It’s the fastest-growing housing option for senior living. Assisted living facilities offer a viable solution for seniors who can live on their own but may also need a helping hand. The assisted living option supports seniors with life tasks while providing social contact, stimulating activities, and choices to thrive in the next phase of their lives. For seniors and their family members, assisted living facilities can lessen the worry, lighten the burden of at-home caretaking, and provide better quality of life.
“For many seniors, advancing age brings challenges in day-to-day living,” says Christa Bethea at Lakewest Assisted Living a leader in senior care. “Assisted living offers residents a self-sufficient living experience in a comfortable, apartment-like setting – yet 24-hour security is provided, along with the assurance that care is available if it’s needed. Unlike a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, assisted living is not based on a medical model. We’re based on a social model, offering our residents choice, flexibility, and community.”
A licensed nurse is onsite at Lakewest Assisted Living to monitor residents and ensure all care needs are met. “Residents receive medication oversight, physician appointment management, and access to emergency medical help if it’s needed,” Christa Bethea says. “They may also be assisted with bathing, dressing, personal grooming, and housekeeping.”
Personal freedom and privacy are at the heart of senior care assisted living. Unlike being in a skilled nursing or long-term care facility, residents can lock their doors and come and go as they please.
Central to the independent living experience is a variety of dining options. “Residents can dine in their own space or eat in the dining room,” Christa Bethea notes. “Our apartment homes are equipped with kitchenettes, including a full-size refrigerator and a microwave. We also offer restaurant-style dining, with three fresh, nutritious meals each day.”
A common byproduct of living alone is loneliness, a feeling experienced by more than 40 percent of seniors. Along with social isolation, seniors who live alone often suffer from poor nutrition, which can contribute to health problems, depression, and a lower quality of life.
“Assisted living communities can be an antidote for loneliness,” Christa Bethea says. “At Lakewest Assisted Living, seniors have daily opportunities to connect, converse, and participate in shared activities. Coordinated transportation gives residents access to social excursions and cultural events in the wider community.”
Managing the move
Key to a successful assisted living experience is knowing when it’s time to make a move from home to assisted living. “Often, families put off asking the tough questions,” Christa Bethea notes. “Over time, they may find they are primary caretakers for their loved one, unprepared to continue this role as care needs intensify.
“In skipping the assisted living option, many reach the point where mom or dad no longer meets the criteria for assisted living – for example, being able to walk and to evacuate the building without assistance. At that point, the only options available are skilled nursing or long-term care.”
Meeting future needs
As residents in assisted living experience changing needs, they can step up their living experience to a skilled nursing facility or long-term care. “Key to our role is knowing the need of each resident and working with the family to transition their loved one to a higher level of care if it’s needed,” Christa Bethea says. “Yet for many seniors, assisted living isn’t a step on the way to higher-acuity care, but a permanent home to gracefully age in place.”