Moving into an assisted living community can feel like a big change for older adults. Some view it as an end to living independently and a reminder of a person’s increasing age.
Many benefits come with moving into assisted living. There are around one million Americans in some type of senior community right now. That number is expected to double by 2030. As our healthcare services improve, so does our longevity. Today’s seniors live active, healthy lives. Many now believe that 80 is the new 65 thanks to innovations in medicine and senior care.
Assisted living communities can enrich a person’s life. They provide opportunities for socializing. They also reduce the burden placed on family members, who otherwise may have to care for aging relatives at home without the resources of an assisted living community.
The difficult part is knowing when it is time to make the move. You should not wait until something bad happens. It is best to begin this chapter in your life sooner when the signs of old age are starting to show but before they become a health risk.
If any of the following apply to you, then it may be time to consider assisted living.
Changes in Mobility and Increased Fall Risk
Our physical capabilities tend to change as we get older. If you notice trouble with balance and strength, this could be a sign that you need assistance. This is especially true if you have had a fall or almost fell in the recent past.
Fall injuries are particularly damaging for older people. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of five falls causes serious injury. At least 300,000 older adults are hospitalized because of hip fractures each year. Over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. Falls are also the most common cause of traumatic brain injury.
You should speak to your doctor about fall risk concerns. They can evaluate you and recommend ways to reduce your risk. Assisted living facilities are already equipped with devices and railings that are used to prevent seniors from falling.
Inability to Perform Activities of Daily Living
Activities of daily living include all the skills needed to do the basic things a person does every day. These include keeping up with grooming, dressing, and personal hygiene as well as using the bathroom, eating meals, and moving throughout your home.
If you have trouble in any of these areas, you should learn more about assisted living. These communities have staff available to assist to ensure that you stay clean and healthy. You can talk to the facility about your health status and physical ability to ensure that you retain as much independence as possible while receiving the support you need.
Prolonged Periods of Illness and Recovery
Older adults take longer to recover after an injury or illness. This can occur due to an underlying health issue, like diabetes. It can also happen because of reduced skin elasticity and delayed inflammatory response.
If you take longer to get back to normal after an injury or illness, it may be time to consider a senior-friendly living situation.
Difficulty Managing Household Finances
Financial troubles can also indicate that a person needs additional assistance. Age-related conditions can affect cognitive ability. This can lead to poor money management and make a person more vulnerable to scams.
If you are struggling to pay bills and manage household finances, seek assistance. Ask a trusted friend or family member to help you while you decide if it’s time to move into an assisted living community.
Home That is Not Cleaned or Maintained
Is your house beginning to look poorly maintained or dirty despite your best efforts? This is another clear sign that you need help.
This situation can occur if your physical or mental status has changed or after losing a spouse or loved one who handled the tasks that are going undone. You don’t have to try and do it all alone. Assisted living communities hire cleaning staff that handles everything so you can thrive in a hygienic environment.
Signs of Depression or Social Isolation
Depression is a concern for older people. It is considered a significant predictor of suicide in the elderly. Many things can cause a person to become depressed as they age. Seniors may face a chronic illness or mourn the loss of loved ones. Others may struggle to cope with the inability to drive, work, or do the things that they once enjoyed.
If you experience restlessness, anxiety, appetite changes, difficulty concentrating, poor decision making, changes in sleep patterns, lack of energy, feelings of emptiness, or unexplained aches and pains, you could be depressed.
Depression can also lead to thoughts of suicide and drug or alcohol abuse. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, seek medical advice immediately.
Exhibiting Dangerous or Unusual Behaviors
If you exhibit dangerous or unusual behaviors, it may be time to consider assisted living. Worrying Behaviors include things like wandering inside or outside for no reason or letting candles burn when you leave the home.
Severe Memory Loss and Dementia Symptoms
Severe memory loss and dementia can make living on your own a challenge. Seniors may experience difficulty using language, misplacing objects, poor judgment, rapid mood swings, and personality changes. Some patients also report lacking initiative, excessive sleeping, and loss of interest in things they used to love.
If you notice the symptoms of memory loss or dementia, you should go to your doctor first. They can evaluate you and provide more insight into your condition and how to treat it. Next, you should consider moving into an assisted living community that provides memory care.
Poor Medication Management
You should be taking your prescribed medications in the right doses at the right times to stay on top of health issues. Poor medication management is dangerous at any age. You may not get enough of what you need, or you could accidentally overdose.
If you find yourself missing doses or forgetting if you took one, it may be time to consider assisted living.
Pets That Appear Neglected
People of all ages own pets. Our animal companions make our lives happier. However, an older person may begin to have difficulty taking care of their pet. If your beloved dog or cat looks underfed, overfed, or otherwise neglected, this could be a sign that you are in need of daily assistance.
