One of the most important decisions an individual or a family member will ever make for themselves or an elderly relative is deciding when assisted living is the right fit. Our teams at Americare help families with this decision through an extensive series of questions and conversations.
One of the first items for families to understand is that they are not alone on this journey and that there is likely someone in nearly exact circumstances as they are looking at the option of assisted living. That is one of the reasons we keep careful track of the broad demographics and current environments of perspective residents.
Digging into the inquiries made online to our Americare community teams, we find a broad cross section of circumstances. 31 percent of the potential new residents are 66 to 75 years of age, 31 percent are 76 to 85 years of age, and 25 percent are 86 to 95 years of age. The final 13 percent are older or younger. 56 percent are currently living at home but receiving help from family or friends, 24 percent are currently living at home with no help, 13 percent are in another senior living community and 7 percent are currently home with professional help.
When it comes to readiness for change or reasons for change, we get a broad range as well. Those who are somewhat ready for the change or that their family feel are somewhat ready total 58 percent. Another 22 percent are very ready and 20 percent not at all ready. There are six primary reasons for considering making a change to an Americare community. Starting with most mentioned they are being overwhelmed, curious about options, care needs, safety, current loneliness and isolation, and downsizing. Of course there are often also potential barriers that families and potential residents are concerned with, mostly issues involving financial concerns and current housing issues or obligations.
All that said, when you read the two paragraphs above this one, I would imagine you can find yourself or your loved one’s description. So the message is that you are not alone and your path and journey to Americare is well tread by many others.
While there are a very broad number of circumstances and demographics involved in where a person is physically, mentally and financially when considering a move to an Americare community, the decision that it is a good fit usually falls to four categories. Those are Physical Environment, Nutrition, Living with Purpose and Social Connection.
Physical Environment: Where you live matters in setting the course of how well a person ages. A senior living community is designed to offer services and amenities with the needs of growing older in mind – from medical to dietary to safety. If someone decides to stay at home we urge them to adapt the home for better lighting, fewer and safer stairs, accommodating kitchens and bathrooms and other items to allow for more functionality.
Good Nutrition: Eating well increases your appetite for living well, while a poor diet can lead to higher incidents of falling, a weakened immune system and other health issues. At Americare our chef-prepared menus from staff nutritionists and dietitians mean a healthy diet. And, we clean up too. If living at home, given the issues with shopping and cooking for a senior, we recommend daily meal or grocery deliveries, or family member participation for healthy eating.
Living with Purpose: Having regular meaningful activity leads to overall better health and promotes positive living. If living at home, we encourage activity with family, church, volunteering and keeping up with special interest groups. Transportation, however, is often an issue.
Social Connection: Isolation is a serious health risk at every age, and social interaction with someone of similar age and interests is vital. At an Americare community there is always a next meal or activity to connect with friends and neighbors, so staying social is not a problem. And, alone time is always there simply by retreating into the privacy of your room. At home, sustaining a social life is one of the greatest challenges due to transportation, mobility and technology issues.
If reading this Blog has you thinking about your current living situation, then it has accomplished its goal. Assisted Living is a Good Fit When … when you see yourself in many of these descriptions and want more out of your life or that of a loved one today.