Winter brings snow, ice, and cold temperatures to many regions. If you or your senior loved one live in such an area, it’s important to understand the risks of the season. It’s a beautiful time of year with lots of excitement as the holidays approach, but it has its hazards. The conditions can be a danger to people of any age, especially the elderly.
The best thing to do is to know how to mitigate the risks of winter so that you or your loved one can enjoy the season and stay safe. Be mindful of the weather and remember that older people face challenges that younger people do not, like being more susceptible to the cold.
If your loved one resides in an assisted living community, then they are already a step ahead when it comes to safety. These facilities are built to protect older adults all year round. If you have been asking yourself “Is an assisted living community a safe place for my loved one?” then it may be time to look into it.
What can you do to protect yourself or an aging loved one from the potential perils of the winter season?
Monitor the Weather Forecast When Making Plans
If you plan to go out or to take your loved one out, monitor the weather forecast. This will help you determine if it’s a good time to travel and how to prepare.
The weather can change, so make sure you keep an eye on the forecast leading up to the day of your plans. If there is a risk of severe conditions, it may be best to postpone an event or reschedule an appointment.
Some areas can see dramatic changes during this time of year. While one area may have heavy snow, another might see rain or rain and ice. Use this information to ensure that you have appropriate attire with you in case conditions change or become extreme.
Always Dress for the Weather Using Layers
Seniors should dress in layers when going out during winter. This is the best way to stay warm but also have the option to remove a layer if they start to overheat. Everyone should be comfortable when going out, and layering is a great way to do that.
Keep in mind that slush or melting snow can cause garments to become damp. It’s always helpful to bring a change of clothes if possible, or at least a few basics like dry socks.
Always wear shoes that provide plenty of foot support with good treads for traction. Even if a senior won’t be hiking in the woods, they may still encounter ice and snow on sidewalks or in parking lots. Road salt can also be a slipping hazard when wearing the wrong footwear.
Follow Doctor’s Orders for Immunizations
Seniors should check in with their doctors to discuss winter health preparations. The fall and winter are considered flu season because infections peak during this part of the year.
Your doctor may recommend a flu shot or other measures to protect you or your loved one. Talking directly with their doctor will give them the best recommendations based on their individual needs.
It’s best to start this process during or before the fall so you or your loved one are ready when the time comes. Your doctor can also suggest lifestyle changes that will help build the immune system during the cooler months. For example, your doctor may suggest safe ways for seniors to stay fit indoors to avoid weight gain during winter.
Use COVID-19 Safety Measures at Holiday Events
While COVID-19 is not as rampant as it was a couple of years ago, it is still around. And it is still a big concern for the elderly. Keep this in mind during the winter when people often attend crowded holiday events and gatherings.
If you or a senior loved one will be going to a family get-together or a community event, make sure they are vaccinated. It may still be advisable to wear a mask and try to avoid close contact with others.
Verify That Their Living Space is Comfortable
One of the biggest benefits of assisted living is that these communities provide seniors with a safe, clean place to live that’s well-maintained. Staff handles all cleaning and repairs as needed.
It doesn’t hurt to check in with your loved one and make sure they are comfortable in their living space. Is their room as warm as they like? Have they noticed a draft coming from a door or window?
If so, be their advocate and talk to staff to find a solution. It’s possible that a minor repair was overlooked, or something needs to be reinsulated.
Have Extra Blankets or Heating Pads Ready
Having extra blankets or a heating pad on hand can help seniors stay cozy this winter. A spare blanket or two will ensure they can always bundle up if they are feeling chilly.
Heating pads are great, especially if they are portable. Electric pads work well but will require an electrical outlet. There are microwavable heating pads that are safe and convenient. After warming in the microwave, they can be used anywhere without an outlet. They come in different shapes with and without straps so that they can be held or worn.
Avoid Travel During Inhospitable Weather
Human beings can’t control the weather. If it’s going to rain or snow, we have to adapt. Unfortunately, these conditions can appear when we have other plans. When this happens, it’s important to put safety first.
