When is the Right Time to Look for Assisted Living Care?
As you or your loved one gets older, you may wonder about assisted living options. The thought of moving into one can be worrisome for older adults and their families. Changing residences can cause stress, no matter a person's life stage. However, you can feel reassured knowing that many senior living communities anticipate the concerns of new residents and strive to make the transition as smooth as possible.
In this article, we're going to walk through what an assisted living community is, the difference between assisted living and other types of senior living options, what a modern senior living community offers residents and some signs that it's the right time to start looking for a community.
What comes to mind when you think about senior living? You may envision a hospital-like environment and residents sharing rooms. That vision better describes a nursing home than assisted living. Nursing homes provide older adults with medical and personal care in a clinical setting.
Assisted living communities, on the other hand, provide personal care and help with the activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, etc. to seniors in a home-like setting. The communities are often more like resorts than hospitals. Residents enjoy amenities, such as private residences, opportunities for socializing, day trips into the surrounding community, wellness programs, chef-prepared meals and fitness centers. What happens if you or a loved one needs more significant medical assistance in the future? Some assisted living facilities contract with nursing agencies to provide the option of on-site medical support to their residents, so there may be no need for them to move.
Assisted Living vs. Home Health Care
With assisted living, an older adult moves to a private residence within a community and has on-site access to care, dining facilities, social events, fitness facilities, and more. Caregivers are always on-site. Some assisted living communities contract with nursing agencies to provide the option of on-site medical support.
Home health care differs from assisted living. A senior remains in their home with home health care, and a nurse visits them to provide medical care. Seniors can also hire a caregiving provider for personal care assistance and companionship.
How Does Independent Living Differ from Assisted Living?
When searching for senior living, you may come across independent living and assisted living communities. They can look similar and provide some of the same benefits. They both offer private residences, amenities and a vibrant social community.
However, the main difference between independent living and assisted living is that assisted living communities provide non-medical care to residents, such as reminding residents to take their medications, helping with bathing and personal care and providing nutritious meals. Additionally, many assisted living communities offer mind and memory care programs for those with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Signs It's Time to Look for Assisted Living
Even if you aren't immediately considering assisted living for loved ones, it can be beneficial to know what a community has to offer—so you feel prepared when the time comes. Here are some common signs that it is time to consider assisted living for your loved one.
Needs Help Managing Their Medication
Some seniors have several medications with differing protocols, such as taking it with a meal or at specific times. All that can be hard for anyone to remember. The caregivers at an assisted living community can remind residents to take their medications and help them follow prescription regimens.
Has Fallen at Home
Falling can be scary for older adults, especially if they are alone and can't get up to call for help. Not to mention, some falls require medical attention. With assisted living, you can feel assured knowing someone is nearby to help.
Requires Assistance with Bathing or Other Personal Care Tasks
Caregivers at an assisted living community can help residents safely bathe, dress and groom. Associates, such as those in Benchmark Assisted Living communities, help seniors with hygiene in a way that maintains their dignity. In addition, many assisted living communities like ours offer on-site salons for spa-like personal care.
Sometimes older adults forget to eat, don't feel very hungry, eat less-nutritious foods and sometimes getting to the supermarket can also be difficult. Plus, getting to the supermarket for groceries can be challenging for seniors. Assisted living communities take that stress away by preparing healthy meals in restaurant-style settings.
Has Alzheimer's or Dementia
Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia make it challenging for older adults to live at home. If they live alone, it can be difficult and dangerous. Additionally, caring for a loved one with dementia can be stressful for family members. Assisted living communities offering memory care programs provide 24-hour care in a secure environment.
Knowing how to respond to residents with Alzheimer's or dementia is an essential part of caring for them. Benchmark Senior Living associates go through our award-winning ConnectFirst training program, which teaches them has how to connect with residents in a meaningful way.
Seniors who live alone may have few opportunities to socialize, causing loneliness and even depression. However, moving into an assisted living community can be very positive and life-changing for many residents. Communities offer ample opportunities for socializing, with social hours, engaging classes, outdoor concerts and other events. On a side note, if you or a loved one doesn't need caregiving, independent living offers similar social opportunities.
Selecting an assisted living community can feel overwhelming and Benchmark is here to help. Read our online resources to learn more about your senior living choices.
Benchmark Senior Living is the largest provider of assisted living, mind and memory care and respite care in the Northeast. Find a Benchmark community or contact one of our caring associates at 888-805-9962 for more information.