Home away from Home. Is assisted living that bad?
In estate planning most people request they stay in their home as long as possible. Seniors often have lived in their homes for decades and find no reason to leave. They are comfortable in their surroundings and reluctant to move. Although the choice that many seniors made in their estate plan is to stay in their home as long as possible it might not always be the best choice for several reasons.
Safety is the major concern for seniors and their families. Assisted living centers provide a communal, safe, comfortable environment for seniors. Many assisted living centers have secured entrances which protect seniors from not only burglars but also unwanted solicitors who can prey on seniors. Just the fact that there are other people around makes communal living safer than being alone in the home.
Nutrition is another reason to look at assisted living. Appetites can diminish as we age. Also, many individuals don’t like to eat alone. While many assisted living centers do offer kitchenettes where seniors can prepare meals, the draw of communal dining is strong. In the dining area not only do seniors get socialization but are also prepared a variety of healthy foods. Many centers will keep an eye on their residents to see how well they eat and determine if supplements are necessary.
Mobility is also another factor that is important. The ability of seniors to get where they want is important. It makes them feel more independent. Many seniors no longer can or choose not to drive due to various reasons. They depend on busy family and friends to take them to where they need to go. This can often make the seniors feel dependent on others. Many centers offer transportation to shopping and community events. Most also arrange for transportation to medical and other appointments. This ability of the senior to arrange their own transportation often gives them a greater feeling of independence.
Another great benefit of assisted living is that the senior does not need to worry about home upkeep or repairs. As seniors get older it becomes more difficult and dangerous for them to do home repairs. A simple fix of changing a light bulb can cause a fall from a ladder resulting in dire consequences. It also opens seniors to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous contractors and repair people. With assisted living, they or a loved one just need to alert the administrator of the complex and the repairs will be done quickly. Many facilities also offer cleaning services to help the senior live in a clean and healthy environment.
Perhaps the most important and valuable asset of living in assisted living is the socialization. Many seniors do not leave their homes because of the difficulty of getting around. Many of their lifelong friends have health problems or have passed away giving them fewer social connections. Social skills can be lost if not used. Many seniors become anxious around others due to the lack of socialization. This can lead to depression and the senior can become a virtual hermit. In assisted living, they are surrounded by others of their own age and life experiences. Many seniors who swear that they would hate living in “that facility” find that once they have adjusted they really enjoy the company of others and become active again. This new found sense of community can often do more for the health of the senior than anything else.
Not all assisted living centers are the same. It is important to do your homework and find the right facility for your or your loved one. Discussing this option with your loved one can be difficult. It is important to go over all the advantages and know that they are going to have questions and fears. By doing your homework and research you can reassure your loved one that they are making a good choice.
You or your loved one may also qualify for benefits that can help them pay for the expense of the assisted living facility. Contact our office for questions on qualifying for assistance.