Experiences Sundown Syndrome
Sundown syndrome, or sundowning, is a term used to describe changes in dementia patients that occur in the late afternoon or early evening. Patients may experience anxiety, sadness, mood swings, restlessness, confusion, hallucinations, delusions, or even energy surges during this time.
These feelings can cause behaviors that are difficult to manage, like disorientation, crying, screaming, rocking, pacing, resistance, or aggression.
Concern from Friends, Family, or Neighbors
The people around you may pick up on changes before you do. If you have had family, friends, or neighbors express concern over your wellbeing, it may be time to listen to what they have to say.
These are people who care about you and likely know your normal routines. One comment may not mean anything, but if you have had multiple people share concerns, it is likely time to re-evaluate your living situation.
Visit Vista Living Senior Care to learn more about assisted living for older adults.
For family members looking for a home for a loved one, this is always a very tough question to ask, but an essential one, and a question that we often get asked. A full-service assisted living homes (with an excellent management team, nurse on staff, and trained caregivers) can handle most of the end-of-life care situations that arise, but not all the medical conditions that can materialize. Often loved ones want to minimize the chance that a move to another facility will be necessary before end-of-life.
What a Full-Service Residential Assisted Living Home Can Handle:
- Oxygen therapy – There are no specific best practices for the use of oxygen therapy during end-of-life care. However, if oxygen is prescribed by the person’s medical provider, assisted living homes can adequately administer and monitor its use.
- Some wound care with the help of a specialist who comes into the home. Often wound that require complex dressing changes or wound vacuum care is best suited for long-term care facilities.
- Sliding scale insulin requires close monitoring by an LPN or RN and can usually be handled.
- Antimicrobial therapy – This is commonly used to relieve symptoms associated with the end of life. Approximately half of the patients receiving end-of-life care have an infection. Assisted living care homes can work with medical practitioners to determine when antimicrobial therapy is an essential part of end-of-life care.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD) – Having COPD can make end-of-life breathing difficulties more severe. Assisted living homes are equipped to handle most cases of end-stage COPD through the use of oxygen and pain medication, as prescribed by a medical professional.
- Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) – is another condition that can be monitored well in an assisted living home. It may be appropriate for hospice care to be included when the patient reaches the final stages of CHF.
- Renal failure – Renal failure usually requires dialysis to deal with decreasing kidney function. Managing chronic illnesses such as renal failure is a specialty associated with assisted living. Many can partner with nearby dialysis centers to provide in-house dialysis/ palliative dialysis with treatment goals being aimed at quality of life rather than medical parameters.
- Acute phase of strokes – Stroke patients benefit from a structure in how end-of-life care is administered. Assisted living homes are capable of providing the level of is needed, and the consistency of delivering that care.
- Dementia – Caring for anyone at the end of life is difficult, but it can be even more challenging if the person has dementia. Assisted living homes are equipped to handle these increased needs and provide the patient with the dignity and respect they deserve.
- Cirrhosis/liver failure – Pain control and the relief of symptoms associated with liver failure during end-of-life care are easily managed by assisted living homes.
- Progressive weight loss – Also called a “failure to thrive,” it is a hallmark of the end of life. It is especially concerning for patients with dementia. Assisted living homes can monitor weight loss and administer appropriate care as directed by medical providers.
- Medication administered by oral route – Assisted living homes are trained to administer oral medications to help manage end of life conditions and symptoms.
When Can An Assisted Living Not Handle End-of-Life Care
As previously mentioned, it is not always appropriate for assisted living homes to care for a patient at the end of life. There are times when a person will require care elsewhere:
- Significant wound care that involves complex wound dressing changes is best suited for long-term care facilities.
- Continuous or intermittent IV is better suited for rehabilitation facilities and long-term care facilities.
- Usually, tubes and jejunostomy tubes are better suited for long-term care facilities due to the requirement for cleaning and monitoring the tubes to prevent infection.
- CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilators require a level of care that is not appropriate for assisted living homes. End-of-life patients with these devices are better suited for long-term care.
- Total parenteral nutrition infusions are common for patients dying of cancer and other terminal illnesses. A long-term care facility best manages it.
What is End-of-Life Care?
End-of-life care, sometimes referred to as late-stage care, is the clinical term to describe the ongoing emotional support and medical care an individual receives during the time leading up to their death. The person may be in the final stages of a terminal illness, succumbing to a lifelong disease, or in the natural stages of the dying process. The length of care is dependent on the reason the person requires it and can last a few days, weeks, or even months.