For example, a family gathering may fall on a day that has a blizzard in the forecast. It may be best to not bring grandma or grandpa to the festivities if the weather poses a risk.
It’s sometimes a difficult decision to make, so it helps to have a backup plan. If you can’t reschedule the whole gathering, consider planning another event at a later date that will include your loved one.
Talk About Assisted Living Emergency Plans
Every assisted living facility should have an emergency plan. This should include different potential situations. If the region experiences winter conditions, then staff should know what to do if something occurs during a heavy snowstorm.
Ask staff about their emergency plan. What will they do if the power goes out on a cold, snowy day? What if there is too much ice and snow to leave? Do they stock several days’ worth of supplies in case they are snowed in?
This information will help families feel confident that their family member is in a safe place. You can also share the details with your loved one so they can feel comfortable knowing they are safe, and the staff is prepared.
Know the Signs of Hypothermia in Seniors
The cold can affect older adults quicker than others. You and your loved one should know the symptoms of hypothermia so that you can take action before it’s too late.
The early signs of hypothermia include:
- Cold hands and feet
- Slowed speech
- Feeling confused, sleepy, or angry
- Pale skin
- Swollen face
If a senior doesn’t seek warmth, hypothermia can progress. Later signs include:
- Uncontrollable jerking in limbs
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Slowed heartbeat
- Going in and out of consciousness
If you notice the signs of hypothermia, move to a warm place immediately. If you can’t do that, you can also try skin-to-skin contact to transfer body heat. Wrap both people in a blanket for insulation.
A warm non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverage can also help.
You should seek immediate medical attention to get body temperature back to where it should be and ensure there are no other health complications.
Consider a Move to a Warmer Climate
Seniors who struggle with winter weather conditions should consider a move to a warmer climate.
Arizona is a popular choice among senior citizens. The state has high temperatures and a dry heat. The lack of humidity makes the warmer season more comfortable compared to other parts of the country.
Depending on which part of Arizona you live in, you may never or rarely have to deal with snow. It’s an ideal setting for seniors.
Learn More About Assisted Living at Vista Living
Begin your search for a warm place to call home with Vista Living Senior Care. Our residential facilities provide all the amenities of home without the risk of heavy ice and snow. Visit the Vista Living Senior Care website or give us a call to learn more.
An active social life isn’t just for young people. Senior citizens also benefit from socialization.
Human beings are social creatures. It is a part of our survival. We thrive through cooperation with others. Social interactions influence our mental and emotional wellbeing. This has a direct influence on our overall health.
Elderly people are at a higher risk for medical conditions. They are also more likely to experience feelings of loneliness and depression. As we age, we tend to experience more life changes. One of the biggest is the loss of those around us. Physical limitations can make it difficult to expand our social circle. While loved ones grow older and pass away, many seniors find it challenging to meet new people and remain socially active.
If you or someone you love is a senior, it’s important to be proactive about being social. Find opportunities to meet people and connect with friends. Whether it’s in person or online, interactions can help us live happier, longer lives.
Why is an active social life an essential part of healthy aging?
- Social Seniors Tend to Be Mentally Healthier
An active social life encourages better mental health. It helps lower the risk of depression. Spending time with others prevents feelings of isolation.
Seniors who socialize regularly are less likely to experience feelings of despair and worthlessness. Mental health has a significant impact on a person’s physical wellness as well as their outlook on life. Many elderly adults decide to live in a retirement community because of the benefits of social interactions.
- Socializing Encourages Seniors to Be Physically Active
Seniors who are social are also more likely to be physically active. Getting out and meeting people makes us move around. Even if you aren’t doing exercise as a group specifically, just the act of going to an event or visiting a friend requires moving.
This can have a profound effect on overall health. Physical activity reduces the risk and impact of illnesses.
