As your parents or other relatives age you know you will be faced with the inevitable question of, “what should we, or can we, do to help them as they age?” There are many options at your disposal ranging from renovating their homes to allow them to age at home to moving them into an assisted living facility. An assisted living facility isn’t quite a nursing home, they are known also as senior living, retirement homes, or independent living facilities.
What exactly is assisted living?
While each facility offers options as to the services it provides, the level of care your aging parents will receive depends on their level of health and mobility and the level of independence they desire. The need to either renovate your family’s existing home to make it more senior-friendly or move them into an assisted living facility will come at some point in your aging parent’s lives and it’s best to be prepared for the day it arrives.
The ability to bath themselves, cook meals, keep up with housekeeping, laundry, personal grooming and other items become more difficult to keep up with as we age, but these items alone don’t necessarily mean your seniors need to move into assisted living. If there are relatives that live close by and are prepared to be a caregiver for the aging parent, they may be able to age in place. If, however, the seniors are isolated and there are no caregivers that live close by who can take on this responsibility an assisted living facility could be the answer to your prayers.
In addition to providing help with the daily living tasks mentioned above, an assisted living facility can also help with medication dispensing and health monitoring issues. Moving into an assisted living facility can also open your aging relative up to the opportunities to socialize and have access to exercise programs, day trips and other planned activities. It’s also been shown that individuals who socialize and are more physically active are more mentally alert and have a better quality of life than those who live alone and are sedentary.
Assisted living facilities are typically not nursing homes as nursing homes are known more for providing round-the-clock nursing and medical care. Assisted living provides a more social atmosphere than living at home and helps keep the elderly more independent. In an assisted living facility, your aging loved one will have his or her own apartment and the ability to drive their own vehicle if they want to. Keep in mind, though, that even though there is nursing staff available, there is always the danger of a slip or fall accident or a medical emergency arising while they are alone in their apartment. While assisted living facilities sometimes have stationary/fixed help buttons on the wall, this may not be accessible in the event of an emergency. LifeFone offers a help button worn on the senior (necklace or wristlet) and connects directly to LifeFone where there are Emergency Response Operators with their full Emergency Care Plan. This button is waterproof and can be worn on the body even in the shower, dispatching medical help when needed!
An assisted living facility may be a good option if the senior in your life has memory lapses, is unable to drive him- or herself to the grocery store or on basic errands and is simply lonely. The basic help provided by the staff at an assisted living facility such as a common dining room, transportation services to shopping centers and doctor’s visits could be a welcome relief to the individual – and to the family.