At some point, we all have to see the writing on the wall. It’s just not safe to continue to live on your own. It’s time to consider assisted living. It’s a tough choice, and most of us will resist it for as long as possible. For a lot of people, assisted living just seems like a nursing home in disguise. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth!
Assisted living facilities today are designed for active seniors who are still living life to the fullest, with a little help. Your son or daughter may worry you’ll fall at home and lie there for hours until someone finally hears your cries for help! What an awful thought that is! Assisted living means someone is around 24/7 who knows what to do in an emergency.
Many seniors decide to make the move when their doctor advises them it’s no longer safe to drive. Being stuck at home, alone, waiting for someone to come and drive you to the grocery store or pharmacy doesn’t sound so great. Assisted living offers meal service and opportunities to socialize with other residents and staff, and may even offer pharmacy delivery.
Since there are many different types of assisted living facilities, it’s best to visit, tour, and ask questions. What’s included? What types of activities are offered? Are there any mobility restrictions? Observe carefully while you’re there. Do the residents seem content? Are they neatly dressed with hair combed? Can you picture yourself here?
Some seniors shy away from the large complexes. You may prefer a smaller facility that’s more like a private home. Many offer comfortable bedrooms, big-screen televisions, and home-cooked meals. With such close quarters, residents and staff tend to become a tight-knit group.
Throughout the process of visiting and evaluating various facilities, it’s very important to be honest with yourself and your family about your likes and dislikes, and things you just can’t stand. The larger complexes tend to be buzzing with activity and gossip, and some newcomers find it hard to make friends and feel part of the group. Of course, not everyone feels this way, and the larger complexes have more scheduled activities and options.
Smaller, home-like facilities can be welcoming and comfortable, but tend to have a greater proportion of residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia. They’re also more likely to have residents that require more care than a typical assisted living facility. If you need a wheelchair to get around, some assisted living facilities feel you need more assistance than they can provide, and you’ll be required to move to a nursing home level of care. The smaller, home-like facilities will generally not make you find a new placement unless they’re just not physically able to accommodate your needs. For example, you’re dependent on a ventilator or some types of feeding tubes.
Making the choice to move to assisted living can feel very depressing, like you’re giving up your independence. But there are some great choices out there that will allow you to enjoy life without worrying about medical issues, or the housework and maintenance of staying in your previous home. Approach it with an open mind, you may be surprised by the great options that are available.