Research has found a link between isolation and loneliness and many common health conditions like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Staying social will reduce your risk of these and other medical problems.
- Social Activities Nurture a Sense of Belonging
Being such social creatures, humans want to feel like they belong. A person’s sense of belonging can be shaken as they face life changes like the effects of getting older.
Socializing helps elderly adults feel like they have a place where they belong. It allows them to connect with peers or strengthen bonds with younger generations. Assisted living communities are a great place to inspire a sense of belonging. These places offer activities and events that residents can join with a group of peers. Seniors can find others who they can relate to with similar life experiences or meet people who are different, adding variety to life.
- Friends Help Us Lower Stress and Improve Mood
The effects of aging along with personal commitments and health changes can increase stress. Socializing helps seniors reduce stress and improves their mood.
Talking with a good friend can help a person relax. Discussing concerns and worries helps us work through these feelings. It gives us a way to vent and help our minds think clearer as we navigate life. Building friendships provide an outlet for seniors to find healthy ways to work through what they are feeling and experiencing.
- Socialization Can Boost a Senior’s Self-Worth
Friends and loved ones make us feel better about ourselves. Getting older can make it difficult or impossible to do the things we once did, like work or engage in hobbies. This can lead to feelings of worthlessness that may worsen as a person ages.
Everyone deserves to feel worthy of living. The people around us remind us of what makes us unique and valuable. They give us meaning in our lives. Friendship requires give and take. Being a part of that makes a person understand that they are needed and wanted.
- Gives Seniors a Stronger Support System
As loved ones pass away, many seniors find themselves with little to no support system. This can become a serious problem if they require assistance.
Some seniors may not realize that they need help until something bad happens, like a fall injury. Staying socially active helps fortify a person’s support system. Having more people in a senior’s life gives them more places to seek support if they need it. It also means that more people are around to notice if anything changes in an elderly person’s ability to care for themselves and live safely and comfortably.
- Those Around Us Help Us Live More Purposefully
Having a purpose helps many people wake up in the morning. It motivates us to keep going or look for opportunities to improve.
As seniors age, they sometimes feel like they have no purpose. They may no longer work and may not be able to do things that they used to do. Building friendships give us a purpose. These relationships require give and take, making both people feel needed. Having another person who cares about you will give you purpose.
Social events and interactions also give us something to be excited about. Anticipating an upcoming event or activity gives a senior something to look forward to, which helps us feel like we have a reason to exist and be present.
- Seniors Who Socialize Have Increased Cognitive Function
Seniors who socialize have increased cognitive function. They tend to perform better on related tests compared to those who have less interaction with close partners.
A study conducted at the Center for Healthy Aging at Penn State found that adults ages 70 to 90 who had pleasant social interactions showed better cognitive performance the same day or over the next two days following the interactions.
A six-year study published in 2013 also found that participants over age 65 who had more social interactions were less likely to develop dementia. In the study, social interactions included trying new things, reading the newspaper, and spending time with others.
Research has also indicated that quality is more important than quantity. Simply having a lot of friends isn’t enough. Seniors need to have meaningful interactions that involve give and take to get the benefits of being socially active.
- Social Interactions Inspire Positive Living in Seniors
Social interactions inspire seniors to live more positively. Older adults who build strong friendships tend to have a more positive outlook. They are usually happier and experience a better quality of life compared to those who are isolated.
Meeting others and building relationships exposes us to new ideas and experiences. These enrich a senior’s life and help them stay positive as they age.
- Socially Active Seniors Tend to Live Longer
Scientists have studied longevity for generations. Current data has shown that a varied social circle helps many seniors live longer. This is primarily because of the many other benefits that come with being socially active.
The University of Texas at Austin researchers found that older adults who interact with a broader range of people were more likely to be physically active and displayed improved emotional wellbeing. These factors can add years to a person’s lifespan.
