Until somewhat recently, seniors were faced with only three possible options after retirement. If the person fell ill or developed severe health problems, those options dwindled to two. And for most seniors, neither of the options were very welcoming.
Aging family members can become a financial and emotional burden for their children. This is especially true during times of economic hardship. As such, many elderly choose to maintain an independent life away from their children. But when medical needs become dire, independence may not always be possible.
In the past, the most suitable option in these cases seemed to be a nursing home or a specialized clinic. In the worst cases, family members might also opt for hospice services and residency. Yet, as the average retirement age and life expectancy continue to grow, seniors need a different housing solution.
Assisted living facilities are a massive part of this solution. They allow adults and retirees over 60 to explore hobbies, relationships, and lifelong passions. And all without the strain of maintaining employment or a household. Read on to discover the benefits of assisted living.
What Is an Assisted Living Community?
An assisted living community is a pre-designed neighborhood or complex that consists of many dwelling units or homes. A standard assisted living community features on-site medical care and personal cooks. It also includes enriching activities and plenty of opportunities for personal growth.
Nursing homes are designed to treat and house very sick or very elderly people. But assisted living communities tend to attract retirees. Residents have access to amenities such as sports complexes, golf courses, swimming pools, and gyms. The mood of an assisted living community or facility is very different from that of a nursing home.
Most of these facilities allow entry to anyone over the age of 60. Still, the average age of a resident tends to fall between 75 and 85. Each community will have different rules about age and entry.
Seniors suffering from feelings of isolation, boredom, or poor health can all enjoy an ALC. But, there are lots of extra benefits to consider.
Benefits of Assisted Living Communities
The benefits of residing in an assisted living facility or community are many. While all these benefits affect the senior resident, they also affect the resident’s loved ones.
Knowing that your family member is enjoying themselves and is well-cared for is a potent source of personal contentment. Continue reading to discover some of the most valuable benefits of moving into an assisted living community.
1. There’s Always Someone There to Help
When an elderly family member lives with relatives, there may be extended periods where they are the only person at home. Seniors that value their independence over their safety may boast about how many things they can do by themselves. Still, it’s important to remember that this independence can backfire during an emergency.
If an elderly loved one falls while alone at home, it may be impossible for them to reach a telephone to call for help. And individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s may wander away from home and become lost if left alone for more than a few minutes. So, it can be difficult for family members to keep watch over their elderly loved ones.
An assisted living community is always brimming with fresh faces. There’s always someone around to help during an emergency. Nurses, teachers, and the residents themselves are keen to protect and support one another. So, seniors never have to fear to go very long without someone checking in on them.
While this practice helps to reduce feelings of loneliness, it’s primary purpose is health and safety. If your loved one finds themselves in an emergency or crisis and cannot find help, a team of professionals will come to their rescue.
Residents with specialized medical needs can customize their treatment options within the community. Not only are neighbors likely to notice if you are missing from daily groups and activities, but so are the staff. This is especially helpful for residents with memory-related conditions.
Assisted living communities strive to maintain the highest quality medical equipment and personnel. They include many of the associated fees within the total cost of the residency. Residents don’t pay hospital bills, rent, and utilities separately. Instead, they can enjoy having all their fees displayed, itemized, and ready for payment.
2. Residents Are Part of a Strong Community
Individuals that decide to join an assisted living community can enjoy the sense of community that each one fosters. Many seniors suffer through periods of depression, isolation, and loneliness when living alone. Being a part of a robust and vibrant community can help any elderly individual regain their passion for life. It can also help with making new connections with the people around them.
Many residents quickly find that they have common interests and hobbies. Seniors that have spent many years living alone may find themselves making fast friends. People they would never have approached in a different setting become great pals. These changes can help boost self-confidence and support a feeling and belonging.
Individuals that feel bonded with their community are more likely to take part in activities and events. They are also more likely to meet new people and make friends and give charitably. Involved individuals make active efforts to improve that community. And for those who are seeking a little friendship and social interaction, a supportive community is crucial.
That’s because a sense of community helps to remind us that we are not alone in the world. It also reminds us that all people struggle to overcome hardships and difficulties. When an individual realizes that they are part of a large group who have similar life experiences, they can set aside their loneliness. Embracing positive change becomes easy.
3. Excellent Nutrition and Fitness Opportunities
Most assisted living communities have competitive fitness programs and facilities. They may also have nutritionist-approved cafeterias and menus. Seniors aren’t confined to small, cramped spaces in modern living facilities. Instead, they have access to some of the most up-to-date fitness equipment and workout areas.
