Moving a parent out of the family home into an assisted living community can be a heart wrenching experience for everyone involved. Seniors worry that their families will forget about them while families often feel tremendous guilt for even entertaining the idea of a move. However, when the health and safety of a loved one hangs in the balance, assisted living communities provide a wonderful alternative to the family home. Families no longer worry that a parent could fall and hurt themselves, forget to take their medication or even eat. They breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their loved one is well cared for and has the help they need to manage basic personal care such as bathing and dressing. Once the parent begins to make new friends and is no longer isolated and alone, they start to enjoy their new home and the many activities that are available to them in an assisted living community.
Assisted living communities differ widely in the size and scope of services and activities provided. In general, most provide nice sized apartments with comfortable bedrooms, baths and some type of on-site medical care. Residents also have access to a dining room where meals are usually served three times each day. Some communities offer apartments with kitchenettes in addition to the dining room. Conversely, some facilities offer seniors assistance with basic personal care while others feature staff that are simply on call as needed. One facility may offer 24/7 medical care while another only dispenses medication. It is possible to find facilities that offer care for seniors with specific medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes and dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Nearly all assisted living communities offer some type of activity for residents during the day.
While the family of a resident of an assisted living community will say that knowing their parents are safe and well cared for is the biggest benefit, a resident might say that having their own space in a community setting is the biggest benefit of assisted living. Either way, assisted living is a great alternative to a nursing home or to living with family. This type of community offers the resident a sense of normalcy while providing the family with the medical care and social life they desire for their loved one. Families also value having nutritional meals prepared each day as seniors living alone sometimes stop eating if they are responsible for preparing their own food. However, it is the social environment that eventually becomes the biggest benefit of assisted living communities. Seniors who are active again are not as prone to anxiety and depression. They are happy and live with people their own age who are in similar circumstances and often with similar interests.
When looking at assisted living communities, it is a good idea to visit these facilities with a checklist in tow. This will help when it comes time to determine which one is the best fit for your family. Here are some questions to ask during each visit:
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