Assisted Living Communities and Senior Social Lives
One of the best benefits of moving into an assisted living community is the social opportunities. These facilities place seniors among a group of peers with built-in activities. No travel is required to participate since most events and groups are hosted on-site.
If you would like to learn more about how assisted living can strengthen a senior’s social life, let us know. Visit Vista Living Senior Care now to get in touch or schedule a tour of our community.
Moving an elderly loved one into an assisted living community is not something families take lightly. Many are concerned about the level of care and safety provided for an aging parent or grandparent. In some cases, medical conditions can make it difficult for a senior to do things on their own, which means they will rely heavily on the facility that they live in.
A lot of consideration should be given before moving a loved one into an assisted living community. Many great locations are out there and offer different accommodations and services. Families should look for somewhere that will give their loved ones the best quality of life with maximum safety.
The good news is that assisted living communities like Vista Living Senior Care are among the safest places your loved one can reside. They are designed with the needs of seniors in mind, which allows them to create an environment that feels like home but with a lower risk of injury.
A national survey found that 91% of adult children with a parent living in a retirement community were pleased with the safety and physical security provided by the facility. The survey also found that 60% of seniors who live alone felt unprepared for an emergency while 93% of retirement community residents felt that there was a safety plan in place to protect them.
Those with a loved one who is experiencing cognitive decline can look for facilities that also provide memory care. Even if a resident isn’t at the point of needing support now, it will be available when or if that day comes.
What is it about assisted living communities that make them safe for seniors?
Staff Members Are Available 24 Hours a Day
As a loved one’s care needs increase, it can become difficult for family members to juggle the responsibility and keep up with their own commitments. Assisted living communities lift that burden and allow seniors and their loved ones to live without the stress of an increasing workload.
When choosing a location, you should ask about staff availability. Someone should be on-site 24 hours a day. That means if your loved one has an accident or needs assistance in the middle of the night, help will be there.
Even if your loved one lives with other family members, it’s difficult for someone to be awake all night long. Assisted living communities typically schedule staff so that someone is available and awake all the time. This allows for a quicker response time and ensures that the person responding is alert and ready to provide support.
Rooms Include Railings, Handles, and No-Slip Surfaces
Assisted living rooms and communal spaces are designed and built around the needs of the seniors who will live there. That means they will have fewer tripping hazards and more safety measures.
These usually include things like sturdy railings on all stairways, handles in bathrooms, and non-slip surfaces on steps, hard floors, and bathtubs. They may also have additional features like a button to call for assistance.
Halls and doorways are sized to ensure that there’s plenty of room for walkers and wheelchairs.
Support for Activities of Daily Living
Activities of daily living refer to the things a person has to do to take care of themselves each day. The list includes things like bathing, eating, dressing, moving, and using the bathroom. These are things that most people take for granted. When a person ages or develops a health condition, it can affect their ability to do one or more of these on their own.
An assisted living community like Vista Living Senior Care provides additional support for activities of daily living. The care provided is customized to the needs of the resident so that they can live as independently as possible but remain clean, properly fed, and healthy.
It may not be immediately apparent that a senior is having a problem with activities of daily living at home until the situation becomes more severe. They may begin to miss meals or stop bathing. In an assisted living community, support is available along with staff who can monitor for changes that need to be addressed before they become a health problem.
Continued Monitoring of Health, Hygiene, and Wellness
Age comes with its challenges. Physical changes or medical conditions can make it difficult to live independently. Depression and other mental health conditions also become a bigger risk.
Moving into an assisted living community will help give families peace of mind. Staff continuously monitor seniors to watch for changes in their physical and mental health. They can alert a medical professional and family if an evaluation or further care is required.
Many conditions are much easier to handle and treat when they are caught early. Experienced staff will also understand how to look for the early signs of common age-related conditions and will know where to direct the resident or their family members to get assistance.
Extra Security Measures to Prevent Wandering
Security is essential to the wellbeing of seniors. Remembering to do things like lock the doors and windows at night can become difficult. A senior may look like a vulnerable target to a criminal. Keeping strangers out of your loved one’s home is important.