Regardless of why a person needs end-of-life care, the goal is to help them live as comfortably as possible in the time they have left. Quality end-of-life care also includes:
- Management of physical symptoms to ensure comfort
- Emotional support for the person receiving the care and their family members
- Expectations for the person receiving the care and their family and friends about the process of late-stage care and the dying process
- Financial support, as needed
- Assistance in drafting a will
Knowing when it is time to consider late-stage care is an integral part of the process.
Individuals dealing with terminal illnesses or diseases with a high mortality rate are candidates for this type of care. If the person already resides at an assisted living care facility, the staff may approach family and caregivers when it is time to transition to end-of-life care and support.
Other signs it is time to consider late-stage care include:
- Multiple trips to the emergency room for the treatment and stabilization of an ongoing condition. The condition rapidly worsens between ER trips, and the person’s quality of life is not improving.
- Multiple admissions to the hospital in the same year for the same condition with worsening symptoms
- The decision to discontinue treatment for a terminal illness
What to Expect When End of Life is Near
No two people are the same, but there are some common physical symptoms experienced when the end of life is near. Breathing difficulty, digestive issues, fatigue, and pain are all normal parts of the dying process. Watching a loved one experience these symptoms can be difficult, but it is essential to stay calm so that the patient will feel at peace.
While each person is different, there are some commonalities associated with the body as it begins to break down during the end-of-life stage. What to expect:
- 1 to 3 months before death – The dying person may take more frequent naps and sleep for more extended periods; have a diminished hunger and thirst; begin to withdraw from friends and family; communicate less; stop engaging in previously-enjoyed activities.
- 1 to 2 weeks before death – Changes in sleep patterns and decreased appetite and thirst are the most noticeable signs of this stage. The dying person will also have less urine output and fewer bowel movements, increased pain; congested breathing; and changes in their blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. It is not uncommon for the dying person to appear confused.
What Questions to Ask an Assisted Living Facility About End-of-Life Care
Create a list of questions to have on hand when touring an assisted living facility to ensure it matches your loved one’s needs. Some of the things to ask are:
- What is your patient to staff ratio?
- What type of training does your care staff receive?
- Is your staff trained in Alzheimer’s disease and other memory-care needs?
- Are staff members on-site 24/7?
- Are staff members trained to administer medication?
- Do you have in-house nurses and doctors on staff?
- What are your security measures?
- Are there additional services available if care needs change?
- Do you offer end-of-life care?
- Can you provide references?
There are red flags to watch for when asking your questions and touring assisted living facilities. The biggest red flag is a lack of respect. Pay attention to how staff members interact with residents and with one another. Are they spending more time socializing with each other than caring for the residents?
Other red flags include:
- Managers are unavailable to answer questions on request. If they are missing in action during your visit, it may be a sign they are overworked or inattentive.
- The facility lacks choices for everyday living needs, such as your loved one’s choice of food, clothing, and sleeping time. While some routine needs to occur, you don’t want your loved one to feel like they are in prison.
- The facility is located in an unsafe neighborhood.
- The staff is rude to you or uncaring toward residents.
- The residents do not look well cared for, and the facility is cluttered or dirty.
- There are violations or complaints against the facility.
- The administration avoids discussing fees for services.
With Which End-of-Life Conditions Can Assisted Living Provide Comfort?
Some assisted living communities do not provide end-of-life care. For those that do, there are conditions with which they can provide comfort and support.
1. Pain and discomfort
Pain and discomfort are common at the end of life, especially during the final weeks leading to a person’s death. It can be difficult for loved ones to watch, but there are things assisted living providers can do to help.
Because there is no need to worry about the long-term effects of pain medication – including addiction – pain medication will be administered to ensure the patient is comfortable and with pain management in mind. Morphine is commonly prescribed during the end of life, but other pain medications can be used. Assisted living providers can work with palliative medical specialists to find the right fit.
2. Breathing problems/shortness of breath
Just as it can be challenging to see a loved one in pain, it also is painful to watch them struggle to breathe. Shortness of breath and the ability to take a deep breath is common during the end of life. Sometimes it may even sound like rattling in the chest. This is caused by fluid collecting in the dying person’s throat. Assisted living providers can ease breathing difficulty by elevating the patient, using a humidifier, and using a fan to circulate the air in the room.
3. Skin irritation/skin breakdown
As we age, our skin naturally becomes drier. Once a dying person begins to experience a diminished desire to eat and drink, dry skin can worsen. Sitting or lying in one position for too long also can cause bed sores. Assisted living care teams can use lotions to help keep the dying person’s skin moisturized. Shifting their position throughout the day will help to prevent bedsores.
