Why Assisted Living Has Become a Better Option for Seniors

Why Assisted Living Has Become a Better Option for Seniors

As baby boomers continue to retire in record numbers, an ever-increasing group of adult children are facing the question of how to handle their parents changing health needs. Many also face an even more urgent request from their parents… “please don’t put me in a home!” The problem is when mom and dad start to need more daily care, it can put pressure on caregivers and strain relationships in the family.

It continues to become increasingly important for adult children to consider how assisted living could be a much better option than living at home when it comes to social life for seniors — especially for their overall quality of life and wellness.

Seniors in Assisted Living vs. Home Care

In a residential community, where there is 24-hour access to personal care, as well as nutrition and wellness services designed specifically for older adults, seniors can enjoy social contact, security, and support while still maintaining their independence.

Assisted living is a great intermediate step for seniors who need more help than the family can provide at home, but who don’t the need round-the-clock medical care of a nursing facility. Listed below are eight compelling reasons to consider assisted living for the health and quality of life of your parents or senior loved ones.

A safe living environment.
For seniors to remain living safely at home, a wide range of home modifications might be needed if their physical health begins to decline — such as shower railings and medial alert systems, just to name a couple — and the expenses can quickly add up. Assisted living facilities like The Classic at Hillcrest Greens are designed for mobility and accessibility, helping seniors avoid falls and accidents and providing rapid access to assistance.

Access to fitness and physical activity.
With access to various gym equipment, group exercises classes, led by trained fitness personnel well-versed in the needs of older adults, assisted living communities offer opportunities for physical fitness that go far beyond what family caregivers can easily provide at home.

Help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
Family caregivers are also generally responsible for helping with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and eating when a senior loved lives at home. In other cases, the family or the senior themselves must bear the cost of a home care aide. Both of these options can cause personal and financial strain on the family. In contrast, one of the most basic principles of assisted living is helping older adults with these ADLs so that they can continue to function as independently as possible.

Housekeeping and transportation.
Keeping the house clean, getting to appointments and social engagements, making sure any medications are being taken properly…these are the typical day-to-day responsibilities that often fall on caregivers when a senior parent is living at home, whether they live alone or with the family. The vast majority of these burdens are relieved when older adults reside in assisted living, as the community generally includes upkeep and housekeeping in the monthly rent cost, and many facilities also offer transportation services. As an example, The Classic is contracted locally with Abby Vans for providing transportation to appointments, etc.

Independence.
Being able to maintain one’s independence is rewarding in and of itself — and sometimes that requires accepting a bit of help now and then. Assisted living helps seniors care for themselves while also offering access to an active and rewarding lifestyle. At the same time, when families no longer bear sole responsibility for meeting all of their loved one’s needs, it can reduce everyone’s stress level and even improve family relationships. The time that adult children spend with their senior parents can then become truly meaningful quality time.

Intellectual stimulation.
Activities at assisted living communities can be cultural, social, and spiritual. Many facilities offer guest lectures from visiting scholars and professionals. If a community is located near a college or university, residents can often take advantage of campus resources, including courses and cultural events.

Opportunities for social activity.
Living at home can be isolating, particularly if a senior resides alone. It can be difficult for the elderly to maintain their social relationships when they are no longer working. In an assisted living setting, residents can easily socialize with peers while participating in any number of structured or non-structured activities.

Supervised nutrition.
It can be very difficult to supervise senior nutrition at home. Seniors living alone may find it unappealing to cook for one, and it’s challenging for family caregivers to monitor whether their loved ones are receiving the necessary nutrients. In assisted living, residents are served three meals a day tailored to the changing health needs of older adults.

Seniors Biggest Fears About Senior Living

Seniors Biggest Fears About Senior Living

If society is to be believed, senior living is where you go when you have no one else to care for you, and is an unavoidable fate when you can’t take care of yourself any more. The truth is, the vast majority of our fears of senior living are inaccurate.

In recent years, baby boomers have reinvented what senior living really means. There is a wide range of state-of-the-art senior housing, from assisted living for those who need day-to-day help, to independent living for more active adults. These options all aim to provide seniors with a lifestyle tailored to their individual interests and needs, while also offering the necessary care to remain mentally, physically, and socially healthy.

Have you found your aging parent to have major anxiety about moving into senior living? To follow is a list of biggest fears along with some advice that may help you address his/her misconceptions or concerns:

“I’ll be bored.”
With the activities and amenities offered by today’s senior living communities, there’s pretty much no excuse to be bored. Today’s senior housing market offers everything from field trips and outdoor excursions to fitness and personal enrichment classes.

“I’ll drain all my finances.”
Yes, senior living can seem financially daunting, but if you’re already thinking about how to afford the care, you’re ahead of the game. With savvy financial planning, and maybe a little help from Social Security or VA benefits, senior living can sometimes come out to be the same cost as living at home.

“I’m afraid I won’t receive the best care for me.”
There’s far, far more to senior living than the stereotype of adult children dropping off their elderly parents with random strangers. When it’s time to move to senior living, the process of decision-making is one that should involve the entire family, and your older loved one should be just as comfortable with their new home as you are moving them there. Good senior living communities are staffed by professionals who are experts in senior care and can offer more advanced care if it’s called for.

