As a person ages, it can become difficult, if not dangerous, for them to continue living alone and independently. Not only are there certain health concerns that might become issues, but a decline in energy and mobility can result in uncomfortable, unsafe, or unclean living conditions.
If your parent or grandparent is starting to show signs that they are no longer able to live independently, you could find yourself wondering if it might be time to start looking into options such as assisted living communities. While this isn’t your only option by any means, it tends to be one of the most popular routes to take for several reasons.
Firstly, assisted living communities are staffed by trained and qualified professionals who specialize in everything from routine medical care to cooking senior-friendly meals. There are also various services that you can incorporate into your loved one’s care plans to make their days much easier and less stressful.
Another added bonus of an assisted living community is that they are exclusively for residents who are at a certain stage in life and who have specific needs. This means that your loved one will be neighbors with people they can relate to and socialize with, which will help with their mental health and emotional wellbeing.
That being said, not all assisted living communities are created equal; some offer different services and quality of life. Therefore, it is important to do your research to make sure that you find the right community for your loved one, ensuring that they enter the next chapter of their life with comfort and confidence.
With that in mind, if you are currently trying to decide if an assisted living community would be right for your aging parent or grandparent, here are a few things that you should take into consideration as you try to find the right place for them.
Sense of Community
Many elderly individuals find themselves feeling more comfortable in an assisted living community because it gives them just that – a community. For example, residents at a Long Island assisted living community say that one of the biggest factors in choosing an assisted living community or facility is the overall community feel and connection to other residents.
For this reason, it is crucial that you check out all of the communities on your shortlist in person. If possible, you should also bring your aging loved one who will potentially be moving to such a community. They should take a good look around to see what sort of environment exists in the place. If it is one that fosters a sense of community, then it is certainly one worth keeping on your list.
Among the other important things to consider when looking into assisted living communities is the location of the one that you eventually choose. You want to make sure that your loved one will be living in a place that isn’t too far away from the friends and family that they are used to seeing on a regular basis.
This is for a number of reasons. For starters, placing your loved one in a community that is out of the way and not conveniently located close to friends and family can make it more difficult for visits to take place. Most importantly, though, it can result in your loved one feeling as though they are being placed out of the way on purpose – and this can create problems for them from a mental health perspective.
While this decision might very well be motivated by reasons relating to your loved one’s physical health and wellbeing, it is important to remember that there are multiple mental health conditions that are associated with aging and getting older. Ensuring that your loved one knows that you will still be close enough to them to visit regularly can go a long way in helping them maintain a positive mental state throughout this transition into the next chapter of their golden years.
Once you know where the community that you ultimately choose should be located, you should investigate the ones in that area based on the services that they offer. There are two main types of services that need to be taken into consideration: those relating to health and wellness and those pertaining to lifestyle.
The first point that you should establish is that the assisted living community you are considering has the resources available on-site to take care of your loved one’s health-related needs. Whether they need to be able to see a specific type of physician on a routine basis or if they simply need assistance taking their medication every day, this is an important box to check.
The other services that you should look into concern lifestyle. If your loved one has gotten to a point where they are no longer capable of doing their laundry or cooking for themselves, it is important that the community they move into offers such services. Furthermore, if they have been instructed by their doctor to eat a specific type of diet, then the community they move to should be able to accommodate that.
There are also lifestyle services to consider that have more to do with what your loved one will be able to do with their time every day. Does the community you are viewing offer fitness classes, community events, or social clubs? Perks like these are essential and can really help your loved one feel at home and comfortable in their new surroundings once they have settled in.
Continuation of Care
One of the reasons why certain seniors find themselves reluctant to move into an assisted living community in the first place is that they feel like it is likely the start of a long process that will be emotional, frustrating, and uncomfortable. Even though the first community they move into allows for a relatively independent life, it’s possible that they’ll assume they may eventually have to move into one that offers less independence due to developing medical needs.
While it is true that many seniors need additional care as they continue to age, that doesn’t mean your loved one will be moved around from community to community in the years to come. Rather, you can find a community that offers a continuation of care for them as and when their needs develop.
Generally speaking, this means that the community you choose allows you to adapt or increase your loved one’s level of care based on their needs as they age. While things might be relatively simple when they first move in, anything can happen down the line – and because of this, it is good to know that you won’t have to move your loved one around just to provide them with the appropriate care as they age and their needs change.
As with most things in life, you mustn’t make this decision unless you know what the financial commitment is going to be when your loved one moves into an assisted living community. There are several factors to think about on this front in order to ensure that you aren’t getting in over your head from a financial perspective when it comes to your parent’s or grandparent’s living situation.
Start by considering their personal finances and what they have of their own accord that is intended for these purposes. There might also be government funding that can be used to help pay for their assisted living community. Lastly, if there are commitments from your extended family in this area, you need to make sure that everyone is on board and on the same page when it comes to your loved one’s living situation.