According to a 2021 American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) survey, 77% of adults aged 50 and older would prefer to stay home as they age.¹ This sky-high figure could be partially due to persistent misconceptions about residential senior care communities. 

However, for many seniors, aging in place can be difficult, risky, and isolating due to acute and long-term health conditions, poor mobility, and fewer opportunities to socialize. In 2024, skilled nursing and memory care communities can meet seniors’ medical needs while also empowering them to live the fulfilling and socially active lifestyle they deserve.

7 Misconceptions About Senior Care (and the Truth)

What Are the Most Common Myths About Skilled Nursing?

Myth #1: Skilled nursing communities are depressing. 

Modern skilled nursing communities offer much more than medical care; residents can live full and enriching lifestyles while receiving the support they need. At Chapin Home, for example, seniors enjoy a range of hobbies, activities, and social events each day. Our popular activities include karaoke, yoga, creative arts, mocktail parties, birthday celebrations, chorus and much more! We also provide opportunities for learning and encourage residents to share their uniquely valuable expertise.

Myth #2: Skilled nursing is only for people at the end of their life.

Skilled nursing communities support people who require medical supervision but do not need to be in the hospital. Some communities offer hospice care, but many seniors are also in skilled nursing long-term or for short-term rehabilitation before returning home. At Chapin Home, we provide short-term skilled nursing for seniors recovering from a heart attack, stroke, fall, or operation, plus long-term care for those with ongoing conditions requiring 24-hour nursing care, dementia, or Parkinson’s.

What are the Most Common Myths About Memory Care?

Myth #3: Memory care is only for people in the late stages of dementia.

Residential memory care can be an excellent senior care choice for those in the early to middle stages of dementia, too. According to a 2020 study, more than a quarter of people with dementia are ‘moderately’ lonely, and 5.2% are ‘severely’ lonely.²

This may be due to barriers preventing seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related conditions from getting out and enjoying a social lifestyle. These barriers – including reduced mobility, lack of confidence, and frequently getting lost – can be present from the early stages of dementia. 

In memory care, seniors can access support from dementia care experts, plus a range of engaging social opportunities and enriching activities tailored to their needs. In a safe and secure environment, they can live independently and enjoy a deeply fulfilling lifestyle.

Myth #4: Memory care residents are sedated and isolated.

Many seniors with conditions like Alzheimer’s become agitated or aggressive from time to time. These behavioral issues are typically the result of an unmet need they can’t communicate due to their condition. In memory care, expert caregivers are skilled in identifying these needs and addressing the root cause rather than simply ‘locking up’ or medicating residents exhibiting challenging behavior.

Moreover, memory care communities often have a range of resources available to optimize residents’ mental well-being. For example, Chapin Home offers a sensory cart, sitting rooms with soothing colors and sounds, and a bubble machine to stimulate the senses and nurture feelings of tranquility and safety.

What are the Most Common Myths About Rehabilitation?

Myth #5: Physical therapy is only for accidents and injuries.

While physical therapy can be an incredible tool when recovering from an injury, it can also be used to support people living with a range of short-term issues and chronic conditions. For example, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)³ notes that physical therapy can be helpful for:

  • Poor mobility
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Parkinson’s
  • Heart attack or stroke recovery
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Obesity
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Incontinence

At Chapin Home, our short-term rehabilitation patients include seniors recovering from falls, joint replacements, amputations, and cardiac procedures. Our long-term skilled nursing residents also benefit from our state-of-the-art rehabilitation center, enhancing their mobility, flexibility, and strength with tailored physical therapy plans.

Myth #6: Speech therapy is only for people having difficulties with talking.

Speech therapy is a lifeline for those recovering from a stroke or brain injury who need to relearn skills like voice clarity and expression. But it also addresses many more issues involving the mouth and throat. For example, our speech therapists often work with memory care residents who struggle to chew and swallow food due to Alzheimer’s. When supported by a speech therapist, they’re often able to enjoy a wider variety of foods, enhancing both their nutritional intake and their enjoyment of meals.

Myth #7: Occupational therapy is the same as physical therapy.

While occupational and physical therapy often work in tandem, they’re distinct treatments. Occupational therapists work holistically, equipping seniors with the practical skills needed to carry out activities of daily life rather than focusing solely on physical strength and flexibility. 

The patient’s needs, goals and wishes will heavily guide occupational treatment. For example, they may want to be able to cook meals for themselves or their family again or gain confidence using a new mobility aid. At Chapin Home, occupational therapists use our state-of-the-art Activities of Daily Living Kitchen to help seniors manage daily tasks like cooking, housekeeping, and cleaning.

Why Choose Chapin Home for Senior Care in Queens?

Chapin Home’s commitment to shifting perceptions of skilled nursing has been unwavering since our doors opened in 1869. For over 155 years, we’ve dedicated ourselves to enriching the lives of aging adults. To find out how we can support your loved one with a personalized skilled nursing, memory care, or rehabilitation plan, get in touch today and arrange a tour.

 

References

  1. Binette J, Farago F. Where we live, where we age: Trends in home and community preferences. American Association of Retired Persons. Published November 18, 2021. Accessed June 19, 2024. https://www.aarp.org/pri/topics/livable-communities/housing/2021-home-community-preferences/?CMP=RDRCT-PRI-HOMFAM-071221. 
  2. Victor CR, Rippon I, Neils SM, et al. Prevalence and determinants of loneliness in people living with dementia: Findings from the IDEAL program. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2020;35(8):851-858. doi: 10.1002/gps.5305.
  3. American Physical Therapy Association. Symptoms and conditions. ChoosePT. Accessed June 19, 2024. https://www.choosept.com/symptoms-conditions.
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