Is Assisted Living the Answer?
There are different answers for different people. This holds true for just about every facet of life. There are questions and decisions to be made as one ages. Part of aging often includes giving up some independence. This transition may include relinquishing your driver's license, moving closer to family, moving in with your children, or possibly moving into an assisted living facility. A lot of factors determine whether assisted living is right for you or your spouse and when to make the transition. It is a personal decision, different for different people, and everyone ages differently.
There are close to 30,000 assisted living facilities in the United States. Assisted living facilities vary in their form and the exact care they provide. They are designed to support older adults who need some help with the activities of daily living such as meal preparation, personal care and more, to include some medical care. Services and amenities vary greatly among assisted living facilities. Residents may have a private apartment, private room, or a shared room. Meals are usually prepared for residents and often served communally. There are typically various activities offered. The meals and activities provide for opportunities to socialize and interact with other residents and staff. The wide range of facilities enables you to choose one that is the right fit.
There are many considerations when thinking about you or a loved one moving into an assisted living community. Some indications that an assisted living facility might be a timely transition include a decline in health, an increased number of falls, difficulty managing finances, no longer being able to maintain the home, no longer having healthy home meals, feeling unsafe at home, and feelings of depression or loneliness.
Families often make these decisions during medical crises. It is hard to make a careful and well-researched decision during times like these. A forced and quick decision is also more likely to lead to feelings of guilt on the caregiver's part and resentment on the senior's part.
Start discussions about transitioning from independent living before the move is necessary. Have conversations early and often about what next steps are desired and feasible. It can be helpful to approach the conversations a piece at a time over the course of weeks, months, or even years. Assisted living is an option but there are others as well. It can be helpful to speak about it with the senior's doctor, financial advisor, and attorney. There are counselors who work with seniors and their families to help determine the best course of action and how and when such a move should be made.
If this is a family discussion, listen carefully to what the senior wants and needs. Before the conversation, start researching various options so you know what is out there. Be very aware of the pros and cons of moving.
It is important to have these conversations earlier rather than later. Decisions can be better and less stressful. This tends to lead to an easier transition and a greater likelihood of the senior enjoying this new stage of life. Contact Shoffner & Associates for guidance on this complex decision and transition.
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