It's no secret that the world has changed since our parents were young. Life spans are expanding and families no longer live only blocks from one another, meaning that many older Americans will need some sort of professional care in their senior years. Making a life change is rarely easy, but assisted living is a nice intermediate step that allows seniors to retain a measure of independence while providing them all the support and security they need.
Assisted living for seniors refers to living arrangements that help seniors retain as much independence as their current health allows. A surge of new assisted living strategies helps explain why the number of nursing homes has been declining over the past few years, even as the senior population grows. You may not exactly what form of assisted living for seniors is right for you or a loved one, but ServiceMagic's unique online referral service can help you find the most promising solutions in your area. If you'd like, you can take a look at the following information and rough cost estimates ahead of submitting your free request through our site.
What is Assisted Living for Seniors?
An assisted living facility is a residential community where seniors receive help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and toileting, as well as housekeeping services, and prepared meals. Most centers offer some kind of transportation and social programs, but these can be highly individualized, based on the facility. Assisted living differs from nursing home care in that intensive medical care is not provided. Also, assisted living facilities tend to offer residents their own room in an apartment-like set-up, while nursing homes often require patients to share rooms.
When is it Time to Consider Assisted Living?
The general rule of thumb is that it's time to make the move to assisted living when a senior needs help with three or more activities of daily living (getting in and out of bed, feeding themselves, grooming, etc.). Experts recommend looking for signs that your loved one needs help during visits. Do their clothes or person appear unwashed? Are there unpleasant odors (i.e. urine) in the house? Is there food in the fridge? Is it fresh? While you may be able to address any one of these problems through other means, a combination of them may indicate a need for assisted living.
What do I look for?
If you're looking for assisted living for seniors, here are some pointers to help you find the right fit for your loved one:
1. Be sure to visit. This may go without saying, but web sites and phone calls are no substitute for checking out a center in person.
2. Talk to everyone. Are residents and staff members cheerful and friendly? What are their complaints? When's the last time residents participated in an activity?
3. Observe safety features. Are bathrooms outfitted with grab bars and call buttons? Are there grab bars in hallways? Do you see fire alarms and a sprinkler system? What are the center's security protocols?
The key difference between nursing homes and an assisted living facility is the need for regular and/or complex medical care. While many assisted living facilities do have a registered nurse on staff, they rarely accommodate residents who are unable of functioning with at least partial independence. Likewise, while some high-end nursing homes are designed with private rooms, plenty of individual attention, and personalized surroundings, seniors are not going to feel like they belong if they need only part-time living assistance. That said, there are facilities with multiple wings that cater to various assisted living circumstances and personal care needs. For apprehensive seniors, these flexible assisted living facilities can be both a blessing and a curse. Although they won't be left wondering where they will live once their health declines further, it can feed into their paranoia, falsely nurturing a belief that the more independent assisted living arrangement is nothing more than a ploy to "send them away."
Get help finding senior care facilities. Click the link forAssisted Living Facilities
Just because the difference between nursing homes and assisted living facilities is relatively clear-cut, this doesn't mean you'll have an easy time choosing the best arrangement for yourself or a loved one. Assisted living for seniors is not just outside facilities; it can also refer to in-home care. Depending on your functioning level (or that of a loved one), a part-time staff, rotating round-the-clock assistants, or a live-in caregiver may be the best plan for you. For wealthy seniors, even a live-in nurse may be a viable option. Even facility-based senior care options must be carefully weighed. Along with making sure you or a loved one is treating well, some facilities may be better for limited mobility, while others may be better for mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment. Yet another option for seniors who have family members who are able to help with care during evenings is adult day care.
Obviously, choosing the best option also entails choosing an option you can afford over the long-run. Some uncertainty is inherent in this process, as it's often impossible to know how long assisted living will be needed, and what future costs may lie beyond this arrangement. This question of future costs is likely to force you to choose between the current quality of life for a senior and the likelihood that you or a loved one will eventually end up in a nursing home of the lowest common denominator. Alternately, you may need to ask yourself to what extent you're willing to dip into your own retirement savings to help care for an ailing parent. Often, the choice feels like an impossible one to make. And while it's a choice that only you and your family can make, we can provide rough cost estimates for different types of assisted living for seniors.