Topics on Aging

By Juan Gallo

How do resources and culture affect decisions about assisted living facilities?

September 12, 2022

How do resources and culture affect decisions about assisted living facilities?

This week is National Assisted Living Week. At Heart2Heart, we applaud the assisted living facilities that are doing a good job caring for our seniors who need assistance caring for themselves.

However, even as we celebrate the great facilities, we must acknowledge that there are different levels of assisted living. Some are underfunded and lack sufficient resources. Some are poorly managed.

Often, the sad reality is that you get what you pay for. If you’re fortunate, you might have the retirement funds to settle into a well-staffed facility where amenities are valued and the customer experience is paramount.

Or you might not. The cost of living in these facilities is high, even if you can’t afford a nicer option. Maybe you were never able to invest into a significant retirement plan. Or you underestimated the ultimate cost of living in one of these facilities.

Some of the decisions about assisted living facilities centers come down to cultural differences. A volunteer recently commented that lots of the seniors we serve in care centers are white. Why is that?

And, that begs the question, are assisted living facilities always the best option?

Some of the decisions about assisted living facilities centers come down to cultural differences. Another volunteer recently commented that lots of the seniors we serve in care centers are white. Why is that?

For Latinos, a lot of our grandparents are the matriarchs or patriarchs of the family. That position might discourage the family from considering assisted living facilities as an option. I would say the same goes for black Americans and those from the Caribbean.

For many white Americans, I would think that it’s more of an individualist stance. The grandparents don’t want to be a burden on the children. 

I recently received a call from one of our volunteers. He’s 70 years old and active, despite a loyalty to an older-style flip phone.

He and his wife never had kids. They recently made the decision to move into a continuing care retirement community. It allows a range of care options as you age, without leaving the apartment you first move into.

There’s another way to consider this issue.  

We see in the Bible that as people aged, they had a very active part in the teaching and offering spiritual wisdom to younger people. As Christians, it should be important to us to care for the people who carry that wisdom in our community.

I’m not saying assisted living facilities are never the answer. However, I don’t want us to write off our seniors. I believe the church still has a responsibility for their spiritual needs, even if those individuals can no longer attend a church service in person.

If you’re interested in helping, contact us about leading a care center Bible study.

If you’re a church leader, I’d love to chat about how your congregation can partner with Heart2Heart to serve seniors.

Next week, we’ll begin a discussion about how to make tough decisions about assisted living facility placements.

Read more about:
Juan Gallo
Juan Gallo is the CEO of Heart2Heart Outreach, where he oversees the mobilization of volunteers to provide hope, share love and restore purpose to the lives of the aging population across South Florida.

He also serves as a local pastor and as an adjunct professor at Trinity International University, where he is teaching a course on diversity and aging. Juan has a master’s degree in counseling and psychology and is a licensed mental health counselor intern.

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