4. Digestive problems
It is not uncommon for people near the end of life to lose their appetite. The natural result can be nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Pain medication can make constipation and nausea worse. Assisted living care staff can work with the patient’s medical providers to find a balance of pain medication and other intervention measures to ease these symptoms. Assisted living centers may suggest offering smaller meals to the patient to help encourage eating, prevent dehydration, and help the person to eat if they feel too weak to feed themselves.
5. Temperature sensitivity
Shifting from being too hot to too cold is common at the end of life. If the patient is constantly kicking off a blanket, they may be trying to tell you they are too warm. Shivering can be a sign the person is too cold. Assisted living facilities capable of handling end-of-life patients are trained to watch for these signs and ensure they are comfortable.
When we do not eat or drink as frequently as we once did, fatigue is natural. Assisted living care staff can help ease fatigue by keeping activities simple for the person. This may mean switching to sponge baths instead of showers and placing a portable toilet next to the person’s bed to reduce the number of trips to the bathroom.
How to Evaluate if an Assisted Living Home is Equipped to Handle End-of-Life Care
When it comes to evaluating whether an assisted living home is equipped to handle end of life care, safety is the bottom line. You can ask questions to determine if an assisted living home is the right choice for you:
What can I expect from end-of-life care in your home?
- Who will be administering the care? What are their qualifications?
- Do you have a plan for the administration of my care?
- How will my pain be managed?
- How will you communicate with my family about my care and ongoing needs?
Assisted living homes that fail to answer questions of this nature, or offer only vague answers are incapable of providing the quality care you deserve during the end of life.
Comparing End-of-Life Options
Assisted living homes are not your only end-of-life option. It is best to compare all of your choices before making a decision.
Both hospice and palliative care provide comfort. Palliative care can begin at diagnosis and occur in conjunction with treatment. It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. Hospice care begins after treatment of the disease is stopped and when it becomes clear the person will not survive the illness. Hospice care is generally recommended for persons with six months or less to live and can be provided at home or at an assisted living home under the guidance of a hospice physician and nurse.
Other options for care include:
- Home-based care is possible but depending on the level of care the person requires, it may not be ideal. Caregivers involved with an in-home care situation will need to be well organized and consistent. The benefit is the person will feel more comfortable in their home environment. A significant drawback is the lack of access to the kind of medical equipment that can make end-of-life care easier for all involved.
- Long-term residential facilities are ideal for end-of-life care that requires access to a variety of medical and personal care services.
- Hospital-based care should be reserved for only those who require intensive levels that frequently require the supervision of medical professionals.
Choosing Vista Living as the Right Assisted Living Facility for You
Vista Living’s caring and compassionate staff understand the stress and anxiety involved with end-of-life care. We ensure the dying person and their loved ones are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve through every step of the process. Contact us today to learn more about how Vista Living can help your loved transition.
According to a recent report, about 40.2 percent of retired American workers rely solely on their Social Security benefits in retirement — while around 6.8 percent receive money from Social Security, pensions, and retirement savings accounts. However, even those who receive money from all three sources can expect to earn a median annual income of just $37,440.
Whether you’re living on Social Security benefits alone or you’re fortunate enough to have other retirement savings like an IRA or 401(k), living on a fixed income can be a challenge — especially when you’re used to getting raises, promotions, and racking up overtime on occasion.
However, it’s possible to live on a fixed income without skimping out on your golden years — and we’ll tell you how to do it below!
Reduce Monthly Expenses
Within the first two years of retiring from the workforce, nearly 50 percent of households end up spending more money than they did before they retired — which isn’t ideal when you’re living on a fixed income. From entertainment and travel expenses to higher health insurance premiums, your retirement years can cost you a whole lot more than you’d expect. However, you can reduce spending in retirement while still filling your time with travel, entertainment, and other leisurely activities if you:
● Shop around for affordable health insurance coverage.
● Sell your vehicle or shop around for lower automobile insurance rates.
● Look for senior discounts whenever you shop, dine out, or pay for a service.
● Buy clothing, furniture, and home goods from local thrift stores.
To help you cut costs each month and save money while living on a fixed income, you’ll also want to create a retirement budget. The Balance has some practical tips on its website to help you get started.
Supplement Your Income
In addition to creating a budget and reducing your monthly expenses, you could supplement your retirement income with a side gig that allows you to work from home and set your own hours. If you pursue freelance work during retirement, for instance, you can use your skills to earn money from home — giving you the flexibility and cash you need to live your senior years
to the fullest. Moreover, freelance opportunities are available in a variety of industries — including writing, customer service, administrative support, and accounting. If you have writing experience, for instance, you could work as a freelance ghostwriter, copywriter, or web content writer. Or, you could use your customer service skills to work as a freelance customer service representative or phone support specialist. Before working in retirement, however, you’ll want to determine whether your earnings would affect your Social Security benefit amount.
