The Assisted Living Effect: Better Health and Happiness
While many elderly parents are wary of leaving their family home to go into assisted living, the truth is that an assisted living community could be better than living at home when it comes to quality of life, social life and wellness for seniors.
With age comes responsibility. This statement has new meaning for children with aging parents who notice that dad and mom start to need more care. It is natural to question how to handle changing health needs for our elderly loved ones. But, inevitably, the day comes for adult children who have to assess whether their aging parents need more daily care — or socialization — than they have in their family home environment.
Better Health and Happiness in Assisted Living
Many seniors resist assisted living by stating that they “don’t want to be in a home,” making the situation even more difficult. But, often, a little education about the wonderful assisted living options available today, in addition to touring the communities, can help families and their elderly loved ones choose the best option for their unique situations.
In fact, research has shown that assisted living often trumps living alone as communities have expanded their market by providing fun retirement, socialization and convenience services.
The Senior Living Planning Guide walks families through the major steps of researching and choosing assisted living based on your specific needs and priorities, from touring communities, to managing finances, to moving into a community of choice. Deciding what is best for your family is a personal decision, but luckily there are wonderful resources to help you make the best and informed decision for your aging parents.
Happiness Is a Way of Life in Assisted Living
As we age, our social options change. Assisted living is a great step for seniors who need more socialization and help with daily needs than the family can provide at home.
There are many different types of senior living, as the Senior Living Guide explains, from senior apartments and independent living, to assisted living, memory care and the entire continuum of care one may need as they approach end of life. Each of these options offers wonderful entertainment, fitness and living arrangement for the stage your elderly parent needs.
Here are a few compelling reasons to consider health and quality of life for your loved one:
- Physical Activity and Fitness: Many assisted living communities offer gym equipment, exercise classes and even personal trainers to help with physical therapy and elder fitness.
- Social Activity: Living at home can be isolating, especially if the senior lives alone. It can be difficult for the elderly to maintain their social relationships when they are retired. Assisted living offers socialization through planned activities and outings, such as field trips, dancing and cultural events. Daily living in the common areas also offers fun and socialization for seniors.
- Safe Living Environment: Often home modifications and in-home care are required for a safe living environment in the family home, which can be very expensive. Assisted living is designed for mobility and accessibility while also offering expert care and medical attention, if needed.
- Intellectual Stimulation: Communities offer many opportunities for learning, such as computer classes, book clubs, art classes, gardening and more. Some communities are even located near a college so that residents can take advantage of nearby campus resources, including courses and cultural offerings.
- Chef-Prepared, Nutritious Meals: Senior nutrition is a big problem as many seniors are malnourished these days. Assisted living offers nutritious, often chef-prepared cuisine catered for specific medical conditions and elderly needs. Residents are served three meals a day tailored to the changing health needs of seniors and some luxury communities even offer luxury dining.
- No Stress of Housekeeping and Transportation: Keeping up with daily chores, housekeeping and appointments is often stressful for not only seniors, but also their family. The vast majority of these burdens are relieved in assisted living ad the community offers housekeeping and transportation services.
- Help With Daily Living: Family caregivers are also generally responsible for helping with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and eating when a senior loved one 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 tenets of assisted living is helping older adults with these ADLs so that they can continue to function as independently as possible.
Assisted Living Questions Answered
The Senior Living Planning e-book answers many questions families have about assisted living. Here are some of the main concerns for families with elderly loved ones:
Where Should My Parents Move?
- For Active, Healthy Seniors — You’ll know the differences between 55 and over apartments vs independent living facilities.
- For Seniors Who Need Daily Support — We compare assisted living, residential care homes, memory care and nursing homes.
- For Seniors Who Live at Home — There are options for home care, respite care and adult day care
How Much Does Senior Living Cost?
Families are often concerned about the cost of assisted living and senior care. However, many people are surprised at how affordable senior care really is, particularly when comparing the cost of living at home.
How Does One Pay for Care?
Despite common understanding, there are many ways to pay for senior living. Here are some popular methods:
- Income and savings
- Support from family members
- Long-term care insurance
- Veteran’s benefits
- Reverse mortgage and home equity
- Life insurance policies
Use the online Senior Care Cost Calculator to compare costs.
What Do I Look for When Touring Communities?
The e-book also provides a working checklist as your tour facilities so you can observe and compare important features. For example:
- Safety features — How do they handle medical emergencies? Is there a visiting physician, or a doctor on staff?
- Legal and financial questions — Will you need renters insurance? Are there move-in incentives?
- General observations — Do staff call residents by name? Do residents appear engaged and happy?
Transitioning to Assisted Living
Making the decision to move to assisted living is now much easier since families have learned the benefits of senior health and happiness. The information in the Senior Living Planning Guide also offers a helpful resource to answer questions.
Be prepared to have a family conversation, support your aging loved one emotionally through this new journey, and decide what important documentation and keepsakes should be taken to your loved one’s new home. Don’t allow the emotional and logistical challenges of finding senior living overwhelm you.
Use the Senior Living Planning Guide as your ultimate resource as you walk through the process of discovering your next home. The best decision you can make is a confident one once you’ve thoroughly researched all of your options.
A trusted Senior Living Advisor is also available to answer questions or help you fine-tune your search to find the perfect new home for your aging parent.
We would love to hear more about your experiences moving a parent or senior loved one into assisted living. Share them with us in the comments below.
We Can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.