quality of care, trusted partnerships, and peace of mind. 
“I’m afraid my loved one will be bored and won’t make friends.”
Finally, seniors, their caregivers, and their families may fear the senior facing loneliness, boredom, or a loss of cherished relationships. In thinking of senior living communities, some may envision their loved one leading a quiet, isolated, inactive life. This could not be further from the truth for today’s typical senior living communities. 
Senior living offers an abundance of opportunities for social connection and active, independent living. Fun and engaging programs designed to promote overall well-being for the mind, body, and spirit appeal to residents’ interests and goals. A regular calendar packed with interesting activities, exciting trips, and entertainment is always offered.
Additionally, senior living communities’ communal setting offers a comfortable, welcoming environment where seniors can get to know their neighbors. Dining together during mealtimes and socializing during exercise are just two of the many examples that stand out.
If the senior living community is also a continuum community for seniors, your loved one can truly develop deep-rooted relationships while aging in the same place as their needs change. 
The Best Way to Address Your Fears? Try a Short-term Stay.
Ultimately, a trial stay in any senior living community can help put fears at ease. 
A 60-day stay allows residents and their families to test the lifestyle of any community while getting to know staff, residents, and the overall culture. Seniors have time to make friends and try out programs and other offerings, while families can see how the community addresses any challenges or concerns.
If the emotional stress of making a move is overwhelming, considering a short-term stay may be the perfect fit to ensure a successful transition.
sneior care options


To further explore how a senior living community can help, reach out to a UMH senior care advisor today or schedule a tour to learn more.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.