Most of us, if given the resources, time and energy, would be passionate about providing care for a loved relative, parent or friend. This informal caregiving can take many shapes, from managing medications to helping with yardwork to bathing or feeding loved ones. Several studies and reports, though, including one by the Colorado Health Institute, share just how challenging the reality of caring for a love one at home can be, physically, emotionally and financially.
Yet, almost 500,000 individuals in Colorado provide informal care each year. Why do they decide to provide this informal care despite the time, money and emotional and physical toll it can take? Often, it relates to the perceived cost of assisted living, and in fact, many believe senior living is outside their means.
Many families who come to us to visit and tour our community are not that familiar with how senior living communities operate, and therefore some feel sticker shock at first glance. But most, after a tour, conversation and cost comparison, also quickly realize senior living can provide excellent value and lower costs than living at home when all factors are weighed. Senior living communities like ours have a rental fee that covers most elements of living in our community, including housing, meals, utilities, events and activities, wellness services and more.
The reality of the value of senior living really kicks in when families and seniors consider what they are NOT spending when a loved one moves from home to an assisted living community like the Lodge at Grand Junction. They no longer have rent or a mortgage, HOA fees, escalating property taxes or home insurance, housekeeping services, snow, landscaping or trash removal services, utilities, home maintenance costs, meals and often more hidden costs. In addition, for military veterans and spouses, programs such as the Veteran Administration’s Aid and Attendance benefit can reduce the cost of assisted living housing significantly.
Informal caregivers also understand they save too, by not having to provide out-of-pocket costs or losses in wages or benefits due to having to juggle complex work-family-caregiving duties. Senior living communities can also help ease the emotional burden often associated with informal caregiving. Families often express relief after moving their loved one into a retirement community because trained staff are able to provide ongoing support and monitoring of their loved one’s specific needs. This allows family members to focus on other aspects of their loved one’s care, such as nurturing their social and emotional well-being. In many cases, seniors who move to a retirement community often conclude they should have done it sooner.
Socialization matters for seniors
Beyond the consideration of the cost of assisted living, social isolation is a reason many families visit and tour our community. Study after study has shown that seniors who live alone often experience social isolation and poor nutrition which contributes to cognitive decline, health problems, depression and a lower quality of life. Families know this through firsthand observation.
Many families hire home care aides, arrange for Meals on Wheels or other meal delivery services and use adult day services at senior community centers to support seniors who live at home. Typically, this is no substitute for living in a senior community like the Lodge at Grand Junction, which offers a daily rhythm and vibrancy that allows residents to engage in social activities each day, from events to health services to daily meals where residents and staff catch up regularly.
Yes, families care about the costs of services and housing, but they also care deeply about the social opportunities their loved one can access at the Lodge.
Finally, as families explore their options for senior living, include your loved one in the decision and find a solution that all family members can feel good about. The Lodge at Grand Junction Senior Living is committed to supporting families in the Grand Valley find a place for mom, dad, relative or friend, where they can live well and age well. Please let us know if you have any questions and we’ll be glad to help you explore your options. Give us a call at 970-716-6162 to talk, schedule a visit, or learn more about the services, living options, or costs associated with our services.