There’s also another side to the safety equation when it comes to senior living. Dementia can cause seniors to change their behavior suddenly and unexpectedly. They can begin to do high-risk things like wander off at random times, even in inclement weather. This is extremely dangerous and can have heartbreaking consequences.
Assisted living communities have locking doors to keep unauthorized people out and prevent residents from leaving the safety of the facility. This is especially true if the community includes a memory care unit.
Cameras are also usually installed in key areas. Staff monitor residents so they know where everyone is at all times. It is a level of security that is difficult to achieve at home without making significant changes and having someone present 24 hours a day.
Encourages Better Physical and Mental Health
Good physical and mental health contribute to safety. When a senior is physically well, they are less likely to experience a fall injury or become ill. Being active won’t eliminate the risk, but it can help lower it.
Assisted living communities host groups and activities that can boost physical and mental health. Senior fitness classes give residents a fun way to build strength and flexibility. Having opportunities to socialize is great for their mental health, which helps the brain stay sharp.
Groups and activities are available outside of these facilities but having them conveniently located on-site makes it much easier for seniors to attend.
Housekeeping is Included in Care
Cleaning, yard work, laundry, and home maintenance are a normal part of living on your own. Even if you rent an apartment without a yard, you still have to clean it. These are tasks that become more difficult as we age.
A senior carrying a basket of laundry up and down stairs every week could be putting themselves at risk of falling or could suffer a back or knee injury. If an elderly loved one cannot keep up with the housework, their home may become dirty and unhygienic, which increases the risk of illness.
Vista Living Senior Care handles all the housekeeping so that residents remain safe and comfortable in a clean, tidy environment.
If you have questions about safety in assisted living, let us know. Visit Vista Living Senior Care now to learn more or to see our Phoenix assisted living community.
Staying fit should be a top priority for every senior citizen. When your body is in good shape, you will live more comfortably with fewer limitations. A healthy person is better able to fight off illness and recover from injuries. Improved strength and balance will reduce a senior’s fall risk.
Exercise also improves mental health and wellbeing. Physical activity releases endorphins that boost mood. Regular workouts improve cognitive function and motor skills, lowering the risk of dementia.
Sometimes, going outside or leaving your home isn’t an option. Bad weather makes travel dangerous while social distancing can force seniors to remain in their homes. When this happens, you should have a plan to continue your exercise routine indoors.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 42.5% of people ages 65 to 74 met the federal guidelines for aerobic activity. Approximately 30.9% of people ages 75 to 84 met the guidelines. Those were improvements from previous years, which were around 35.7% and 24.5% respectively for each age group. These numbers should continue to increase as more seniors focus on their health.
Overall, a regular workout routine can improve your quality of life and help you remain independent for longer. The key is knowing how to safely exercise, even if you cannot leave home. The following list will help you build a senior-friendly indoor workout routine.
Walking Around at Home
Walking is a basic form of exercise that is beneficial at any age. It improves cardiovascular health, leading to better circulation and lower blood pressure. Studies conducted at the University of Tennessee and University of Colorado found that walking reduced the risk of stroke for older women.
A Harvard study of 12,000 people found that those who walked briskly for about one hour a day were less likely to experience the effects of over 30 obesity-promoting genes.
The easiest way to get started is to have a planned route through your home. You can increase distance by doing more laps, walking around the perimeter of each room, and by walking around furniture.
Assuming you have no limiting health issues, you should try to get in around 2.5 hours of walking per week. That translates to approximately 30 minutes of daily walking on most days of the week. If you can jog instead, then you can reduce that duration to 1 hour and 15 minutes weekly.
Before you begin, make sure you have cleared away any tripping hazards like low-sitting furniture and rugs. You should have a clear, even path to follow.