Downsize Your Home
If you’re living on Social Security benefits alone, your current mortgage payment could easily exceed your retirement earnings. However, downsizing into something smaller, less expensive, and more manageable could save you money each month and reduce the amount you’re spending on home maintenance and emergency repairs. Plus, you could save even more in retirement if you move somewhere affordable like Wenatchee, WA, Summerville, SC, or Colorado Springs, CO.
Before downsizing your home in retirement, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. For instance, you’ll need to determine whether you’re going to sell your home or rent it out, buy a new house with a lower mortgage payment, or move into a residential care community.
At Vista Living, we feel that independent living and retirement communities are worthwhile options to consider when downsizing your home, but you’ll want to run the numbers before making any decisions.
Living on a fixed income can be a challenge after so many years of working and earning a living, especially if your sole source of retirement income is from Social Security. With some budgeting and financial tweaking, however, you can get by on a fixed income without skimping out on the many wonderful luxuries your retirement years have to offer.
For many individuals today who strive to retain as much independence as possible while still enjoying a high quality of life, the decision is between assisted living and in-home care. Will we choose in-home care while we age in place, or will we relocate to an assisted living community capable of helping with our daily living needs?
The atmosphere and the level of care seniors experience during in-home care are considerably different than in an assisted living home. There are many factors involved with the decision, including financial ones. Answering the following three questions can help narrow down the decision:
- How much help do I need with my daily living activities?
- How much does each option cost (in-home and assisted living)?
- How much money do I have in my budget to pay for the type of assistance I prefer?
Once you have the answers, you should thoroughly evaluate additional information about the level of care and services provided by each option. Keep reading to learn more about each option to determine the best choice to meet your needs.
What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living homes, when done well, are designed for seniors who require various levels of medical and personal care (and is available 24/7 when needed). . Assisted living homes hope to preserve many parts of someone’s independent living for as long as possible. As more help is needed, a caregiver is available to help with daily living activities and memory care. Homes also help seniors connect with others and participate in activities like the larger facilities.
Seniors who opt for one of Vista Living Senior Care’s assisted living homes often need help with many aspects of daily living, such as:
- Housekeeping and laundry
- Medication management
- Meal preparation
- Daily living activities (bathing, toileting)
- Mobile doctors and medical services
- Social activities
- Health and wellness programs and services
- Round-the-clock security
Assisted living facilities differ in some of the amenities they offer, so it is best to check what your top choices provide. That way you can evaluate your options fairly and choose wisely.
Who Can Benefit From Assisted Living?
Seniors who know they require some extra help to complete everyday tasks but who still wish to maintain a level of independence will benefit the most from an assisted living home. There are tell-tale signs that it may be time to make the transition into assisted living.
1. Feeling isolated or lonely
Everyone feels lonely or isolated sometimes. But if this situation has turned into an overwhelming feeling of loneliness, it is a warning sign that a change is needed. Lack of community and a feeling of connection is linked to depression, which in turn can lead to chronic health conditions such as dementia and heart disease.
2. Declining health
Chronic conditions can become more prevalent as we age, requiring a more consistent level of care. With more than 70 million Americans aged 50 and older dealing with at least one chronic medical condition, the likelihood of needing additional care as they age increases. Seniors who have required frequent care for a chronic condition for several months are ideal candidates for the extra support and supervision provided by assisted living.
3. Mismanaging finances
A piling up of unpaid bills or other signs of financial distress can be early signs that a senior is struggling to manage on their own. Seniors who live alone also are more susceptible to financial scams, which can put their retirement and other savings at risk.
Hoarding is not exclusive to seniors, but it can pose unique risks and challenges if they are engaging in the practice. It is a sign that they may no longer be able to live on their own. Seniors who hoard are more likely to suffer from falls and other related injuries. Hoarding can make access to emergency personnel difficult or impossible.
5. Practicing poor hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene is important in preventing illness. As we age, the fear of falling in the bath can inhibit us from engaging in proper hygiene practices. The fear is not unfounded, with 80 percent of all falls happening in the bathroom. If you or your loved one is having difficulty with a personal care routine, assisted living can help.
What Is In-Home Care?
In-home care is exactly what it sounds like: personal aide, caregiver and/or nurse visit seniors in their homes to assist with everyday living essentials. The biggest benefit of in-home care is that it allows seniors to age in place in the comfort of their own homes.
