By Amanda Kaestner
Opting for assisted living isn’t always what it seems like. It doesn’t have to be all grey, monotonous, and terribly boring as it’s often depicted in those horror or dramatic films and there are several ways to approach it. But the decision to move into an assisted living environment, either made by oneself or with family members, isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly or be made on the spot.
Depending on the level of care desired, the staff at an assisted living facility can help with a variety of activities including those associated with daily living such as bathing, using the restroom, dressing, eating and general “getting around.”
There are always doctors and medical tools at hand in case a true emergency comes up, which can be a huge relief.
Best of all, it’s also full of other seniors. If you or your beloved elder is able to harmonize with other seniors in the home to exercise, play cards, take walks and share old stories, then maybe it’d be the perfect choice to opt for a smaller community property with residents that share the same interests and stages in life.
On a less personal basis, everything is taken care of and can be expected.
- Meals will be available at predictable times in a common area precluding the need to shop, cook and clean up.
- Housekeeping and laundry options are available with little or no fuss.
- Safe transportation is available for appointments, shopping excursions and entertainment options.
- Staff members at an assisted living facility are also available 24/7 to help with the management of medications and help with exercise and wellness programs.
And these are only the advantages of traditional care. In fact, according to Life Matters, more and more senior living care specialists are becoming more flexible for senior living demands and are able to offer traditional care with active schedules and programs, as well as in-home care for full-time, part-time, or even intermittent care for patients of all backgrounds.
In regards to in-home assisted living, there are many more flexible options depending on how much attention you think will be needed.
Perhaps you only need a caregiver to come by once or twice a week with physical or speech therapy. Or maybe care is only needed during the day or evening whenever a family member can’t be there. Even if care is needed 24/7, using an available room in the house to allow a caregiver to live on the property can be managed.
Caregivers are responsible and have the same tasks as they would in a traditional facility to keep not only the patient, but the environment in good condition as well.
So you’ll have assistance with running the household if needed, doing activities and being active, preparing meals and getting around – all within the comfort of your own home. You can still walk outside and sit on the same porch you’ve used for decades and sip on your coffee or tea and then have your caregiver on site to give you your medicine or treatment plan ready whenever needed.
The main downside to living in an assisted living facility revolves around the perceived loss of freedom. In addition, while some are more than happy to see their immediate family less frequently to become more acquainted with other seniors in similar conditions, many find their original home to be far more comfortable and would rather remain there than in a new and unfamiliar environment.
On a related note, some seniors are simply not suitable for being restricted to a schedule. The comfort of their personal home setting where they can sleep in or take naps at their leisure, watch their favorite shows and have a quick snack or full meal whenever they so desire is something that’s difficult not to miss.
On a personal level, an assisted facility is a relatively busy place with medical staff and other residents. Seniors used to living alone may have a hard time adjusting to the semi-private nature of the facility, especially if they have a roommate.
And although having a roommate was fun in college, as an elderly adult, and at pretty much any age, family is always preferred.
For traditional assisted living, visitation is so much more limited. Some facilities have designated visitor hours and regulations and some are a little more lenient on these matters. At least opting for in-home assisted living allows family members to visit and stay as long as they care which is perfect for holidays and random gatherings.
All in all, there are plenty of options and ways to go about approaching the idea of assisted living.
There’s a lot of perks that come along with traditional full-service care at a specialized facility. At the same time, in-home assisted living can offer more variation in care depending on how often you think you’ll need a caregiver present. But both can have their downsides. Heck, admitting to any form of extra care in order to get by can feel negative.
So consider the options based on what your medical needs are, the type of lifestyle you want to continue to live, and which forms of care can best meet those needs.
Assisted care doesn’t have to be a sad, gloomy way to live, so explore your options and see which choice can offer you the comfort that you deserve.