Looking For An Assisted Living Facility?
What To Consider
There comes a time in life when some of us have to choose an assisted living facility for our loved ones. No doubt, this is a very tough decision to make. When most of us think about assisted living facilities we envision cold, clinical environments. The thought of sending one of our loved ones to such a place is not very comfortable. What should we consider when selecting an assisted living facility for someone we love?
Moving an elderly parent into an assisted living facility is one of the toughest choices you’ll ever make. Many people feel a tremendous sense of guilt, and wonder if it’s the right choice. Some people just don’t have the space or financial resources to have a parent move in. If a parent needs assistance with daily activities, or suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s, they may need more care and supervision than you’re able to provide.
Fortunately, the concept of assisted living has changed over the years. Most of us still get the mental picture of a cold, sterile nursing home when we hear the term assisted living, but that’s really not the case anymore. There are many types and styles, from elegant hotel-type living, to large complexes with individual units, to small home-like private residences.
If you were to make a list of the top goals or hopes most people have for their senior years, what would you include? Have you ever thought about it?
Financial security would likely rank rather high. And time with family would certainly be on the list. But, the number one subject on the minds of most senior citizens would be good health, and living a long and interesting life.
Typically, if you attend a seminar on good health for seniors, you’ll hear a lot about diet and exercise. But recently, research has shown that the seniors are who are most content and consistently live the longest and have the lowest prevalence of health problems are not necessarily those who put the most effort into following a strict diet or exercise program. Put simply, the senior citizens who are the most successful at being healthy and active, and live the longest, are the ones who obsess the least about being successful.
The decision to look into assisted living for yourself or a family member is never an easy one. There seem to be more questions than answers. Is it the right time? Will I be comfortable? Will my mother still have some independence? How will Dad be treated by the staff?
It’s not a decision to be made lightly. It is, after all, a move to a very different type of environment. Some people may recognize that they need some additional help, and it’s just not safe to live alone anymore. Others have grown tired of the upkeep of a large home, and prefer to downsize to a smaller home that offers amenities like laundry service and meal preparation. Family members may worry about falls or medical issues, and circumstances may not allow them to move a parent into their own home. Those diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s have special needs, and it may not be possible for family to provide the structure and 24/7 supervision necessary to ensure their safety.
What’s the difference between assisted living and a retirement community? Assisted living is for adults (mostly, but not always, senior citizens) who need help with everyday tasks, like dressing, bathing, or eating, but don’t need full time nursing care. Retirement communities are for seniors who want to downsize and escape the hassle and expense of maintaining a private home, and live among other seniors with easy access to activities and socialization. A retirement community may have an assisted living facility on site, but generally the residents don’t require assistance with daily activities.