Services included with in-home care vary by agency. Some of the more common features of in-home care are:
- Assistance with personal hygiene (bathing, toileting)
- Grocery shopping and meal preparation
- Light housekeeping
- Running errands
- Transportation to appointments
In-home care services can be extremely limited and may not provide the same level of 24/7 care that’s available with assisted living homes. Those that do are quite expensive and may not fit into your monthly budget. Some insurance plans include coverage for long-term care, and there is always the option of buying long-term care insurance plans or insurance policies with riders for long-term care if you qualify.
Who Can Benefit From In-Home Care?
Seniors who are mostly able to manage their own daily living needs will benefit the most from receiving in-home care. It is extremely beneficial to those who wish to remain in familiar surroundings or who desire to be close to family and friends.
In-home care is ideal for those who have insurance that covers the costs of the service or those who have enough money budgeted for the expense associated with this level of care. The cost of in-home care averages around $25 per hour, according to the Administration on Aging, if the aid is hired through an agency. Independent caregivers typically charge $18-30 per hour.
Seniors who desire or require one-to-one attention and consistency in the caregiver who is providing the services would most benefit from in-home care.
How Much Help Do You Need?
When deciding between in-home care and assisted living, an important factor is the level of help needed by the person who will be using the services. There are several questions seniors (or their loved ones) can ask to determine the appropriate level of care.
1. Is it difficult for me to maintain my current home?
Keeping up with a house or apartment is tedious work, but it has the potential to become even more burdensome as you age. Large yards that require landscaping, flights of stairs that are becoming difficult to navigate, and extra rooms that are never used but still require tidying up are all reasons to consider downsizing from your current living quarters. If your current home has gotten to be too much responsibility, choosing to transition to assisted living is a great option.
2. Is it difficult for me to get to the places I need to go?
Transportation is one of the biggest driving factors in seniors choosing in-home care or assisted living. Homes can help senior’s families coordinate transportation to get to medical appointments, social engagements, or to run errands. If it is no longer safe for you to drive on your own and access to public transportation is limited where you live, it is time to consider in-home or assisted living.
3. Is it difficult for me to stay connected with others?
Social isolation is a very real concern as we age. If you no longer drive and if access to public transportation is limited, connecting with friends and family can be challenging. Many seniors find assisted living communities to be a great resource for social opportunities and fostering a sense of community.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Assisted Living and In-Home Care?
There are numerous pros of assisted living. The biggest benefit is the affordability factor for the 24/7 care available in assisted living homes. Round-the-clock care is possible with in-home care, but it is significantly more expensive.
Other pros include:
- Care needs become a secondary thought, allowing family and friends to focus on spending quality time with their loved ones.
- Seniors have many opportunities for socialization and activities with other residents.
- Family members can stop worrying about hiring, scheduling, and managing caregivers and leave that hassle to the assisted living staff.
- The level of care can be adjusted as needs change.
- Consistency of care: a good assisted living home can keep their caregivers for long periods of time, and in-home care can be more of a revolving door of caregivers.
There are cons with assisted living as well. One-on-one care might not be immediately available at all times. The quality of the care received is dependent on the staff. Some seniors do not enjoy living in an assisted living environment, so that can also be a disadvantage to this kind of setup.
The disadvantages of in-home care include the cost, which can be exorbitant if 24/7 care is required. In-home care also increases the chances a senior will feel isolated.
Need-to-Know Tips to Help You Make the Right Choice
Choosing between in-home care and assisted living is often a personal choice. When making the decision, it is important to listen to the wants and needs of the person who will be benefiting from the care. It is important to weigh all the factors. Some need-to-know tips to help you make the right choice:
- Make sure the in-home care option (agency, individual) or assisted living facility meets your specific needs.
- Compare costs for both: in-home care, especially if needed 24/7, is more expensive than assisted living.
The most important tip is to choose the option that makes the person using it the happiest. Everyone deserves to live out their golden years with dignity and respect and should have the final say in which option is chosen.
The Importance of Socialization
Social isolation is a real concern as we age. Connecting with others is a basic human desire, and when we are denied socialization, the results can be devastating. Groundbreaking research by the late John Cacioppo determined that mental anguish caused by chronic loneliness is real and can be quite devastating to mental and physical well-being.
In-home care is not the best option for seniors who want to increase their social opportunities. Assisted living homes are more equipped to help seniors plug in quickly to their new environment and to take full advantage of the amenities designed to promote socialization.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or in need of dementia care require extra assistance that may not be ideal for an in-home setting.
