Five Top Assisted Living Benefits
As an adult child of an aging parent, you may find yourself at a point in time at which you and your mother or father need to make decisions about where your parent should reside going forward. One possible course to take is transitioning your parent into assisted living. When considering the possibility of your parent moving to assisted living, there are five top benefits to bear in mind when considering assisted living as an alternative:
- No social isolation
- Care tailored to your parent
- Healthy lifestyle
- Enhanced safety and security
Overview of Assisted Living
Before considering the five top assisted living benefits, an overview of the essentials of this type of long-term care facility is helpful.
In very basic terms, assisted living is the provision of essential support services for seniors. This includes some basic assistance with activities of daily living.
As individuals grow older, they experience chronic diseases, disabilities, limited mobility, and other issues associated with aging.
Examples of services for assisted living residents include:
- Meal prep for nutritious meals
- Personal care services that include dressing and bathing
- Housekeeping and laundry
- 24-hour emergency assistance
- Medication management
- Social and recreational activities
Assisted living facilities vary in size. They can range from small communities nestled in residential neighborhoods with six to 10 residents. At the other end of the spectrum, there are assisted living facilities with hundreds of residents in what fairly can be called rather sprawling complexes.
No Social Isolation
A major benefit of assisted living is that residing in this type of community prevents social isolation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified a number of significant health risks associated with social isolation:
- Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes. There is a growing array of evidence that indicates this risk may rival those associated with smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
- Social isolation was associated with about a 50 percent increased risk of dementia.
- Social isolation is associated with a 29 percent increase in the risk of heart disease and a 32 percent increase in the risk of stroke.
- Loneliness and social isolation were associated with higher rates of:
- Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly four times increased risk of death. It also resulted in a 68 percent increased risk of hospitalization as well as a 57 percent increased risk of emergency department visits.
The associated benefits that stem from the elimination of social isolation by residing in assisted living simply cannot be understated.
Care Tailored to Your Parent
Another of the top five assisted living benefits is care that is tailored to your parent. For example, your parent may be able to tend to a good many activities of daily living but may need assistance with other tasks. Your parent may be able to groom and dress on a daily basis but be in need of transportation assistance.
When an older individual like your parent enters into an assisted living community, a care plan is developed. The care plan is crafted to meet the specific needs of an assisted living resident like your mother or father.
On the list of the five top benefits of assisted living is the availability of a healthy lifestyle. Oftentimes when a person ages, that individual may be less likely to live a healthier life. This particularly is the case if an older individual lives on his or her own.
In an assisted care community, a resident will have access to such things like:
- Nutritious meals every day
- Availability of exercise opportunities
- Activities designed to enhance memory and intellectual processes
- Other types of enrichment programs
- Human connections (as noted previously in this article)
Enhanced Safety and Security
Yet another of the most important benefits of assisted living is enhanced safety and security for residents. This begins with the fact that an assisted living facility is staffed by professionals around the clock. No matter the time of day when the need for assistance might arise, there is going to be a skilled, professional individual available to address a resident’s requirements.
Assisted living facilities are also outfitted with security equipment that protects residents from harm brought on by people with ill intent. Older women and men are particularly vulnerable targets of individuals intent on committing crimes.
Many people who do not have any real information about assisted living communities are surprised to learn that one of the benefits of residing in this type of long-term care facility is independence. Oftentimes, a person wrongly presumes that if you live in an assisted living community, you sacrifice independence. In fact, the opposite is true.
Assisted living is a community in which many of a person’s basic needs are taken care of by staff. This gives a person more freedom to engage in activities that an individual really enjoys or that enrich a person’s life.
Once you have an understanding of the benefits of residing in assisted living and decide this is a good option for you (or your aging parent), the next step is to investigate specific communities. In many cities, there are quite an array of different types of assisted living communities to select from – including facilities that vary in size.