There are many apparent gray areas when it comes to assisted living. So what is assisted living and is it a good idea?
The idea seems to be that seniors who need help on a daily basis can maintain somewhat of an independent lifestyle at an Assisted Living facility. Most often these seniors are victims of dementia and struggle with day to day functions.
JUST HOW MUCH HELP DO THEY NEED?
Chances are, seniors with dementia will need much more help than an assisted living facility can actually provide. Supposedly, staying in an assisted living facility will allow seniors to enjoy an independent lifestyle of sorts for as long as possible.
In many cases, this seems next to impossible. They will most likely need help with bathing and dressing on a daily basis. They might also need help with eating. In reality, they are from independent.
Independent Living facilities are truly retirement living arrangements for seniors who are capable of looking after themselves without needing assistance. Most of the seniors who choose this option like the idea of having an improved social life and a sense of purpose.
Many seniors do not have much of a social life available to them while living in their own homes. Isolation and loneliness were all the reason they needed to look for a better option.
REASONS FOR CHOOSING ASSISTED LIVING OPTION
In most cases, it’s family members who persuade the senior in their lives to leave the family home and move into an assisted living facility. In almost 90% of cases, this is a family member decision.
The second largest group to choose assisted living is the seniors themselves who make a conscious decision to leave their home on their own. In many cases, the senior in question had not controlled whatsoever about being moved into an assisted living facility.
There is also a group that is convinced by their physician to make the move.
Many families convince themselves that assisted living will provide the necessary care and service for the senior in an atmosphere much like home, while at the same time allowing them to keep some semblance of independence.
Check out this video on eight things you should know about assisted living.
ARE SENIORS AT THE MERCY OF ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES?
The actual contract is between the facility and the resident. The problem with this is that the contract is not negotiated and offered on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.
Ultimately, this means that the resident is left to the mercy of the facility. They decide how long they can stay depending on the health concerns they have. Unfortunately, there is no federal law regulation for assisted living. All the decisions are made on a state-by-state basis. Further, variation is allowed from facility to facility within individual states.
There are many variations involved. These include who the facility admits and who they choose to deny. They might also decide who is discharged or transferred against their will.
Families and caregivers should not automatically assume that assisted living is the best choice. Chances are, not all health care conditions can be dealt with in every assisted living facility.
ASSISTED LIVING RESIDENTS COMMON HEALTH ISSUES
it’s not uncommon for over 40% of seniors in Care facilities to have short-term memory issues. Many also suffer from disorientation most of the time. It’s hard to imagine they are living anything close to an independent lifestyle.
Close to 50% of senior retirement facility residents in the USA have Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia. This requires comprehensive assessment and care strategies by very well-trained staff.
Severe insomnia is a big issue for residents in assisted living. The bigger problem is that insomnia leads to depression and that in turn requires an even greater need for assistance.
Incontinence is also a very big issue with seniors in care facilities. Assisted living can only go so far in helping a senior deal with incontinence, If a senior is unable to manage their incontinence on their own, they are at a far greater risk of being admitted to long-term care.
Seniors who have suffered a stroke can be left with serious effects on motor skills, speech, and cognitive ability.
Anemia is also quite a prevalent health issue for seniors. Diets rich in iron and vitamins can prevent anemia caused by iron and vitamin deficiency.
Maybe they should take a page out of the book of the woman in Europe who was diagnosed with anemia when she was very young. A doctor prescribed three eggs a day. So for over eight decades, that’s what she did.
Better yet, she never went to hospitals and never lived in any sort of retirement facility. She lived a single independent lifestyle in her own home until she was 115.
For the last two years of her life, she had someone living with her and her doctor would visit once a week to check on here. She passed away at 117 years of age. At the time she was the oldest woman in the world.
Ultimately, many seniors will leave an assisted living facility for a variety of reasons. Some may require more care than can be provided. Others may want to be closer to family and a significant amount are simply not happy with the care that is provided.
So ultimately, it’s often family caregivers who must deal with caring for the senior member of their family.
Seniors living on their own should have some sort of medic system in place.
OPTIONS FOR CAREGIVERS
It can be quite expensive for a senior to live in an assisted living facility. The money saved from not being in assisted living can be used for private health care. That way someone besides family members can look out for the well-being of the senior.
Often it is senior children caregivers who have to devote much of their time to looking after their parent. In many cases, this can mean the care-givers retirement plans have to be put on the back-burner.
In some cases, there are several children who can share the duties of looking after their senior parent. This can work out well as it allows some free time for each of the children. It also eases the emotional and physical burden of caring for a senior who might suffer from dementia or a host of other diseases.
There is a fairly new caregiver option that has worked out well in many cases. In many cities close to learning facilities, students will exchange free accommodation in return for helping look after the senior. This option can be a winning situation for all concerned.
The senior has company on almost a daily basis, the pressure is taken off of family caregivers, and the student can ease the financial burden of paying for accommodation.
Of course, the student would have to be carefully vetted and the senior must agree to have someone else sharing their home.
Another strategy that is gaining momentum is several seniors sharing a home and looking out for each other. They all share in the upkeep of the home. They also offer each other companionship and can look out for one another in the event of a health crisis. On top of everything else, they stand to save a lot of money.
Consider if you have four seniors sharing a home. If they paid just $3000 a month to live in a retirement setting(and it’s probably more)between the four of them they would save about $144,000 a year.
In some cases, but not all, assisted living might be the answer for a senior.
However, much depends on the amount of care involved as seniors can deal with a host of problems from dementia to incontinence.
Assisted living is meant to allow a senior independence for as long as possible. In many cases, this is not possible because of the many health problems a senior might have.
The decision to admit a senior to an assisted living facility should be made with care and should involve a discussion between the family, the senior, and the facility in question.
Some seniors will do much better at home if there is a way to ensure that caregivers will be available to meet the many issues that seniors deal with on a daily basis.
With the cost of Assisted living rapidly rising, hiring professional in-home care for a senior might be a better option than living in a retirement facility.
Families should seriously consider the option of having a student share a residence with a senior in return for help with the looking after the senior.
Sharing a home with other seniors is also an option worth exploring.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.