At Vista Living Senior Care, our staff is trained to provide 24/7 support services designed to help our Alzheimer’s and dementia care residents thrive. Residents enjoy daily activities and socialization opportunities that are therapeutic and uplifting. Family members can rest assured their loved ones will have the attention and support needed. Contact us to schedule a tour of our Alzheimer’s and dementia care communities and speak with a member of our team who can answer any questions.
Staff and Specialty Care
It is imperative to choose an assisted living community with certified staff members who are compassionate and available on-site for round-the-clock care. At Vista Living Senior Care, our staff is comprised of caring individuals who are dedicated to the health and well-being of our residents.
Our full-time nurse and staff goes the extra mile to ensure families are apprised of the level of care needed for their loved one and receive regular progress updates. Our caregivers are highly skilled and have extensive experience in supervisory, personal, and directed levels of care. The caregiver ratio is 1 for every 5 residents.
Help Finding a Senior Living Community at Vista Living
All of the senior living communities at Vista Living feature private suite bedrooms with bathrooms, a kitchen with island seating, and open common areas that encourage socialization. A beauty salon, rehabilitation and workout room, and patio equipped with a BBQ grill are additional amenities offered at Vista Living Senior Care.
We have several levels of care:
- Assisted Living is for seniors who just need extra help with their daily activities.
- Memory Care is ideal for our residents with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related conditions.
- Dementia Care focuses on providing residents with additional assistance with everyday activities while preserving the independent-living model.
- Alzheimer’s Care offers a high level of physical and emotional support for residents who require this additional assistance.
Seniors and their loved ones who are considering one of our communities at Vista Living Senior Care are encouraged to reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our team members. We can answer any questions you may have about our communities and help you choose the best option to suit your individual needs.
Want to check out your options from the comfort of your home? Our virtual tours feature 360-degree views of the facilities and amenities offered at each of our sites.
Choosing to move your loved one to an assisted living facility is not an easy decision to make. Additionally, selecting what options are available can be quite overwhelming for both the senior and his/her family. The strain of planning an immediate and appropriate living arrangement due to the declining health of their loved ones may also make it difficult for them. However, knowing what services assisted living facilities offer to its residents can make everything more simple for both parties.
Assisted living facilities have become a safe heaven for seniors. It gives them a chance to improve their quality of life. An assisted living facility allows them to interact with other residents, make new friends, and widen their social circle by participating in different activities that are offered by the facility. This holds true for very older adults who have previously been confined within the comforts of their homes due to some physical and cognitive difficulties. Moreover, the medication management services that are also offered by the facilities are extremely helpful for seniors since they are able to take their medications on time every day.
It is important to understand, though, that not all assisted living facilities are created equally. Visiting the facilities personally may help you know whether or not it is a good place for your loved one to transfer to considering the level of care they need and their preferences. While it’s important to know the services that are offered by the facility, there are also other factors you need to consider. These factors include the staff’s expertise in the field especially if your loved one is diagnosed with early dementia or Alzheimer’s. It is also important to consider the emotional support that will be given to your loved one.
Assisted living facilities are constantly changing through the years. Through research and evaluations, assisted living facilities may be able to keep up with the latest trends and improve the services they offer to their clientele.
How Assisted Living Has Evolved
More states have established regulations that aim for a better, cleaner, and more trained personnel to handle residents in an assisted living facility. As a result, the decision of moving their loved ones into senior care communities became easier for them.
The luxury type of assisted living is popular among seniors and their families these days. It’s especially attractive to them since their loved ones could enjoy living in a facility that closely resembles a classy resort.
There are a lot of amenities and services that seniors could enjoy in assisted living facilities including:
- Wellness programs and exercises that are designed to cater the needs of your loved one
- Food preparation
- Barber and beautician services
- Housekeeping services
- Laundry Services
- Transportation services
- Recreational activities
- Social events
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Support group or discussion groups
Most of what is listed are included in the basic services that are offered by facilities. Before making a decision, be sure to consult your loved one regarding their preferences. If they want to avail of any additional services aside from the basic ones, it’s important to know that additional costs may apply.
What Assisted Living Facilities Looks Like Today
The type of assisted living facilities today usually varies depending on the senior living professionals in each community. Most facilities today provide a condominium type of living where residents may be able to choose to receive care discreetly in accordance with their preferred time or schedule.
Residents in the assisted living facilities are encouraged to join the activities but are not forced to participate. The seniors living in an assisted living facility may have different schedules and they are free to do as they like so long as it’s safe for them.
Day to Day Care
The major role of assisted living is to provide an extra helping hand to seniors who need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). Therefore, if your loved one is still capable of doing everyday activities with little help, assisted living facilities may be the best choice for them. The personnel at an assisted living facility are trained to aid seniors with:
- Using the toilet
The staff in Assisted living facilities may also offer assistance to your loved one when it comes to instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) including:
- Managing finances
- Meal preparation
- Using a phone
- Household chores
However, the family may also have the option of handling the IADLs for the seniors. Every assisted living facility have their own structure regarding these situations and you may be able to set up an arrangement that would work best for you and your elderly loved one.
