As people grow older, some chronic diseases like high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s make it more and more difficult to continue living alone. Most people put off the decision to move from the family home into assisted living facilities, whether they’re making the choice for themselves or for their elderly parents or relatives. Senior living communities nowadays offer all the advantages of independent living, combined with 24-hour medical care. In fact, assisted living is specifically designed to be the best of both worlds.
Aging and chronic diseases
With age, the incidence of chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s increases. Other diseases like arthritis, diabetes and stroke limit activity and make round the clock care necessary. Alzheimer’s in particular is a cause of concern for older people and their families. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., but there is no treatment or cure as yet.
Given the nature of work and life in the contemporary U.S., it’s not always possible for families to live with or even near their older parents or relatives. The need for long-term care is inevitable, even though it’s something people prefer not to face. Age Wave reports that only 37% of people over the age of 50 think that they will need long-term care in the future, though in fact, double that number, or 70%, actually do need such care. Assisted care facilities offer the best compromise between the desire for independence and the need for long-term care.
Choosing elder housing: the issues
Independent living facilities offer senior apartments with round-the-clock nursing supervision, all meals, and assistance with everyday activities and medication management. They also have structured activities for residents, such as different types of exercise, gardening, and art. New research shows that people are happier in retirement when they enjoy good health and can keep busy with three or four different activities.
Assisted living facilities offer all facilities for a happy retirement, plus any necessary medical care. Some communities are specifically designed for seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or memory loss, or having special medical needs. About 75% of assisted living residents have two or more of the ten leading chronic conditions. Nearly 40% needed assistance with three or more basic activities like bathing and dressing.
Their staff at retirement communities are trained and qualified to handle any and all situations which might arise. They create a pleasant day-to-day atmosphere and are equipped to handle all kinds of emergencies.
Senior apartments offer independence and care
Most people are surprised to find that they actually enjoy the experience of independent living facilities. As many as 89.3% of independent living residents say that they would rate their overall satisfaction “good” or “excellent”. And 84.5% say that they would recommend their community to someone else.
The best way to choose an independent living community is to visit a few before choosing one. Location is also important, particularly if the residents want to be near their families. Reputation and recommendations from people already living there also count for a lot when choosing an independent living facility.
What to expect
People report that they are more likely to make new friends and try new things when they move into an independent living community. According to the 2009 Independent Living Report from the ProMatura Group, LLC, most people find the independent living experience to be better than they expected.
That’s not surprising, since such communities provide a range of services and facilities. These typically include 24-hour supervision, a shared dining room that provides three meals a day as well as snacks, personal care, health care, medication management, social services, transportation, laundry service, housekeeping and maintenance.
It can be a difficult choice to move into assisted living, but with the range of services and facilities offered, most people and their families are pleasantly surprised by the experience.