When more support other than from family, friends, and senior support programs is needed, assisted living, nursing homes, continuing care, and retirement homes become options for care. Assisted living provides well-being and creates an environment where older people can live safe and connected lives.
Assisted living facilities are typically an attractive alternative for seniors and their families. When searching for or considering assisted living communities, the goal for family members of loved ones is maximizing independence and quality of life.
The truth is not everyone can live in assisted living. We explore more on this, including who can live there, the benefits, and what services assisted living offers.
What Does Assisted Living Mean
Compared to nursing care which includes personal care and focuses on medical care and supervision, assisted living is for residents who need daily care or support with activities of daily living (ADLs). Close to 30,000 assisted living communities are in the United States, with more than 800,000 residents.
Assisted living is for people who wish to maintain their level of independence with added help in areas that they need or cannot be fulfilled by family members anymore. They typically have their own rooms or apartments and share common spaces. The average stay in assisted living is around 22 months.
Benefits of Assisted Living
While every assisted living facility (ALF) is different, they offer services and amenities to maintain independence and include aspects related to wellness, health, mental stimulation, and connection. Assisted care living facilities can potentially offer seniors the following benefits.
Seniors who choose assisted living will often have more control over the environment. Residents may be able to do more for themselves, such as participating in more organized activities and outings. Nursing home residents can also choose assisted living instead of returning home to maintain some independence with assistance.
Improved Quality of Life
Assisted living provides a social environment and encourages social connections. Residents also feel a sense of self-sufficiency while receiving care only when needed, thus contributing to an enhanced quality of life.
Support from Family
Family members typically have more time to spend together with less supervision and assistance needed with basic ADLs such as bathing, dressing, and using the restroom. It can ultimately lead to healthier relationships.
Residents have flexibility should their care needs change. While all assisted living facilities are different, many provide supplemental services such as prepared meals, housekeeping, or transportation.
Assisted Living Services
Many of the services offered by ALFs revolve around providing assistance to residents with their ADLs which tend to be more difficult for seniors who cannot perform these activities independently.
Help with personal care includes:
- Bathing: assistance with personal hygiene includes bathing.
- Grooming: in addition to bathing, seniors may be able to receive assistance with things like hair washing and drying. It can also include the application of makeup, facial lotions, or other products.
- Dressing: helping with changing clothes, getting dressed, and other clothing-related tasks, such as tying shoelaces.
- Incontinence care.
Other services can include:
- Medication administration
- Assistance getting out of bed or chair
- Escorts to and from meals and events
- Accommodations for dietary requests and requirements
- Coordination with outside healthcare providers
- Safety checks
Who Qualifies for Assisted Living
Various individuals may qualify for assisted living based on their medical needs, physical abilities, and other factors. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this type of care, as care service customization depends on an individual’s needs.
That said, there are some criteria to meet to qualify for assisted living:
- Need assistance with daily tasks that are non-medical. In contrast to assisted living, nursing homes offer medical care, nursing care, and 24-hour supervision services.
- Require minimal help to get around. Mobility includes walking and using a wheelchair or a mobility scooter with little help.
- They don’t need 24-hour care. Residents are self-sufficient and comfortable living alone, apart from needing help with daily living activities.
- Healthcare needs that you are able to manage independently. These could include conditions such as arthritis or diabetes. There are some assisted living facilities that cater to people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia with memory support.
A Personalized Approach
When seniors can no longer live alone, it may be the best option to move into assisted living facilities. It is generally easier on their family and friends, who have continued to serve as their primary caregivers.
If the time has come when you wonder about moving your loved one to an assisted living community, it’s also time to include their doctor. You can address things like their health, present conditions, and concerns you may have.
Mattison Crossing offers personal assistance based on individual needs. To learn more about assisted living, schedule a visit to see if it’s for you.