It is also vital for the seniors to have a connection with the facility’s staff since they will be depending mostly on them in doing most of the basic daily activities, may it be dressing, helping them shower, or helping them prepare their meals. On the other hand, the care providers should also make an effort in connecting with the senior residents since they will become a big part of the senior resident’s life.
How Important is the Ongoing Staff Training?
It’s understandable that you might have doubts relying on someone to tend to the needs of your elderly loved one, especially if you don’t know that person. In order to remedy that, assisted living facilities have provided programs and emotion-based care training for their caregivers to ensure the families of their residents that the needs of their elderly loved one are under the care of highly skilled care professionals.
In the process of finding the right professionals for the job, the applicants need to undergo a comprehensive hiring process. The supervisor should be able to monitor and demonstrate great care to the newly hired staff every now and then. They should also be able to provide on-going training to ensure that their skills will be further developed to provide an even greater service to the residents.
The Importance of Connecting Emotionally with Staff
It’s a known fact that the family of the senior residents would want the staff to treat their elderly loved one as a part of their family. Since the staff plays a big role in the lives of the senior residents, a lot of seniors would want the staff to share personal stories in order for both parties to know each other on a deeper level. This way, a connection between the staff and the senior would be established.
The level of interaction between staff and residents is one of the biggest factors that families consider in choosing the right assisted living facility for their elderly loved one. Emotional connections are important since it shows that the community is surrounded by a supportive environment and at the same time a caring and loving staff.
With the number of assisted living care facilities all over the country today, it isn’t exactly wrong to say that each facility differs from the other in some ways. Looking into the amenities and services each facility offers is vital in choosing the best senior care community for your loved one. .
Assisted living should be considered a big adventure during our golden years, as there are extra support systems and new opportunities to meet different people. This is especially true for those who choose to make Vista Living their new home. Of course, that leaves us with the conundrum of what to do with our own properties.
First, you have the option of renting out your home. By doing so, you give yourself a grace period to decide if you want to sell or have family take it over. Better still, you’ll earn a monthly passive income to add to your nest egg, help cover expenses, or help fund activities. In short: If you don’t have pressing financial needs, this is often a good choice.
Unfortunately, this plan does have a few drawbacks. For instance, you’ll have to deal with any tenant issues that arise — at any hour of the day. Of course, you could hire a property manager to deal with the details, but that can quickly eat into your earnings. Often, management companies will charge up to 10 percent of your total profit, which doesn’t take into account the amount you have to put aside to cover potential repairs.
The biggest benefit of selling your house is that you’ll get an immediate cash flow to bump up your savings, though it’s important to keep an eye on the housing market so you don’t set unrealistic expectations. This can be important, particularly given how assisted living can cost thousands of dollars a month. By selling your property, you’ll have funds to support those expenses, and enough set aside for emergencies, fun, or an exciting investment.
The disadvantages of selling your home can differ by circumstance. For instance, the housing market could slow down or find itself in another serious crisis. In that context, it’s natural to have worries, but talking to a real estate agent can help guide your decision. Beyond financial considerations, selling may feel like an emotionally difficult and painful decision to commit to. So, even if it makes financial sense, it’s a process that deserves reflection.
Prep Your Property
Getting the best price will mean creating a game plan and investing a little upfront, especially in areas like the bathroom and kitchen. Yet, before you repaint or declutter your house, you should caulk and glaze your tub and put in a new sink. Moreover, if your carpeting needs work, have them cleaned or replaced. Thankfully, these updates are affordable and can go a long way to make things look nice. However, don’t ignore the importance of the exterior since curb appeal can grab a buyer’s eye.
Family Care: Pros
This is a good choice if your family is nearby, and they also have the financial security to afford the costs that come with taking care of a house. Indeed, this can be a wise move if you have a grandchild old enough to own a house but who is struggling to make a down payment. While they gain a home and build up their savings, you gain someone who can care for your property.
Family Care: Cons
Of course, if your family isn’t close, or if they can’t afford to look after a second home, this can be challenging. After all, the average annual cost of home insurance alone is more than $1,000. Given that, there may be no alternative but to sell your property to move forward.
All in all, you have to decide which road to take as a homeowner. Whether you need the extra financial boost from a sale or want your family to care for the home you love, weigh your choices carefully. Most importantly, let others assist you in making the right decision and planning your move.
Image courtesy of Pexels