Assisted living and Alzheimer’s disease are often in the news, but do you know where to turn for reliable information? While it’s possible to get local information, there may be gaps in coverage.
Assisted Living for Seniors – What Is It?
Assisted living facilities are designed specifically to meet the needs of aging parents or other family members. It allows residents to maintain independence while receiving help with daily tasks such as dressing, preparing meals, and medication reminders. Various terms are used for assisted living for seniors, including personal care services, assisted living apartments, independent living communities, shared living, rehabilitation services, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, or adult care homes.
For the most part, assisted living care is a hybrid between independent living and nursing homes. Assisted living servicesoffer health care services on-site, but the staff isn’t on call around the clock, so residents are expected to help themselves as well as each other. Also, unlike nursing homes, most assisted living facilities are staffed by professionals who are adept at helping seniors maintain their independence as long as possible.
For example, Vivante Living provides assisted living to seniors who want to maintain many of the comforts and conveniences of home while enjoying some of the benefits of living in a smaller community with other assisted living residents. Many assisted living communities allow their residents to furnish the assisted living units with their personal furniture, photos, and other keepsakes. Normally, they would also offer additional services such as well-prepared meals, medical services, in-person visit, social and recreational activities, transportation services, memory care, housekeeping, speech therapy, fitness classes, and laundry services.
Assisted Living Levels
The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) divides Assisted Living into levels of care:
Level 1: Basic Assistance
This level of care is for seniors who still live independently. They may need some help with daily tasks such as air conditioning, cooking a meal, or getting up and down the stairs.
Level 2: Moderate Assistance
Level II Assisted Living homes are the most common type of residential care for seniors who need less assistance. Most will enjoy various services, including transportation, medical appointments, meal services, nutritious meals,housekeeping, and safety services. Residents in Level II homes may need help with daily activities or in-home tasks.
Opting for a senior living residential facility doesn’t mean you must be entirely dependent on the company. You can still live independently while receiving the care and support you need. For example, in an assisted living community, you can choose any level of help you need. You can also have a family member visit your assisted living home for as many hours per day.
Many people think that assisted living communities are only for older people. In reality, however, seniors can consider assisted living as early as age 62.
Level 3: Individualized Program
Level III care is a little more involved than Level II. In addition to helping residents with daily activities and monitoring their medications and medical emergencies, staff members at this level of care help prepare meals and ensure that residents are not in danger of hurting themselves.
Level III care is also called “supported living,” which means that the staff provides the support that the senior needs to live by themselves while offering a level of monitoring and supervision that ensures safety.
In general, Level III care is appropriate for seniors with some functional limitations but still have the cognitive abilities required to live independently. The usual time frame for receiving Level III care is short-term, which means that the senior only needs this level of care for a few months.
Level 4: Enhanced Assistance
This level provides medication management, daily living activities, and monitoring of vital signs and medical conditions. At Level IV, staff members must conduct hourly rounds to check on residents. They are also required to call for emergency help as quickly as possible.
Level 5: Intensive Assistance
Many seniors who are classified as Level 5 are those that need the most care. They may need help with general daily tasks such as using the bathroom and getting dressed, and also much more complex medical tasks such as taking medication and managing their diet. They may also need help with activities of daily living, such as getting in and out of bed and using the bathroom. In addition to these basic needs, they may also have more specialized needs. These residents might have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or they may need help with physical therapy or occupational therapy to regain strength or mobility.
When a person’s condition changes unexpectedly, someone is always available to assist in any way possible. Assistants and nurses are constantly monitoring the resident’s health and checking in on them regularly to give them medications and ensure they’re comfortable. To provide this level of care, the nursing staff is on call 24 hours a day.
Consider the following factors when deciding if it might be time to start looking into senior living options:
According to the National Council on Aging, people would rather live in their homes than move to a personal care assistance facility. They might even keep putting off the decision until there is no other physical choice. These situations can bring up a bundle of emotions, such as fear, denial, and guilt. Such problems might lead a person to eschew the topic, but these are the very emotions that should force a conversation about it. Here are some signs that point toward the time when nursing care for seniors might be needed:
- The senior needs help with basic daily tasks like bathing, dressing, eating, and taking medications.
- The senior has lost the ability to do things that were once routine, like grocery shopping or paying bills.
- Mobility issues make it difficult for the seniors to go about their day without assistance, like tripping or falling
- Or, it might be when you need help managing medications daily living, and medication management might be a primary reason or one of several reasons you would like to move into an assisted living facility.
- We think the best indicator that it might be time for assisted living facilities for seniors is when your parent or loved one is showing signs of memory loss or other cognitive impairment.
If an individual exhibits one or more of these signs, it may be time to think about assisted living facilities for seniors.
An assisted living facility can be the ideal solution for an aging parent who wants to retain their independence but needs extra help with daily tasks. Assisted living communities have a lot to offer older adults with plenty of opportunities for socialization, recreation, and relaxation, as well as access to top-notch care and assistance when needed.