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 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.