Is Assisted Living the Right Choice for My Loved One?

Checklist: Is Assisted Living the Right Choice for My Loved One?

Approximately one million older Americans are living in assisted living facilities and communities today. Residents choose assisted living because it offers the combination of a private, home-like residence—often a studio or one-bedroom apartment—as well as support to meet personal care and some health care needs. According to the National Center for Assisted Living, the typical assisted living resident is an 86-year-old woman who is mobile but needs help with a few of the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, using the bathroom and transferring from bed to chair. This assistance is provided in addition to the basic services that typically go with retirement housing, such as housekeeping, laundry, transportation and meal service.

Assisted living is an important middle option for seniors who are concerned about their present or future ability to live independently, but who are also not in need of the skilled nursing care provided at a nursing home.

Families should be alert for signs that an older relative is no longer safe and healthy living at home. Is your loved one ready for assisted living? Here are some questions to ask:

  • My loved one’s home is as clean, tidy and in good repair as ever.   YES   NO
  • My loved one eats well and is able to prepare nutritious meals.   YES   NO
  • My loved one’s home is convenient and safe for a person with his/her mobility level.   YES   NO
  • My loved one has plenty of opportunities for physical activity and socializing with others.   YES   NO
  • My loved one is able to manage medications and take them correctly.   YES   NO
  • My loved one is able to manage doctor’s appointments and other healthcare tasks.   YES   NO
  • My loved one drives, or has access to good alternate transportation.   YES   NO
  • Our family is confident that our loved one is well-off living at home.   YES   NO
  • My loved one could get help right away in the event of a fall or other emergency.   YES   NO

If you answered “no” to several of these questions, learn more about the ways the supportive environment of an assisted living community promotes independence, health and safety for senior residents. As you select a facility, investigate the services offered to be sure they are a good fit for your loved one’s needs. Remember that services vary widely. Some facilities provide only limited help with personal care, health care needs and medication management. Others include a broad range of health care services. More facilities today offer specialized care for residents who have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Make sure you understand the maximum level of care available in each facility, and what procedures would be followed if the time were to come when your loved one’s needs were greater than could be met at the facility.

Copyright © AgeWise, 2013