Housework Keeps You Fit
You can get things done and stay fit by working chores into your exercise routine. Doing things around the house also burns calories and uses your muscles. The effectiveness of each session will depend on what you are doing, so this might be harder to measure. However, it’s still beneficial in the end.
Have a plan to do as much of the housework as you safely can. You should only do things that you can do based on your mobility and health status. For example, if you have back problems, then carrying a heavy basket of laundry may not be a good idea. However, you could stand and fold the laundry once it’s done to get more time on your feet.
Vacuuming and sweeping floors are also great for physical health because it requires you to both stand and move your arms.
If you have questions about staying safe, talk to your doctor. They can assess your health and mobility and let you know if there are any chores you should avoid.
Low-Impact Yoga or Tai Chi
Tai Chi and Yoga are popular exercises for seniors. They are similar, both being low-impact and gentle on the body. They also introduce a mental component that encourages peace and calmness.
The internet is a great resource for seniors who want to expand their at-home exercise routine with one or both practices. You can search for free online videos that discuss how to get started. You can also connect with instructors that offer virtual classes for a more interactive experience.
Don’t forget to check in with your assisted living events coordinator to find out if they will be offering Yoga or Tai Chi classes or something similar. If you live in a retirement community, then you may have access to group workouts that don’t require travel to an off-site studio or gym.
When learning Tai Chi, Yoga, or any other new workout routine, remember to start slowly. Let yourself learn how to perform each move correctly for maximum benefit and to minimize the risk of injury.
If you are participating in a virtual class, remember that you should focus on personal progress rather than what those around you are doing. Everyone starts at a different ability level, so you should work to improve upon where you were rather than trying to catch up with others. This is the best way to stay motivated and push yourself to do better without getting frustrated or risking injury.
Strength and Balance Exercises
Good strength and balance are essential for senior citizens. Both have an impact on your daily activities. They play a role in your quality of life and significantly influence your fall risk.
A fall injury can be devastating for an older adult. Every year, around 3 million people go to the emergency room due to a fall. At least 300,000 older adults are hospitalized for hip fractures annually. Over 95% of those fractures are caused by a fall. Falls are also the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
Anything that you can do to reduce your fall risk is a smart move.
Many exercises that can help in this area. You can try walking heel to toe, putting one foot in front of the other so that your heel and toes touch each time you step. Walk 20 steps this way.
You can also try a single-limb stance. Hold on to the back of a sturdy chair. Lift your right foot and hold that position for as long as you can before switching to your left foot. You should work toward being able to perform this exercise with both legs for one minute without holding the chair.
Wall push-ups are another senior-safe exercise option. Stand one arm length away from a wall. Lean forward and put your palms on the wall at the same height and width as your shoulders. Next, slowly lower your body toward the wall and push back up. It works just like a regular push-up but without having to get on the floor.
Seated Exercises for Senior Citizens
Seniors with mobility limitations may prefer to try seated exercises. These involve sitting in a chair. It’s a better choice for people with back or balance issues. You can still burn calories and build muscle without risking your safety.
Always use a sturdy chair that doesn’t have wheels. You can warm up by doing 30 to 60 seconds of marching while seated followed by 30 seconds of arm circles. Repeat this process for 3 to 5 minutes before moving on.
Next, you can choose exercises based on your needs. If you want to build leg strength, try pillow squeezes. Place a pillow between your thighs or knees and squeeze using your inner thigh muscles. Hold the squeeze for 3 seconds before releasing. You should repeat this exercise 12 times.
If you want more of a challenge, add dumbbells to your seated workout. While sitting, hold a dumbbell in each hand and lift them to shoulder height. Next, raise your arms as high as you can then return them to your shoulder height again. Do this at least 12 times.
There are many ways to stay fit while at home. Come up with a workout routine that suits your needs without risking your safety. If you have questions, your doctor can provide more insight into what an ideal exercise regimen looks like for you.
Many assisted living communities offer exercise classes and fitness opportunities to residents. If you are interested in learning more about senior care, visit Vista Living.
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.