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The Fear of Senior Housing and Growing Older

Blog January 31st, 2015
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At this point, people are steadily growing more and more aware that senior housing isn’t the gloom and doom of “nursing homes” that many people used to believe. Yet many are skeptical of senior living care for other reasons, namely they think they’re on the downward slope of their life.

What Does Growing “Older” Mean?

Many people struggle with this concept whether they’re 16 or 60. We tend to assume that responsibilities will eventually accrue and we’ll transform into new people: adults. And yet, that mentality bears a strong similarity to our modern technological boom in that it implies immediacy.

There is nothing immediate about growing older.

Many even attest that you’re only as old as you feel and it’s easier to spot someone who doesn’t act their age. So what does “growing old” mean?

For many people, the concept of growing old is epitomized in the people we think of as “old.” So, when you’re aging, your parents are old; your grandparents are old. But, if both your parents and grandparents, are happy and fun-loving people, then is there anything really to fear from being old? Do you even build a conception of “old” being equivalent to “dreary” or “lonely” or “frail”?

There are many paths seniors can take, but perhaps the most noble is when an elderly person takes responsibility for their age and role. Their kids and grandkids – whether or not they realize it – are looking at them and imagining that they (the seniors) are what elderly life is like. That’s a significant impact.

Because if, as a senior, you’re bicycling every day, you’re going out with friends and family, and you’re jumping into the next heavy metal concert – even if it’s not your cup of tea, let’s assume you’re giving it a shot – then you’re creating a model for what your loved ones expect of aging.

You can become a grump who sits on the porch all day or you can be as old as you feel.

A while back, we wrote a blog where experts proved we’re (at least) 40% in control of our happiness. For many, it may be instinctual to say, “If it’s less than half, then what’s the point since it can’t turn your day around,” but let’s face it, it’s rare for anyone to be having a 100% bad day. Even at your worst, it’s probably only 75% as bad as it could be, which means, yes, having 40% control of your optimism can turn your whole day around.

The Fear of Senior Housing

Usually the number one reason elders suffer a fear of senior housing is because they think it puts them closer to death. Moving into a home where they’re receiving regular care – even if it’s not intensive – makes seniors feel like they’re growing weaker and more ill (even if they’re perfectly healthy).

Here’s the secret.

Everyone, at some point, is going to pass on. It’s okay to be scared of it, but whether you’re living on your own or in a senior community, you are not distanced any further from death. In fact, living in an elder community means more qualified people can help save you, but even then the main thing to realize is that death is as necessary to life as food and water. Everyone will experience it; everyone needs to.

So, when you think about it that way. If death is mandatory, then the true distinguishing factor is how you live. So if you make life enjoyable, make it noble, make it count, then you’ll never feel your age and you’ll give your family something no one else can – a confidence in growing older as opposed to a fear of death.

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