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1022 North Union Street | Middletown, PA 17057

Personal Care: Fact vs. Myth

I love when we’re able to help people gain the care they need, but often don’t want to seek, typically for a variety of reasons.

Right now, several Diakon senior living communities, Diakon Senior Living – Hagerstown among them, are helping motivate people to seek personal care or, as it is known here in Maryland, assisted living—through various incentives.

But why might older adults who need such care not seek it immediately? Certainly, as people grow older, they may notice changes in abilities. Whether someone has suffered a fall, is recovering from a surgery or simply needs assistance completing the typical tasks of daily living, personal care may be of great benefit.

But when some older adults hear the phrase “personal care,” they may have a negative reaction.

They think, for example, that they don’t need any help and that they are still sufficiently independent to continue caring for themselves.

That perspective is understandable, but family members and other friends may quickly spot the need for assistance.

What are signs a loved one may benefit from personal care?

Is a loved one no longer taking care of him- or herself? Wearing the same clothing for more than a day? No longer seeming to care about appearance?

If so, the person may be having trouble completing these tasks or attending to basic needs. Not only can this situation decrease confidence, but it can also continue to affect independence.

If loved ones react negatively to the idea of personal care, they may be falling victim to myths they’ve heard. To combat this, you could help to dispel those myths …

●    Personal care will decrease my independence. This couldn’t be further from the truth; in fact, personal care can actually enrich your quality of life enough that you may become more independent. For example, if you don’t need to spend time worrying about certain activities of daily life, you may be able to focus more fully on wellness, improving your health through exercise and participating in more lifelong-learning opportunities.

●    If I need help with personal care, I’ll seem older. Unfortunately, many seniors feel as though assistance means they are no longer capable of being on their own or that they seem much older than they may feel. This is a sad misconception, especially because abilities don’t define who you are or the life you love. There’s no shame in needing some help with grooming, bathing or even cooking. In fact, accepting some assistance can free time to do the things you love to do.

●    Needing care means I need to move to a senior living community. While personal care and assisted living communities such as those we operate are designed to be very homelike, personal care specialists can also come to the home in which you currently live. And if you do want to make a move to a senior living community, not only will you receive the care and support you need, but you also will be able to take advantage of a wide range of other services and amenities—some of which may not be available to you now!

●    My abilities will decrease because I’ll no longer be doing certain things myself. Personal-care staff members provide assistance when asked or if needed, leaving older adults to maintain their independence and encouraging them to do as much as they desire on their own. Simply put, they are there to help you only as much as you desire.

●    Care is too expensive. Prices may vary based on care need and overall prices may not be as out of reach as you think. Speak with a financial advisor at a leading senior living provider to see if personal care may be the right—and affordable—option for you or a loved one.

Laura Myers
Director, Business Development
Diakon Senior Living-Hagerstown