As people get older, their needs naturally change. Where once a person would be able to care for themselves, they might now need some help. This is especially true for older people who live alone, especially if they once had a spouse or partner who cared for them. Once upon a time, it was common for the elderly to live with their loved ones as they got older. However, this situation was not ideal for anyone involved. For one thing, no matter how much you may love someone, unless you are a qualified professional, you don’t know exactly how to deal with the mental and physical needs of an elderly person the way an employee at an assisted living facility would. For another thing, those who did care for their elderly loved ones often had to cut back on their work hours or quit their jobs — caring for a person is literally a full-time occupation. This wasn’t easy then, and it’s virtually impossible now on a financial level. Though people feel a duty towards their loved ones and want to do the right thing, changing your own lifestyle to care for someone around the clock just isn’t fair to you or them, and can cause an emotional strain on everyone involved. In this article, we’ll explore what assisted living for seniors is really like, and why it might be the right option for your loved one.
What Is Assisted Living?
It’s estimated that right now, about one million Americans live in some types of assisted living facilities, and that number is expected to double by the year 2030. Yet many of us don’t know exactly what assisted living for seniors really means. We have this idea of the lonely retirement home, which is really the exact opposite of what quality retirement centers really are. Most senior assisted living facilities are placed in which the elderly can essentially retire, with differing levels of care depending on what they need. In many cases, assisted living for seniors can mean relatively minimal care, only as needed. A doctor will be on hand, as will other medical professionals in case the residents need them. Residents may be able to cook for themselves if they are able, or they’ll have meals prepared for them. Assisted living for seniors provides people with a great outlet socially. They can socialize with people their own age, who often have had similar life experiences. Many facilities host social events for residents, and there are regular activities in which they can engage.
Who Needs Assisted Living?
Ultimately, the need for assisted living is often determined by the older person in question, their loved ones, and often with input from their doctor. If a doctor in particular is recommending assisted living, it may be time to give it serious consideration. If a patient has an illness like Alzheimer’s or dementia, the decision will often be left almost entirely to the loved one. It’s believed that over three-fourths of residents in assisted living facilities have at least two out of the 10 most chronic conditions. High blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia were the most prevalent conditions and need to be taken into account when deciding on whether or not a person needs assisted living. It’s also reported that about four out of 10 residents in assisted living facilities needed care with the most basic activities of daily living, like bathing and dressing. If your loved one is having problems with these activities, it may be time to consider assisted living for seniors.
What Should I Look For In An Assisted Living Facility?
Obviously, location is a big factor — you’ll want to be able to visit often. But it may be better to choose an assisted living facility with more distance if it has better facilities and reviews, as well as better staff. Remember: this is going to be a new home for your loved one. Take their opinion into account, and prioritize their needs above all else.