“I will get old and sicker faster.”
Whether you’re old or young, it’s being alone or isolated that leads to anxiety and depression, while the social contact a senior community provides is key to better health and quality of life. If a senior loved one is already ill — with Alzheimer’s disease, for example — memory care offers daily stimulation, planned activities and customized care, all of which can actually slow down the progress of an illness or even improve health and behavior.

“I will lose my independence.”
While some seniors fear that senior living is equal to a loss of independence, the truth is in fact much the opposite. If you choose assisted living, you’ll have help with cleaning, cooking, and other chores that only become more onerous over time. What senior living offers is greater freedom with the precious time you do have. To make that time happy and rewarding, communities provide ample opportunity for social activities on-site as well as transportation around the area when you need it.

“I won’t be able to control my daily activities or life.”
Moving to a new residence, letting go of long-held habits of daily life — these are often realities of getting older, but they can be difficult and require major adjustment. Take your loved one’s concerns seriously and don’t minimize their feelings. The fact is, assisted living can be a necessary and freeing step for both seniors and their families. If it is already too difficult for a senior to care for herself independently, or for caregivers to provide the necessary help, then assisted living may be a good option. The emphasis is on safety and security, but also independence and privacy, enabling each resident to have the care they need without compromising individual dignity.

“People will forget about me.”
It’s natural to worry about being alone, especially if you define yourself by those relationships you value. However, moving into senior living doesn’t mean you’ll lose those relationships. In fact, you just might value them even more. At the same time, a senior community provides new venues for social contact, not to mention onsite help when there’s an emergency.

Five Ways Elderly Persons Can Hide Dementia Symptoms

Five Ways Elderly Persons Can Hide Dementia Symptoms

How to Detect if Your Loved One is Hiding Dementia Symptoms

You’re not alone if you have a parent with memory loss. Millions are facing this reality every day. Finding out whether the memory loss is a part of aging or a cognitive disease such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, can be the challenge. Because elderly persons can often try to hide cognitive diseases, it’s crucial you get testing and help for them.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are scary diseases that slowly steal a person’s identity and personality — the very traits that make them who they are as individuals. No one wants to lose themselves to this heart wrenching and brain-destroying disease, which is why denial, changing the subject, or compensating for symptoms is so common.

Five Ways the Elderly Can Hide Dementia

The signs of dementia can be subtle at first. Mom gets disoriented or has trouble recalling certain words, or Dad forgets to pay the bills. If your aging parent or loved one is showing persistent memory loss, it’s a warning you should not ignore, because it could be more than just a “senior moment.” There is even a condition called anosognosia, a lack of awareness of impairment that may affect your parent when there is damage to the part of the brain that affects the perception of one’s own illness.

Getting treatment for the problem can help slow down the disease progression and even completely treat some forms of dementia. So it’s important to understand the ways that the elderly can hide dementia symptoms.

Refusing to participate in an activity they once loved.

Refusal to do a chore, play a game that was once simple, or try something new can signify a problem. Mom or Dad may be having trouble remembering how to do activities that were once second-nature, which makes learning new information even more difficult.

Covering up problems.

Whether it’s having trouble driving or interacting with family and friends; spouses often cover their loved ones. They’ll step in and complete tasks, finish sentences or make excuses for their spouses.

Being in denial of their own cognitive impairment.

Insisting they’re fine when there’s an obvious problem often signifies denial. Excuses such as, “This is normal forgetfulness for my age,” or “I’m fine, just tired” are some signs of denial. Making excuses protects the elder in their eyes by convincing himself or herself that everything is fine so they don’t need to worry, when, in reality, they may not be fine and might need either some form of treatment or an alternative living arrangement.

Keeping it a secret for fear of being put into a home.

No one wants to give up their freedom. Seniors will go to great lengths to cover up they are going downhill so that they can remain “independent.” Some studies have indicated that people who have a high intellect and more education can cover up the signs of dementia for a longer period of time. They can even deny it to themselves longer. These people simply start at such a high level of knowledge that others don’t notice a slight slip. This isn’t, of course, always true. Many who have not had higher education are very clever and can cover up memory slips with ease. No two people are the same, so adult children should be on the lookout for signs of deterioration in their parents.

Having anosognosia.

More than denial, anosognosia is a lack of awareness of impairment — most people do not even know that they are ill — and it affects up to 81 percent of those with Alzheimer’s. Anosognosia is still difficult to define, but researchers know if results from anatomical or damage to the part of the brain that affects perception of one’s own illness.

How Does Your Elderly Parent Function?

What matters is how your aging parent functions. If they are having trouble with everyday living and responsibilities, you need to address the problems you’re noticing.

Visiting a neurologist can help sort out the behavior that is not what the family is used to seeing and rule out various causes. Dehydration, infection, medication, and stroke can all cause changes in brain function and behavior. It’s good to find out the reasons for the memory problems and learn whether they can be treated.

If there is no official diagnosis other than “early dementia” or “mild cognitive impairment,” it’s not a signal to the family that everything is OK and no one needs to plan ahead. Rather, it’s time to take a look at Mom or Dad’s future.

Get prepared today, rather than wait for a crisis. Starting a tough conversation is easier than you think.