At some point in your life, living a separate life from your family and loved ones is necessary, if not commonplace. As people get older, they’ll need special services such as personal care, medication management, housekeeping, meal preparation, and many more. For older individuals living alone, these activities are pretty difficult to accomplish on their own, which can pose numerous risks for health and safety.
Thankfully, a specific type of housing is perfect for the elderly, providing both personal and medical care, known as assisted living.
What Is Assisted Living?
An assisted living facility provides shelter and accommodation to seniors and delivers personal and medical care services. These institutions are designed in a residential setting to make the elderly feel like they’re at home, but living with several other older adults.
It’s paramount to assess the need for assisted living as early as families can, and not only when they’re in sudden need of one. Because of hastily finding a good assisted living facility, most families settle for otherwise substandard options, thus putting their elderly in unsatisfactory living conditions. When your senior describes it as a friendly and engaging community, then you know that you’ve come to the right facility.
Pros of Assisted Living
Assisted living comes with its pros and cons. Families shouldn’t hesitate to bring their elderly into assisted living institutions because of the following advantages:
1. Ensures Safety and Security
Slip-and-fall accidents are the leading cause of death among the senior American population. They account for 40% of nursing home admissions and 25% of hospital admissions. Ensuring the safety and security of its occupants are the top priority of assisted living institutions.
For instance, assisted living communities are equipped with safe and accessible amenities such as stairway hand railings, flat thresholds, raised toilets, ramps, and grab bars—all designed for slip-and-fall prevention.
Seniors are also common victims of theft and break-ins at their own home, but living in assisted living communities help protect them from these crimes.
2. Boosts Social Morale
In an assisted living facility, the elderly can enjoy several activities they’ve once experienced during their prime. Since individuals in an assisted facility face retirement, they have a lot of time to do their hobbies and interests together, thus improving social connections and relationships with one another.
Here are some of the best social activities that people in assisted living can participate in:
- Low-impact physical activities such as yoga and Zumba
- Book-reading activities
- Friendly poker and card competitions
- Movie nights
3. Helps Combat Intellectual Decline
Cognitive deterioration is inevitable in older people, but fortunately, it can be slowed down in various ways. Assisted living facilities design mind-stimulating activities that encourage the brain to get active and combat intellectual decline manifested in degenerative disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Most of these activities typically involve learning a new skill, as older people tend to only do things that they’re comfortable with. Assisted living facility workers can invite them to participate in physical activities, brain training games, woodworking, using technology, and the likes.
Cons of Assisted Living
On the other hand, some may not consider assisted living due to unfortunate news that they learn or hear about. Therefore, it’s crucial to observe extra caution when choosing an assisted living facility and be wary of these disadvantages:
1. Soaring Care Costs
With all these benefits of living in assisted living communities, you’ll have to pay a significant price to provide care to your loved ones.
According to Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey, assisted living had a national average cost of USD$48,000 annually, broken down to USD$4,000 per month and USD$133 per day. Assisted living costs are already quite costly for an average American, and it’s expected to increase yearly as living costs climb.
2. Lack of Privacy
Assisted living communities may consist of apartments, shared quarters, or individual rooms. Shared quarters are common in many facilities, which means that your senior family member shares a large room with other older adults.
It can be an issue for seniors who prefer privacy in their own rooms, which means that you’ll have to pay for more expensive living costs. Unfortunately, in some facilities, you may not even be guaranteed a private room.
Senior living communities exist in all shapes and sizes, with nursing homes and assisted living being the most popular types. Compared to nursing homes that offer round-the-clock care for older individuals, assisted living ensures that seniors are in good health and shape while still giving them the independence of doing the things they’ve loved and grown accustomed to.
If you’re planning to move your senior family member into assisted living, it’s worth assessing the pros and cons that come with living in it to give your senior a happy and comfortable retirement life.
We can Help! Our local advisors can help your family make a confident decision about senior living.