Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Complete List of Pros and Cons to Assisted Living and How to Give Your Loved Ones the Best Experience

As our loved ones age, we start considering what their future holds. Who will take care of them? How can we ensure they will get the quality care that they deserve? These questions flash across our minds because from the start, we have always wanted what was best for them.

Although our loved ones may wish to stay at home during their golden years, the truth is, their health may prevent them from doing so. Apart from their health, our loved ones may later make the decision to be placed in a trustworthy assisted living home rather than continue living in their own residence as they initially thought they wanted.

Even if we strongly believe our loved ones will not choose to go into assisted living, it is still critical to consider the idea. Things change as do people’s decisions, and we and our loved ones should be equally prepared for what the future could potentially hold when it comes to residency.



That said, consider these pros and cons of assisted living environments to help you and your family member decide if this type of residence might be a future possibility for them:

Pros:

More affordable than nursing homes

According to the United States Census Bureau, only approximately 3.1 percent of senior citizens were living in nursing homes in 2010. Perhaps one reason for this is because the costs of nursing homes are often far more costly than what the average senior can afford, even with financial assistance set in place.

The good news is, assisted living homes to cost approximately half of what the average nursing home costs granted that nursing homes have more around-the-clock care for residents.

While more affordable, for those who still struggle to pay out of pocket for assisted living, there are a handful of ways seniors can pay for their care.

Medicaid or Medicare, private funds, life settlements, Veteran’s benefits, supplemental social security, and long-term care insurance can all help fund this type of residence.

No need to maintain a yard or home

Especially for senior citizens with physical disabilities or setbacks, the idea of not having to clean your own residence or maintain a front and back yard is a huge benefit of assisted living. With cleaning and yard care covered by assisted living facility staff, residents can rest assured they will have less labor-intensive responsibilities to tend to.

Often when choosing to live in an assisted living environment, one of the first things residents do not miss is having to engage in their usual at-home responsibilities. Having housekeepers and gardeners can certainly make one’s golden years more relaxed, enjoyable, and relevant to their current health and abilities.

Similar to an average home setting

Some senior citizens fear that when choosing an assisted living environment as their choice in residence, it won’t feel like home to them. They might worry that this sort of environment will be stark, cold, and structured rather than comfy and cozy. However, most assisted living environments are actually very homelike as they should.

Different assisted living homes have different styles and furnishings. Some homes might feature modern furnishings while others might feature a more traditional setting. By touring different homes, a senior citizen can find the most comfortable environment for them personally. After all, we all have different ideas of what home means to us.

Care adaptive to the ever-changing needs of residents

Throughout the aging process, things may change. A senior might experience declining health or may have greater difficulty doing what they once could do. Thus, they may require more assistance from others as time goes on.

The great thing about an assisted living environment is that the staff are often very knowledgable when it comes to helping seniors with a variety of tasks including medication management, laundry, bed and chair positioning, bathing and grooming assistance, and aid with dressing.

The services provided by assisted living environments can certainly vary. That said, be sure to find a home that features the assistive care your loved one requires.

Plenty of activities to engage in to keep residents busy

While many senior citizens have their own interests and hobbies they like to engage in daily, there are still times where they get bored and lonely. Living in an assisted living environment, there are usually a plethora of fun events, activities, and games residents can engage in whenever they’d like.

These might include arts and crafts, support groups, field trips, sporting events, barbecue nights, and talent shows. The latter not only keep senior citizens happy and busy but also social in the process. After all, an idle might is the Devil’s playground as they often say. Keeping busy and social with others are absolute musts for all ages.

Cons:

Seniors with specific health needs may not be suitable.

Although assisted living services are quite variant in terms of the wants and needs of their residents, not all seniors will be suitable for these environments. In fact, some assisted living facilities must deny senior citizens if their staff will not adequately be able to tend to their personal assistance and health requirements.

Complex medical needs like stroke recovery, wound or post-surgery care, acute infection or injury assistance, Parkinson’s disease care, or severe mental health aid might not be able to be provided by most assisted living homes if the staff is not experienced nor licensed in aiding with such.

While they may not be best in an assisted living environment, those with severe disabilities who need care 24/7 might be good candidates for a skilled nursing home.

Can be more expensive than staying at home

Because a senior citizen is paying for assistive care among other services provided by their assisted living facility, it makes sense that assistive living usually costs more than staying at home. Although, money is tight for many seniors and even their family members who may be paying for their long-term care.

However, the extra costs are usually worth it for many seniors. Although many might prefer the idea of staying home to not spend as much money on a month-to-month basis, sometimes spending that extra money for the most applicable residence is the best option for a senior’s overall quality of life.

Specific rules and regulations residents must follow

When it comes to choosing a residence as they age, senior citizens often want a living arrangement that allows them to stay as independent as long as they possibly can. Everyone wants the luxury of freedom. However, some seniors may worry that the rules and regulations of assisted living homes will hinder their ability to be fully independent.

The truth is, the rules aren’t heavily strict in most assisted living homes. Although, there will always be more freedom living at home. Some assisted living environments may not allow smoking in undesignated areas, painting the walls of their rooms, housing pets, bringing large furniture from home, or bringing their vehicle.

However, other assisted living facilities do in fact allow the latter. Finding a home that is lenient enough for your loved one is important to ensure they don’t feel a lack of independence in their new living arrangement.

The concern of elder abuse

When it comes to trusting others to take care of your family member in their golden years, the possibility of them suffering from elder abuse from staff or even other residents is worrisome. It may worry you so much that you may refuse to let your family member stay anywhere but at home or with a trusted loved one.

While the possibilities of elder abuse is a potential, it is important to note that elder abuse in assisted living facilities is not as common as one might think. In fact, 33 percent of those in nursing homes have experienced elder abuse while the statistic is much lower in assisted living facilities, according to Nursing Home Abuse Guide.

Regardless, it’s vital that when searching for an assisted living home for your loved one that you read online reviews, tour the facility and pay attention to how the staff interacts with other residents, and that you frequently check in with your family member if and when they move into assisted living.

Conclusion

Getting older doesn’t always mean we slow down and settle in place. For some seniors, their golden years are filled with many changes and exciting, new adventures, including choosing a new living arrangement or type of long-
term care.

As with any living arrangement, assisted living homes have their pros and cons. For instance, they are more affordable than nursing homes, offer many activities, are similar to an average home setting only without the need for residents to maintain their own home or yard, and have staff knowledgable in caring for the needs of their residents.

However, the cons of assisted living homes are that they are more expensive than staying home, there are rules for residents and the potential for elder abuse, and the fact that not all seniors will be applicable for these homes health-wise. While the pros outweigh the cons, it’s important to consider if your loved one is suitable for assisted living at all.
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