Senior Living: Being Independent In Assisted Living

olderseniorswalkingOne of the most important decisions impacting many seniors life, especially as they reach their 70s and 80s, is finding an appropriate housing situation given current physical abilities and current health (including mental health) conditions. For many, balancing the desire to live independently with their current need for help is the most difficult part of determining where to live. Assisted living facilities often provide one of the best solutions for those seeking to maintain as much independence as possible while at the same time receiving daily assistance when needed.

Assisted living facilities are most suitable for the people who are for the most part physically healthy but need some help with their daily routine activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, medications and other housekeeping activities.  Unlike constant care situations, such as many nursing homes, those in assisted living maintain quite a bit of their independence when it comes to daily activities. For those who are completely unable to take care of themselves, or suffering from numerous health issues needing constant medical attention, and assisted living situation would probably not be the right choice. In these cases, a constant care situation will be the best option.

Tips For Finding The Best Assisted Living Facility

Finding the best assisted living facilities can be a difficult and quite confusing decision, as it directly affects the level of care and lifestyle of yourself or a loved one. When trying to select the right facility, you should consider visiting several different facilities before making your final decision. While creating your list of potential facilities, you need to seriously consider what kind of resources you want where you live. For example, would you like a facility that has a pool or gym on site? How about a beauty salon? You will also want to price the different assisted living care options the facility provides, so you know how much it is likely to cost you.

During your visits, try to interact with the staff by asking questions. You want to come away with a feel for how the staff interacts with residents and responds to your questions and requests. You should also spend some time interacting with other residents, as they will most likely give you an honest appraisal of what it is like to live at a particular facility.

When you feel that a particular residence may meet your requirements, you should make a few additional visits during different times and days of the week. By interacting with the staff and residents during these visits you will get all the information you need regarding the professional care provided by the assisted living agency. While visiting the facility you should not only consider the level of professional care provided by the agency, but also determine as to how positively the residents will accept you or your loved one as part of their community.

Resistance To Assisted Living

In many cases, seniors will resist entering into an assisted living situation because they fear it will be a significant infringement of their personal independence. Some seniors are not fully aware of the different levels of care and independence that are provided by assisted living residences versus nursing homes. To help this process, you should make sure your loved one is involved in the selection process as much as possible. This will ensure that they will choose the right environment for themselves, which is important to helping them maintain their sense of independence.

The Final Selection Process – Important Questions To Answer

To make the final selection of the best assisted living agency for your loves one; you need consider many factors such as the safety of the facility, comforts of the residents, the activities of the residents, admission requirements, financial burden and more.  Here are some questions you should try to get answers for prior to making your final decision:

  • What kind of social activities are provided for the residents and what is the staff’s involvement in such activities. You should check to see if the particular activity support by the agency suits the interests of you or your loved one. You have to see the extent of staff’s involvement in any such activity, and consider whether the daily schedule is highly structured or permit suitable flexibility as per your loved one’s requirements.
  • What  is the visitation schedule? Almost all of them allow you to visit your loved ones, but you have to consider the visiting hours and whether you can take them for an outing. If so, what are the terms and conditions for taking residents to outing, and how long you can keep your loved ones out of the facility?
  • Is the facility neat and clean. You should take good note of the appearance, attitude and behavior of the staff. What kind of cleaning services to they provide to residents (when needed)?
  • What kind of safety policy does the facility have? You should try to find out the time taken in providing the assistance by the staff members following any such call for assistance. The staff alerting system in the room is one of the basic requirements of the facility. You should also consider the policy and resources of the particular facility dedicated to responding to emergencies. The procedures and preparedness regarding the potential fire are one such example. You should check whether the exits are properly marked and adequate lighting is provided. Find out whether the facility and the agency is properly licensed by requisite authorities.

Once you have assessed these more basic living, health and safety requirements, it’s time to consider the different amenities provided to the residents. You need to see whether the kitchen facility, telephones and television are provided in the room and what are the terms and conditions for using the facilities. Whether the facilities are free or require additional fees. How the agency is handling the spiritual and religious desires of the residents? Whether there are any nearby stores and conveniences at walk-through distances? If such stores are not within safe walking distances, whether there are any transportation facilities provided by the assisted living agency to access shopping?

The Costs of Assisted Living

The costs involved with such assisted living facilities can be an important factor, but hopefully this isn’t the primary factor you take into account when choosing the right assisted living situation. Those who choose a facility merely because it is the most affordable, are likely to ultimately be unhappy with your decision.

Still, the financial aspect clearly does need to be part of the overall decision making process. You should check whether any deposits are required and if so, what are the refund procedures? Obviously, there will be some monthly fees for the facility, and you need to know the amount and how it is going to be billed? You should further ensure whether there are any additional fees for participating in specific activities or emergency assistance. If so, the details regarding the billing for any such services.

Conclusions

The decision to select the most appropriate assisted living facility is a complicated and sensitive decision and it will likely take a bit of time, effort and research before a final decision can be made. This is a very important decision, and you should be willing to spend the time and energy needed to visit potential assisted living facility providers and evaluate the staff’s attitude, cleanliness, and assisted living resources offered by the facility.

You will likely have to interact with the staff and residents of the facility during multiple visits at different times and days of the week in order to get the important information you will need. The cost involved with the facility can be important consideration for for many, and you should definitely get an idea of all the different costs involved before making your final decision.

About Susan Day

Susan Day is a mother to two beautiful daughters and a grandmother to one adorable five year old boy. She is determined to live an active, happy life well beyond here current 70 years of age!