When is Assisted Living the Right Choice?
assisted living is right for your loved one.
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Assisted living is a big step, and knowing when it is the right choice for your loved one can be difficult. But it’s a choice that can offer a better quality of life for yourself as a caregiver and more comfort and safety for your loved one. Let’s discuss a few important signs to look for in daily life that illustrate how assisted living could benefit your loved one.
Activities like laundry, dishes, cleaning the house, exercise, and bathing can become difficult for loved ones, especially those who have limited mobility, health or cognitive issues. According to the Chicago Tribune, over 35 percent of people over age 65 fall in their homes once a year, increasing to 50 percent for those aged 75 and above. Falling, especially if your loved one lives alone, can be severe. While it can be challenging for loved ones to accept the reality of being unable to take care of their home, caregivers must recognize these difficulties to provide help. If you are a family member of a loved one who lives alone, check in on them to see how they manage their day-to-day lives.
Assisted Living Offers Help for Everyday Needs
At an assisted living facility, residents have access to all the benefits of independent living, but with help available for laundry, cleaning, and bathing services, to name a few. In addition, there are skilled, licensed nurses to care for residents in a safe environment—where falls and other accidents can be prevented, “Far too often families wait until an ‘event’ occurs before they have their loved one move into assisted living,” says Chrissy Smith, Area Operations Director and Administrator at Forest Hill Heights. “Families should consider not waiting for a hospital or rehabilitation stay but instead once they note a decline to move sooner than later so that the potential resident can truly enjoy the amenities offered by assisted living.”
Receiving proper nutrition at any age is a necessity for overall health. According to Feeding America, seniors who are food insecure are more likely to have a higher risk for chronic health conditions and mental health conditions like depression. Not eating enough, not eating the right number of necessary foods, or eating the wrong foods can affect anyone physically and mentally. Bone fragility, weak immune system, risk of hospitalization, and poor healing are some side effects of poor nutrition.
Assisted Living Offers Homestyle Dining and Medication Management
Dining at an assisted living facility allows residents to maintain a proper diet with nutritious meals featuring plenty of options. Smith says, “Many medications require being taken around mealtimes with food. By managing the medications around those mealtimes, taken at the correct dosage, we can see improvement within the health of new residents.” Chef-prepared meals create a proper balance of nutrients, including fresh ingredients and dishes approved by certified dieticians. Menus allow for choice, and many facilities offer an additional menu of daily favorites. Accommodations can also be made for dietary restrictions like no added salt, diabetic, gluten-free, mechanical soft, and others.
Staying social and active through hobbies, friends, and activities is essential. But when people live alone, not being able to move around or drive somewhere can prevent them from enjoying and living their life. The National Institute on Aging describes how research has linked social isolation to health issues like heart disease, obesity, and cognitive decline. “Someone who is developing increasing issues with their activities of daily living, they also may be starting to isolate socially,” says Dr. David Dunn, Forest Hill Heights Medical Director. Everyone needs some socialization to spark their cognitive functions, build relationships, and enjoy life.
Assisted Living Has Activities for Residents to Enjoy Everyday
At an assisted living facility, residents have the option to be around people, but also have their alone time. Assisted living facilities have activity calendars with stimulating activities including trivia, bingo, dancing, movies, happy hours, card games, walks, stretches, and music classes. Being around people with similar interests and situations allows for friendship and a better quality of life.
If you have yet to ask your loved one’s physician whether or not they think assisted living could provide a better quality of life, now is the time. Getting a doctor’s opinion can help a caregiver or a loved one understand that Assisted Living may be the better and safer option. As a caregiver, it may relieve the stress you feel providing daily care and worrying about their safety and well-being. In addition, doctors can help provide medical reasons why it is a safer environment for your loved one.
Assisted Living is Staffed by Highly Trained Professionals
When information and advice come from a personal doctor, it can bring comfort because your loved one trusts them. The nurses and doctors in assisted living facilities are highly trained professionals who can make your loved one feel that same amount of safety and comfort. With years of experience and dedication to the well-being of residents, they are professionals who practice passion. Whether it’s certificates in long-term care administration, certified dementia practitioners, becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, or developing individualized care plans for each resident, the entire care team’s skill and dedication remains focused on residents’ safety and comfort.
Hiring a caregiver can be expensive, and because of this many families help each other out. It can be a constant worry, but you don’t want to upset your loved one by bringing up the topic of assisted living. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, caregivers spend on average 13 days (about 2 weeks) per month on shopping, food, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and medication administration. Colleen Roy, Administrator of Orchard Heights urges caregivers to give themselves the benefit of time in this decision “Please don’t wait until you’re in a crisis to make a decision for your loved one. Give yourself the gift of time, so you are comfortable and able to find the right fit.”
Assisted Living Has Caregivers in Every Department
In assisted living, caregivers can be found in every department. Caring people specialize in different aspects of providing care in dining to activities, and transportation, maintenance, laundry, and housekeeping services, with licensed nurses available 24/7. There are always caregivers helping residents lead happy and productive lives and, most importantly, with independence and dignity.
Choosing Assisted Living is a hard decision to make but it’s a choice that can improve your loved one’s health, social life, and overall quality of life—and allow caregivers and loved ones the time to spend together in more meaningful moments.
If you think we are the right fit for a loved one or friend, book a tour here. We would love to meet you.