With Baby boomers rapidly approaching their later years, many families face the decision about how to offer the best quality of life to their elderly loved ones post-retirement and into old age. As our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles begin to require more help in their day to day routines, we are faced with the dilemma of how to provide the continual care they need. Seniors may want to cling to what they perceive as their biggest sign of independence, staying in their own home, and we may try to do our best to acquiesce, but often the preconceptions seniors have about leaving their homes for assisted living communities are not based in reality. What many of our elderly family members don’t realize is that when it comes to quality of life, overall wellness, and social fulfillment, assisted living can be superior to living at home. Unlike in a family home, a residential community offers 24-hour access to personal care, nutrition and wellness services designed especially for aging adults, and plenty of social activities with their peers in a secure and supportive environment.
6 Ways Assisted Living can Improve Life for Elderly Adults
1. Physical Activities to Maintain Fitness
Assisted living communities offer planned group physical activities, such as dance classes, Tai Chi or organized outdoor games. Many provide fitness equipment as well. These are social, daily wellness offerings seniors often lack access to at home.
2. Active Social Life
Assisted lives gives seniors a community of peers to socially engage with, shared areas to enjoy social interaction, a schedule of planned events and even field trips to nearby cultural and entertainment venues. In contrast, seniors living at home can be isolated from others their age, lack stimulating engagement and have a limited capacity to get around and do things like they were able to when they were younger.
3. Safe Environment
As seniors age they require extra needs to safely get around and take care of themselves at home. Shower railings, raised toilet seats, and medical alert systems are some of the modifications many seniors require to safely navigate daily life. Assisted Living facilities offer 24 hour staff in case of a medical emergency and are fully equipped and designed for the optimum mobility and safety of elderly residents.
4. Intellectual Stimulation
Maintaining intellectual stimulation is just as important as physical exercise and social interaction in keeping seniors healthy and active as they age. Assisted Living communities provide for the mental needs of residents through programs which can include: computer classes, book clubs, crafts, and art classes. Many communities plan trips to educational events and cultural institutions and bring in guest speakers.
5. Healthy Nutrition
Seniors may find grocery shopping and cooking more difficult with age, leading to a lack of sufficient nutrition. In assisted living, residents enjoy three meals a day that are specially designed for the dietary needs of older adults.
6. Housekeeping, Personal Care and Transportation
Seniors find keeping up with household chores, home maintenance, yard work and getting to and from errands and appointments increasingly difficult with the passing years. Assisted Living provides relief from these daily duties that add up to an overwhelming workload for elderly adults. Housekeeping, transportation and help with caretaking that seniors may find difficult (dressing, grooming, etc.) can all be provided to ease their burden and allow them to enjoy a more stress-free, care free life.
While some seniors may want to stay living in their own house because they fear the unknown, Assisted Living can provide freedom, a robust social life and mental and physical stimulation far beyond what is available to them at home. Seniors may also worry they will lose touch with family if they leave the home for a community residence. Ease your loved one’s fears by letting them know you are only a phone call or visit away. Set up monthly care packages to be delivered that will remind them you are close and thinking of them. Once seniors understand the benefits and perks that come with Assisted Living they can make an informed decision about whether it is the best choice for their future.