Many of my clients are unfamiliar with the concept of assisted living communities.
In their minds the choices if they can no longer live independently at
home are to move in with one of their adult children or to be sent to
the dreaded nursing home.
The nursing home (skilled nursing) is the provider of the highest level
of long-term care. The rooms typically resemble hospital rooms with hospital
beds. The nursing home provides a much needed service to patients needing
a high level of care, but are not attractive alternatives for relatively
independent seniors who just need the safety net of a little additional
assistance and supervision.
The assisted living community is a relatively new concept in the world
of long-term care. The need for assisted living evolved as modern medicine
increased life expectancies. More and more seniors began living with chronic
conditions that made it unsafe to live alone in their homes, but that
were not acute enough to warrant nursing home care. The assisted living
community sprung up to fill this need for an intermediate step between
home and nursing home care.
Most assisted living communities offer residents the opportunity to live
in their own room or apartment. Therefore, residents are able to maintain
the privacy that is so important to them. Residents sometimes even have
kitchenettes in their living areas that give them the chance to prepare
their own meals if they on occasion don’t want to eat in the community
What makes assisted living communities safer than home are the built in
support systems. Assistance is available for everything from cleaning
the apartment to bathing or dressing. For a resident who is a fall risk
when living independently at home, one of the most attractive advantages
of an assisted living community can be the reassurance that someone is
checking on their well-being on a regular basis and the knowledge that
if they did fall, they wouldn’t risk lying in their home for hours
until someone realized they needed assistance.
So if your health has made it unsafe for you to live independently at home
any longer, consider exploring moving into an assisted living community
as a very viable and potentially attractive option for maintaining your
independence while enjoying the benefits of a built in safety net.