Every day we hear from families and seniors about their own circumstances and provide guidance on whether an assisted living community is the right answer for them. The most common question we hear is framed in a couple of ways: How do I know when my loved one is ready for assisted living? At what point does an older person want to, or have to, consider moving from their home to a senior community?
Here is a profile of a “typical” assisted living resident to help you assess whether you or a loved one could benefit from a more supportive living arrangement.
The Assisted Living Resident Profile:
- Seniors who are frail but not sick. They don’t need the intensive round-the-clock nursing care that a nursing home or rehabilitation center provides. (Different states have different regulations. For example, assisted living communities in New Hampshire CAN provide a limited range of skilled nursing services such as giving insulin shots, taking blood pressure and changing bandages after a hospital stay. Alternatively other states, including Massachusetts, do not allow assisted living communities to perform any nursing care of this kind.)
- Seniors who do need some help with basic daily living activities such as housecleaning, meals, dressing and showering, and medication reminders. Geriatric experts estimate that nearly one third of people age 85 and older need some assistance with these types of activities. (They are referred to in the assisted living industry as ADLs – “Activities of Daily Living”)
- Seniors who do not want to rely on family or neighbors for assistance with food shopping and cooking, transportation, or daily care needs. And, their adult children want peace of mind knowing their Mom or Dad is safe living in a community with 24-hour awake care staff.
- Seniors who have early memory loss and are finding it difficult to manage everything alone at home. They don’t have Alzheimer’s, but they may have a diagnosis of “Mild Cognitive Impairment” or simply undiagnosed “forgetfulness”. Industry professionals estimate that up to 70% of seniors living in assisted living communities have some level of early memory loss.
- Seniors who want to live independently without the worries of home maintenance, shopping and cooking on a daily basis or just do not wish to live alone any longer. They feel isolated at home and want to have more social opportunities but they don’t drive any longer or the majority of their social circle have passed or moved away.
Who is right for assisted living can also be answered by asking more questions. This assisted living checklist can give you a deeper look into your own situation. It might become readily apparent whether your Mom or Dad is ready for assisted living.
Even after you and your siblings have decided it is the right time, your Mom or Dad may not agree! It’s difficult, under the best of circumstances, to have “the talk” – here are some tips on having the “it might be time to move to assisted living conversation”.
FINALLY, assisted living isn’t the only option. There is a continuum of living option for seniors – from living alone to nursing home and options in between. Do you see a description of you or your loved one here?