Seniors in Independent Living Communities More Likely to Have Unmet Needs Than Assisted Living Residents

Independent living

People who live in independent senior living communities were recently found to be more likely to have unmet needs than those who live in assisted senior living facilities or even in their own homes, a new study has found.

According to a December 1 McKnight’s article, the University of Michigan study found that 42% of seniors who live in an assisted living setting said they had an unmet need for help with everyday activities like cleaning, cooking, bathing and other tasks.

The percentage is so high for assisted living communities not necessarily because the communities are failing to provide the right care to their residents, but because seniors who choose assisted living tend to be more frail and in need of assistance than the general population of senior citizens.

“Unmet needs appear to be higher in assisted living settings because they serve a frailer clientele than other settings,” Vicki Freedman, Ph.D., the study’s author, told McKnight’s. “Once those differences are taken into account, assisted living settings have lower rates of unmet need than traditional community settings for several tasks.”

So why are so many people in independent living centers not having their needs met?

It might just be because these communities allow seniors their own private living space similar to an apartment where they are completely independent. Independent living centers don’t offer help with meals, personal care or medication, even if a resident does need that help.

Perhaps least surprising was the study’s finding that seniors who still lived in their own home demonstrated the lowest level of unmet needs, McKnight’s reports.

As the number of seniors today who choose to move into a senior living option continues to increase, it’s important to monitor the trend found in this study’s findings and possibly adjust the level of assistance offered in independent living centers if residents’ need is high enough.

Do you agree with the study’s findings? How do you think independent senior communities can help residents with their individual needs? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below. Read more articles like this.

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