When families mention assisted living to older adults, many times horror stories are conjured up and it feels like they are being put away. However, once they actually settle into the new community, many times they are surprised by how pleasant it actually is. The individuals at the assisted living communities are able to meet new friends, partake in activities, and go on outings. Residents often become much more active than they were when previously living alone. A lot of the stresses such as housekeeping, laundry, transportation and meals are provided for you. This allows the senior time to enjoy oneself and not have to worry about how they are going to get through the day.
No matter what, the initial conversation is often going to be a difficult one. Not only is assisted living a difficult topic to bring up to your loved ones, but convincing your loved ones it is a better option than living alone is hard as well. There are several different types of living situations that fall under what people typically think of as assisted living.
The first option, which provides many amenities, is independent living. Independent living is ideal for those that aren’t quite ready for assisted living but can benefit from meals, housekeeping and help with getting to and from appointments. Of course there is the option to add on care in independent living, but in general independent living is for those that don’t need 24-hour care or constant supervision.
Some communities have independent living next to the assisted living so that when the time comes, they can transition in the same community.
The next type of living is assisted living. Assisted living is right for those that need care. This can include help with bathing, help using the restroom, assistance getting dressed and help with nearly any other ADL (Activities of Daily Living). Like independent living meals and transportation are also included.
The next type of living is memory care. Memory care facilities are similar to assisted living but with one major difference. The memory care facilities are generally locked and able to house individuals that are wandering. They provide a lot of the same services but include more supervision.
The last type of place is skilled nursing and generally for those that need either rehabilitate services, or skilled nursing for wounds or other ailments. Skilled nursing facilities are able to house the individuals that need the most medical care. Many people think that a nursing home is the only type of place that can provide living assistance. This is a common misnomer.
If you are wondering where to start or whether or not your loved one needs assisted living, asking their general practitioner to do an assessment is a good idea. The time to begin looking is when your loved ones physical condition has declined to the point where getting through the day is a struggle, if a change of behavior or mental aptitude occurred, or if they had a fall, stroke heart attack or other traumatic medical event. Of course if they are refusing to consider assisted living, medical alert systems are the next best option to look into. Many communities offer these to their residents as a built in amenity, but simply using a medical alert system around the home is a temporary fix. The more permanent solution is getting them assistance to get through their day so they are no longer struggling and able to focus more on the things they like doing such as going on outings, or hanging out with family and friends.
You may need some help when you are trying to decide when your loved one will need assisted living. Most importantly don’t be afraid to do some research or ask questions.