America’s population is aging, and in a few more years, many people will need care that their children—who may be busy with their own jobs and families—can’t provide. If an elderly relative is dealing with dementia or the death of a spouse, their needs may be even greater. Caring for an aging loved one comes with significant challenges, and that’s where senior living facilities come in. Here, we’ll look at the pros and cons of assisted living and what you should look for in a facility.
What Is Senior Living?
Retirement communities, nursing homes, and senior living facilities such as those found at www.PegasusSeniorLiving.com are all options for the elderly. The real difference between the options is the type of care provided. For instance, a retirement community is for healthy, active seniors who don’t need help with daily activities, and there are no on-site caregivers unless they’re privately hired.
Assisted living facilities offer more in-depth care for adults who need help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, meals, medication, and housekeeping. These facilities also provide transportation to medical appointments and shopping centers if it’s needed. Most residents are independent, but there are nurses and caregivers on staff to provide assistance when necessary. In nursing homes, residents typically need continual care and medical attention.
Find a Centrally-Located Facility
Typically, seniors want to stay close to loved ones or familiar areas. However, a facility’s location also makes a significant difference in the way it operates. For instance, some areas limit the level of medical assistance a facility’s staff may offer, and if a senior needs around-the-clock help, an independent community may not be the right choice. For independent seniors, these limitations are ideal, as facilities focus more on socialization than on medical care.
The country’s smallest senior living facility only has four beds; the largest has approximately 500. Though size definitely matters, the resident-to-staff ratio may be more important. A facility’s size may also affect the services it offers. For example, a large facility may offer more amenities, while a small one might have more personalized services. Consult a senior living expert to find out how a facility’s size affects the quality of care.
If a senior living facility offers nursing services, will it allow a patient to remain after they’ve exhausted their assets? Though no one plans to run out of money, even a senior with a substantial nest egg may quickly go broke. Ask if the facility accepts Medicaid; some communities do not accept new Medicaid clients, but will allow a current resident to stay if they spend their savings and must switch to Medicaid.
Look for a Facility With a Nutrition Program
In independent senior communities, residents prepare their own meals, but at other senior living facilities, residents have nutritious, hot meals that are prepared daily. Some provide restaurant-style service to those who can’t cook, while some residents may elect to eat in a communal, cafeteria-style dining room. When evaluating senior living options, choose one where the nutritional program meets your loved one’s needs and limitations.
Choose a Secure, Safe Senior Living Facility
Most homes aren’t designed with the elderly in mind. There are stairs to stumble on, door handles that may be tough for arthritic hands to open, and high shelves that pose a fall risk. Senior living facilities focus on these concerns, which makes them safer than the average home.
Find Social Stimulation
As a person ages, it becomes more difficult for them to maintain friendships. Therefore, many seniors become isolated and they spend most of their time alone. Constant loneliness may lead to depression as well as mental and physical decline. However, in a senior living facility, a resident will have plenty of chances to socialize. They can take part in activities, become a volunteer, or chat with neighbors over a nice meal. By finding the right facility, it’s easy to help a senior family member form friendships, stay engaged, and age gracefully.
The Community’s Personality
Senior living facilities aren’t the listless, dreary places many people envision. Today’s facilities feel more like luxury resorts, with swimming pools, gardens, fitness centers, and more. Others feel more home-like, with cozy fireplaces and coffee shops. When choosing a facility for a loved one, tour as many as possible. Every community is different, and it may take time to find the right fit.
An Easy Transition
The prospect of losing one’s independence may be quite daunting, and many seniors resist the idea. However, everyone moves through different stages of life, and senior living facilities should reflect this fact. Some centers are included in a broader continuing care community, which makes it easy for residents to move into a skilled nursing center when necessary. When choosing a facility for a senior loved one, think of their current and future needs.
Care for seniors with dementia is sometimes known as memory care. Though there’s not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, today’s memory care programs help patients maintain a higher quality of life. Consult a physician if you can answer “yes” to any of these questions about a senior family member:
- Do they need constant supervision for their own safety?
- Do they exhibit tough-to-manage behaviors such as aggression?
- Is it difficult to keep them engaged in meaningful, relevant activities?
- Is caring for the person taking a toll on your career or family life?
- Are caretakers developing stress-related illnesses?
If you’ve answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, it’s time to consult a senior living and memory care expert.
Senior living is a good option for many elderly people. These communities encourage social interaction, keep people active and well-nourished, and provide a secure, safe environment for greater peace of mind. By doing the research and weighing various options, it’s possible to find the ideal fit for a senior’s budget and needs. Though choosing a community may be overwhelming, following the tips in this guide may make the choice a bit easier.