This blog was published on December 20,2017 and updated on January 9, 2020.
The world of senior living can feel like uncharted territory — unfamiliar, with its own unique language and rules. Seniors in fair or good health may be uncertain about the distinction between assisted living and independent living. Both options can foster independence, ease caregiver stress and help seniors live longer, healthier lives. You can have your own private apartment or condo in each living arrangement, but there are also important differences that can help guide your decision. Here’s an overview of the basics.
Caring for a senior loved one can be emotionally taxing and even physically draining. Family Caregiver Alliance reports that family caregivers can suffer from increased risks of depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as an increased risk of heart disease and other serious illnesses. Even family members who live far away but still participate in coordinating care for loved ones who live at home alone report mental and physical symptoms of stress.
Senior living can be life-changing. In an era when web advertising brands everything from toothpaste to stationery as “life-altering,” that might seem like hyperbole. It’s not. Seniors lead better, healthier, happier lives in senior living communities. So although caregivers may worry that moving a loved one to senior living means downgrading their quality of life, the truth is that assisted living can offer care and hope that even the best home-based caregivers cannot match. Here’s how assisted living can help your loved one live a better life.
Most older adults benefit from having a family member accompany them to doctor appointments. Family members can keep track of information or recommended follow-up steps, as well as advocate for the senior during the visit. Family members can share specific concerns in regards to memory or pain management with the doctor, as well as give realistic accounts of symptoms the senior could be experiencing.
Growing older is hard. It often means more aches and pains, less mobility, and increased difficulty managing one’s own life. It’s no wonder that so many seniors are determined to remain independent. One survey found that about 90% of seniors hope to “age in place,” remaining in their current homes for at least the next 5-10 years. Yet about two thirds of seniors need help completing at least one daily task. It’s painful when your mind wants one thing and your body seems determined to push you in a different direction. This is why so many seniors who need assisted living refuse.
The arrival of summer means your travel dreams can finally come true. People of all ages are subject to wanderlust, and it is hard to dispute the sense of adventure and relaxation that comes from a trip. Science has recently started to back up those happy feelings that come from vacation, no matter if your trip is a few towns away or across the ocean. In 2013, a study published by the American Psychological Association noted that vacations can combat stress and negative emotions by removing us from our otherwise stressful lives. But the benefits of taking a vacation go beyond stress relief. A study out of the Wisconsin Medical Journal demonstrated that women who vacation twice a year are far less likely to suffer feelings of depression than women who vacation less that once every two years.
Senior living is a broad industry, giving care and options for older adults who live with different challenges and preferences. Today’s seniors are fortunate to have such a variety of solutions to suit their needs, but so many choices can quickly lead to feelings of confusion. For example, if you have done your due diligence to narrow down your senior living choice to assisted living, you may be surprised to find out there are multiple levels of care within your assisted living community. Each of these levels of care features a different cost, as well as a different amount of hands-on care.
Assisted living is a wonderful option for older adults who need some hands-on care or reminders in order to stay healthy. Seniors living with chronic medical conditions, a long or confusing list of regular medications, or some mobility issues may find that assisted living offers the perfect blend of independence and access to caregivers available to lend a hand when needed. For family members, assisted living communities can offer peace of mind when it comes to safety. All in all, assisted living benefits seniors and the family members who love them.
Today, older adults have a variety of resources and options to support them and their wellness goals. This is certainly excellent news, but too many choices can also lead to some confusion as seniors and their family members try to pick the best solution for their situation. For most seniors, financial feasibility is at the top of the list of priorities when finding the right assistance or support.