If your loved one is considering a move to a senior living community, the range of choices may seem overwhelming. Assisted living communities, one popular senior care option, offer assistance with the personal care tasks your loved one may need, alongside a variety of leisure options and levels of care. These communities combine the benefits of senior care with the social aspects of an active senior living community.
In assisted living, a team of qualified caregivers and attentive staff work together to create and follow a care plan for each resident. Assisted living facilities offer an array of features to fit the needs and wants of senior residents. On-site services and amenities can include personal care, restaurant-style dining, security features, scheduled activities, and entertainment spaces such as bars and movie theaters. When it’s time to consider assisted living options, many families are thrilled to learn that their loved one will have the help and support they need to remain independent for as long as possible at these communities.
“The amount of burden it takes off of the resident to not have to manage their life and instead focus on the good things — it’s actually magical,” says Rachel Levy, a social worker and national account manager for A Place for Mom.
From help with daily routines to providing a wide range of social opportunities that ward off loneliness, the services and amenities at assisted living communities can help seniors live their best lives.
The staff at an assisted living community plays a crucial role in helping residents feel safe, supported, happy, and, ultimately, more independent. Nurses and caregivers typically receive ongoing elder-care training, with a specific focus on helping seniors with their activities of daily living (ADLs). Through these services, assisted living staff empower seniors to be as independent as possible.
Depending on your senior loved one’s specific needs, caregivers may provide support with the following:
Many communities conduct an assessment of care level before move-in. If you’re unsure of how much assistance you or your senior relative requires, or whether a community can meet those needs, you can discuss your concerns during your initial assessment.
Rather than dealing with the hassles of grocery shopping, cooking, and monitoring nutrition, seniors in assisted living simply visit the community’s dining areas. In addition to a social boost at mealtimes, dining areas give seniors access to delicious, nutrient-packed dishes.
Many senior living communities employ culinary experts, including a chef and registered dietitian, to provide a restaurant-quality dining experience with an emphasis on nutrition and taste. For example, at Sunrise Senior Living, a company with hundreds of communities, menu favorites include Greek salad, crab cakes, green beans amandine, and herb-roasted chicken.
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Meal programs in assisted living communities typically offer the following benefits:
Less housework means less stress, and nearly all assisted living communities include housekeeping with rent. These cleaning services give seniors more time to focus on their happiness, health, and well-being:
Is your senior loved one having trouble managing safety at home? One of the most important assisted living services is 24/7, on-site staffing and enhanced safety for senior residents. This means staff can be there to handle urgent needs or emergencies at any time, day or night.
Expect assisted living communities to use modern security systems and provide the following safety and accessibility features:
The loneliness that comes from senior isolation stands out as one of the most common problems older adults face. A rich and stimulating social schedule can remedy this with activities to fit a wide range of interests. In addition to on-site social events, communities often plan outings to local museums, concerts, parks, and other attractions. Such services may not be your first concern when choosing a community, but social opportunities are a major benefit of assisted living.
Activities in assisted living communities focus on three core needs of aging adults:
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According to research in the journal Dementia and Neuropsychologia, staying involved physically, intellectually, and socially gives seniors a significant defense against cognitive decline.
One goal of assisted living communities is to provide every resident with a social outlet. Care providers talk to incoming residents and their families about individual passions and interests, often developing programming just for them. These initial conversations also help staff know which activities to encourage a new resident to try.
A soothing change of scenery is never far in assisted living, with multiple rooms and creative spaces to lift residents’ moods with pampering, leisure, and relaxation. When you see dedicated spaces for a variety of activities, it is a good sign that a community has robust programming your loved one can look forward to.
Depending on the community, amenities can include a variety of options on-site:
If you want to find out more about what life in an assisted living community looks like, reach out to A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors. These experts can answer any questions you may have about the differences between assisted living, nursing homes, or even memory care and can help find the best option for you and your family.
Dementia and Neuropsychologia. “Cognitive performance and engagement in physical, social and intellectual activities in older adults: The FIBRA study.”
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