Assisted Living – What You Should Know
Posted on March 14, 2014 by Katy Miller
When you’re making a decision to move your mom or dad into a senior living community, the challenges in front of you can seem insurmountable. There is certainly no shortage of questions and confusion; this, in conjunction with the emotional factors that weigh on your mind, make the ideal path unclear.
The first step toward a decision that’s right for you and your family is doing research on the possible solutions in front of you. Living arrangements for your family member can range from independent living to 24-hour medical care in a facility dedicated to caring for those with advanced health conditions.
On this continuum of care, assisted living communities fall closer to the independent living solution end of the spectrum.
So, what is “assisted living” anyway?
Assisted living communities offer housing, support and health care services to older adults. These communities deliver an alternative to the traditional nursing home model by offering private apartments and suites with as little or as much care as is needed by the resident. While nursing homes tend to be better suited for those who require rather intense medical care, the staff at assisted living communities provides discreet guidance for everyday tasks such as showering, getting dressed, taking routine medications and housekeeping.
The best assisted living communities typically feature a social environment that offers personalized levels of care for each resident. As your family member’s needs change, the community you select should be able to adjust accordingly. For example, when your mom moves in, she may be able to bathe and get dressed on her own; then, a few years later, she may just need someone to stand by and ensure that she doesn’t fall or need a little help putting her clothes on for the day. The right assisted living community should be able to provide a variety of levels of service to meet her needs as they grow and change.
This type of personalized care is critical for success as you consider a move to a community because the last thing you want to do is move your mom or dad now, and then have to move them again in just a year or two when their needs grow. The best philosophy in this case is what we call “aging in place,” meaning that older adults are more likely to thrive if they are able to settle in and make a true home at a community.
Remember, too, that assisted living services are often less expensive than home health or nursing home care in the same geographic area. Factors that can have a direct impact on assisted living costs are the location of the community, the size of the apartment (one or two bedrooms), the service options and levels of care selected and quality of the residence itself.
The assisted living community you choose should have a useful senior transition guide to help future residents and family members prepare for the move. Reputation matters, so look for online testimonials or reviews to reinforce your decision. There should be a welcome plan for new residents, so once the move happens the transition goes smoothly. The community should welcome visits and provide a calendar of events, activities, news and resident stories through their website and social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Making the decision to move to assisted living is not easy, but most older adults and their family members feel a great sense of relief once the move happens. The staff at the assisted living community you select should feel like a second family, giving you the peace of mind that your family member is getting the same, if not better, care as you would provide in your own home.