When older family members — perhaps you yourself — reach a point where some type of help is needed with certain activities of daily living, people typically begin to think about senior care or personalized care. But what does that mean exactly? Some think it means going directly to a nursing home — and who wants to do that?
What’s less understood is that “senior living” is a general term that encompasses various levels of care that correspond to particular needs at a particular time. It starts with Independent Living, where residents require no assistance or care at all, but simply wish to enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle with care available if they should need it later. Then as people grow older, the next identifiable need is often for Assisted Living services. Still higher levels of care include Memory Care for people living with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease; and long-term nursing care for those with medical conditions or who need round-the-clock supervision.
Let’s look more closely at what Assisted Living is, the benefits of Assisted Living, and how to determine when it may be time to consider a move to Assisted Living.
Assisted Living is not full-time nursing care
Do you equate the term “nursing home” to all types of senior living? If so, that’s not accurate, and it could lead to choosing the wrong place to live for yourself or a loved one. Nursing homes focus on long-term care for individuals who are too ill or too frail to manage on their own. An Assisted Living facility, on the other hand, provides help with certain activities of daily living to people who are not ill and who simply wish to continue living independently for as long as they can. You can read how to distinguish nursing homes from Assisted Living here.
Assisted Living offers a combination of housing; support services; social opportunities; access to higher levels of care; and immediate, daily assistance with very specific activities of daily living — personal hygiene, dressing, eating, maintaining continence, and the ability to stand from a seated position and walk independently from one place to another. Professional caregivers are available around-the-clock in Assisted Living to help in the event of an emergency. But residents in Assisted Living have their own apartment and can take advantage of the same amenities, activities and events that community residents in Independent Living enjoy. The only significant difference is they receive assistance as needed with these everyday tasks.
This is why Assisted Living is often an excellent next step for seniors just beginning to struggle with things like grocery shopping, meal preparation, managing their medications, or keeping up with bills and personal finances.
Who should consider Assisted Living?
There are a number of valid reasons for you or a loved one to consider making a move to Assisted Living. Chief among them is that you’re having trouble with everyday tasks you used to handle easily — driving to errands, shopping, cooking, paying bills, or taking medications regularly and safely. If bathing and dressing have become more challenging, then Assisted Living can make your days much easier. If you have severe arthritis, or failing eyesight, or need a cane or walker to get around, Assisted Living might be your best choice. If you’re not eating well — or regularly — Assisted Living can definitely make a difference in your daily nutrition. If any physical limitation is putting your personal safety and well-being at risk, you should investigate and tour the Assisted Living facilities near you.
Other ways of knowing it may be time for Assisted Living
Medical conditions, growing fragility, loneliness, or an inability to care for oneself will force families to find the right living arrangement for their senior loved one. Your physician can perform a clinical assessment of your loved one’s ability to function in daily life, and with your input, help decide whether they are a candidate for Assisted Living. It’s up to you, though, to keep a sharp eye on whether the skills someone needs to live safely and independently are still intact or slowly eroding. This can be a tricky assignment, particularly if you’re making that assessment about yourself.
Family caregivers: Look for these signs
- The house and yard show signs of neglect.
- Rooms are becoming cluttered, disorganized or dirty.
- You see a stack of unpaid bills.
- A loved one now appears disheveled, or practicing poor hygiene.
- There’s no fresh food in the house.
- You sense a mood change or loss of interest in hobbies and activities.
- Medications are being missed, or prescriptions aren’t picked up.
- You notice unexplained bruising, which could indicate falling.
- Your loved one is more forgetful, perhaps missing important appointments.
- You see a noticeable increase or decrease in body weight.
Discover the benefits of Assisted Living at Eagle Senior Living
Our communities offer multiple levels of care and living options, and our experienced advisors can help you find the perfect choice for you or your loved one. We’ll explain all the benefits of Assisted Living and let you see for yourself how Assisted Living at any Eagle Senior Living community is designed to preserve independence longer. Please contact us to learn more about the Eagle Senior Living difference.