Active seniors tend to keep their memory, energy, and passion for life better than sedentary seniors. An assisted living facility offers the equipment and staff to help seniors maintain an active lifestyle.
Improved fitness in elderly individuals has been proven to help increase energy, balance, and strength. Regular exercise can also prevent or delay certain diseases and fight mental health disorders. Seniors with joint inflammation or arthritis can enjoy exercising in a community swimming pool.
Lap swimming and basic water aerobics classes are a great way to embrace getting fit without adding any unneeded wear and tear to your body. Water activities help to reduce strain on joints and muscles.
4. More Freedom and More Fun
At an assisted living facility, seniors can choose among a wide selection of activities. Some of the most common activities offered by assisted living communities include:
- Movie premiere screenings
- Cooking classes
- Holiday celebrations
- Karaoke competitions
- Pet therapy events
- Dancing lessons
- Artistic instruction
- Exercise events and challenges
- Tabletop game nights
- Pool parties
- Visiting choirs
- Field trips
Each facility tends to offer at least one specialty activity that differentiates it from nearby locations. The right location depends on the precise needs and preferences of both the prospective resident and the involved family members.
And while bingo is still a prevalent activity in many assisted living communities (and many bingo nights offer attractive prizes or raffles), it’s not the only thing available to residents nowadays. Many facilities are amping up their response to late-onset depression by varying their resident schedules and activity offerings.
5. Plenty of Options From Which to Choose
Residents with special medical or dietary needs are catered to in an assisted living facility. Typically, when a family member or senior citizen begins the paperwork process to gain acceptance into a facility, there is a portion of the paperwork that requests information about special needs or customized support.
This support can begin from a purely medical standpoint, but it can also extend to include all aspects of daily life. For example, a resident with severe PTSD symptoms and liver disease will need a very different kind of care and treatment than a resident who is overweight and diabetic.
Often, community or facility staff work with the resident and the direct family members to design a customized care plan. Utilizing this option can ensure that an elderly loved one makes a smooth and pleasant transition from living alone or with family members to living in an assisted living facility.
6. Safe and Available Transport
Many assisted living facilities have transport systems and options, including facility-owned and operated buses or vans. Senior residents use this transportation to go out shopping, dine at restaurants, and do nearly anything else their heart desires. This saves residents thousands of dollars in annual automotive expenses and can be an excellent opportunity for those with poor eyesight to take back their freedom of movement.
Some communities even sponsor travel events. These events can be based within the continental United States (such as wine tours, park tours, etc.), or they can be destination trips to foreign locations. These travel options may be the first time that many residents have had the time and opportunity to explore exotic locales and domestic wonders.
No matter the destination, both senior residents and family members can feel assured about transport safety. Professional drivers and medical staff often ride together to ensure complete protection and medical assistance in case of emergencies.
7. Privacy and Peace
Knowing that your elderly family member is being cared for at all hours of the day can help any concerned loved one feel at peace. The fact that their senior family member is also having a fantastic time, making connections, and enjoying every second of their stay is another piece of comfort.
Seniors can feel relieved to know that their needs aren’t a burden on their children or family. They can enjoy themselves freely without any feelings of guilt or shame. Also, residents of an assisted living facility can finally gain the privacy they’ve lost while boarding with family members.
As life expectancy continues to increase, it’s becoming evident that many retirees are just as active and socially involved as individuals in their twenties. Old age doesn’t have to be a death sentence to a person’s privacy, peace, or independence. An assisted living community can offer all of the primary and personal needs that seniors so desperately need and deserve.
Give Your Loved One the Care They Deserve
Housing and caring for a loved one doesn’t have to be a struggle. An assisted living facility or community may be an affordable option that could grant all parties a little peace of mind and comfort. The benefits of assisted living are diverse, but they all combine to help ensure the happiness of loved ones.
The benefits of assisted living far outweigh the disadvantages with most communities offering a variety of tailored services that meet the precise needs of their senior tenants. And while most people get them confused, an assisted living community is not the same thing as a nursing home, and it’s nothing like a hospice.
Family members are welcome to visit loved ones at these residences and enjoy the luxurious amenities on offer. Assisted living communities grant seniors the freedom they deserve, the activities they enjoy, and the care they need.
If you’re interested in learning more about family issues and solutions, check out our other articles!