5 Reasons to Consider Assisted Living Apartments for Your Loved One
With 10,000 people in this country turning 65 years old every day, and the share of older adults predicted to rise from 14.5 percent in 2014 to 21.7 percent in 2020, one of the largest challenges facing society is senior housing. Where will these older adults live, and are current housing options up to the task? The issue is compounded by the fact that the majority of older adults are pushing back on the idea of conventional nursing homes and leaning more towards assisted living apartments.
Assisted living apartments may be the right choice for your loved one if they are in a transitional stage of aging. For instance, either they, or you as their caregiver, may feel uncomfortable with them managing all of their medical and personal needs alone, yet they are not in a situation where they require constant monitoring and care. Or when your aging parents and loved ones live far away, assisted & independent living communities can relieve the stress of being far from your elderly loved ones and parents.
In other words, independent living is still extremely important, but a certain number of accommodations are also required. They often represent an ideal compromise for loved ones who neither want to move into an intense, medical care arrangement, nor overtax their relatives as designated caregivers at home. There can be many advantages to this new living arrangement, including the following five reasons.
The Privacy of Their Own Home
Because adults residing in assisted living apartments do not require continuous care, they get to enjoy privacy and dignity which are important aspects of making a house feel like a home. Whether they are looking for a quiet place to sit and talk with a spouse, friends, and family, or a safe and cozy spot where they can have a chance to collect their thoughts, they will find those qualities in their new home.
Yet, there are some senior living communities that do not allow for independence and privacy as these attributes are simply not priority for these companies. Understandably, many seniors and their families are concerned about this aspect of senior living, as they feel very strongly about having a place to call their own. Ask your community of interest how exactly they enable residents to maintain their independence and privacy.
This is why assisted living apartments can be so very valuable to seniors and their families. They generally will have all the trappings of any other home – a kitchenette space, a bathroom, a quiet bedroom, and a living room area. There will be plenty of room for their belongings, but not an intimidatingly large floorplan like their current home may have. They will feel comfortable in the space - not overwhelmed by it. Most importantly, the space will be their own, and they can craft it to feel like “home” however they would like.
One of the main concerns that caregivers express before transitioning their loved one into assisted living is medical care. Assisted living communities are not medical establishments, but most have medical care available 7 days a week, typically in the form of on-site nurses. Having nurses on call at all times can help in several ways. First and foremost, having a medical professional nearby to assess an emergent situation is tremendously valuable and can ensure that your loved one gets the care they need right away. Secondly, some seniors need help with medication management, and having nurses oversee dosage and timing will keep your loved one remain on a proper medication schedule.
Of course, physical and emotional health can also be improved through socializing and participating in activities. Loneliness and depression are under-recognized issues of aging, but the impact they can have on quality of life is huge. This is why assisted living communities offer activities such as classes, games, special events, holiday celebrations, and even off-site trips.
Creating a Sense of Community
As seniors grow older, they may lose a spouse, a dear friend, or even a neighbor whom they often relied on for support. If your loved one is limited in their mobility or is otherwise unable or unwilling to get out and meet new people, their overall health may begin to decline as a result.
In assisted living, your loved one will get to know their new neighbors in the community. And because there is a level of independence, they will be able to plan visits and get-togethers as they see fit. This newfound network of friends and peers can push back any feelings of isolation that may have begun to set in.
Apartments Designed for Seniors
So, what sets assisted living apartments from any other apartment around town? That is a great question, and the answers to it are extremely important to your loved one's quality of life.
Because these buildings are designed with seniors in mind, there are several features which will maximize mobility and minimize injury risk. For instance, the entire community is wheelchair accessible, meaning limited mobility will not be a barrier to your loved one getting where they need to go. Lighting is also optimized to help those with declining vision.
Shelving is arranged in such a way that anything on them will be easy to reach and will not require balancing on a chair, or any other situation which might induce a fall. And of course, every area of the community has clearly marked emergency exits to keep everyone safe.
When seniors talk about potentially downsizing to an apartment, the problem is that the apartment was not designed with any type of accommodation for them. While the smaller space may feel more manageable, it does not necessarily have the "user-friendliness" that it could.
Assisted living apartments are attractive to many families because the level of care given is completely customizable. If you have been in charge of the care of a loved one for some time, you already know how their needs may change over time. What they need this month may be completely different from what they need next month. A community which recognizes and can react to these changes is very valuable not only in terms of safety, but also to overall quality of life.
Quality of Life
Getting older doesn’t mean life loses its meaning. Assisted living throws off the concept of biding time until death and instead offers aging loved ones the possibility of maintaining their lifestyle and independence while simultaneously gaining access to the care they need to live well. In other words, assisted living is not about removing freedom but instead about providing the amount of help necessary for seniors to thrive -- all within spaces they can call their own.
While nursing home care may be the right option in cases where individuals require around-the-clock professional care, it’s far from the only option for today's rapidly aging population. Those who value their independence are likely to find that assisted living communities offer a “best of both worlds” solution.
Of course, these assisted living apartments are just one of the many options available to families. The best thing you can do when making a decision about care for a loved one is to research as much as possible. To help you gather useful information, we have prepared a free download titled "Your Guide to Senior Living." In it, the different stages of senior care are discussed in detail, and the descriptions will help you better pinpoint the best choice for your loved one. Download this guide today, and begin on your journey toward a better, safer, happier life for the senior you love.
About Chelsea Sayegh
I started working as a Marketing Coordinator for United Methodist Homes in October of 2016. I work on public relations, website management and community planning for their award winning independent and assisted living communities. As a graduate of Ursinus College with a degree in Media and Communications and a passion for serving nonprofits, United Methodist Homes has become my home away from home. I spend my days working in a community filled with smiling faces, helpful hands and wonderful residents. I have a passion for assisting seniors and take great pride in being able to promote a company with such a positive mission and values. As an individual committed to learning and growing, I have jumped right into this exciting career!
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.