Assisted Living

No matter what age, today’s health care consumers have obtained a firmer grasp on issues concerning their health and are increasingly influencing the way care is designed and delivered. Because long-term illnesses and delicate conditions are prevalent among the aging population, special attention is warranted. The age group requires personalized treatment and housing services. The most popular health care delivery system designed to cater the needs of the elderly is the use of a nursing home’s services. Conversely, there exist other services that meet the varying needs and capabilities of the age group.

Alternative Residences for Capable Seniors

The elderly population has choices ranging from independent living to nursing homes. Those who do not require the 24-hour intensive care and attention given by the services of a nursing home, but are not equipped with the complete capability to look after themselves usually place their confidences in assisted living.

Assisted Living is primarily intended for elder residents who need a certain degree of assistance, but for the most part are able to function, albeit not optimally, without help. In a nutshell, the service is offered to elderly adults who need some help with their usual tasks.

Assisted Living Centers are entirely synonymous to retirement services. The establishments may also be referred to as Adult Congregate Care, Long Term Care Facilities, Board and Care, Residential Care Facilities, Adult Family Homes, or Personal Care Homes.

These centers may consist of separate apartments, condominiums or houses, but unlike nursing homes, the residents still live independently. It may also range from stand-alone homes to a unit in a Continuing Care Retirement Community. Residents can expect the environment to be more appealing than other care facilities. The most common Assisted Living Centers are built as studio or one-bedroom apartments, with kitchenettes that feature microwaves and refrigerators.

Services Offered by Assisted Living Facilities

The choice of establishments may vary, but assisted living is all about aiding the elderly in their usual ADLs, or Activities of Daily Living. These include everyday activities of feeding, continence, toileting, transferring, bathing and dressing, all of which residents were able to do in their younger years, and are still able to do so albeit with little assistance.

Other instrumental activities of daily living include functional activities of handling their own finances and medications, acquiring modes of transportation, dealing with laundry and housekeeping, daily food preparation, shopping, and ability to use the telephone.

Health care personnel help the residents who seem to have difficulty maintaining the usual practice, but still keep enough distance to promote independence in daily living. Assisted Living Facilities also aim to continually assess the elders’ functional levels on an ongoing basis, which will eventually determine needs for additional care, resources and services.

The continuum of care is provided by a team of outside health providers, all of whom are tasked to supervise medication or provide personal care services. The type of assistance offered may range from provision of meals and certain house chores to ambulating, bathing and dressing per se. Some assisted living communities are even equipped with other features that are customized to meet the needs and improve the cognitive function of patients suffering from mild dementia or memory problems.

What to Look For in Assisted Living Facilities

Prospective residents need to look for facilities that offer nursing care, meals, laundry services and transportation. Assisted Living Centers often work with a wide range of community services to meet all the other needs of residents. It must be noted, however, that nurses only provide residents with limited care, which are usually limited to health promotion, minor treatments, and administration of medication. Residents and their families can expect that each assisted living program is personalized and crafted after the patient’s strengths and weaknesses.

Assisted Living Centers ensure that each resident receives the exact service needed, while still effectively being able to maintain or improve the usual lifestyle. Health care providers perform regular evaluations to suit the elder’s changing needs. Some of the facilities are located near nursing homes, which makes it easier for transfer once the providers deem it fit. It would also be more ideal if the residential facilities are located near a hospital which can help residents with short-term or long-term health problems.

The service of an Assisted Living Center is on average cheaper than nursing homes. The care is usually paid along with the monthly rent, and may vary depending on the degree of care provided. This already includes the meals, laundry, housekeeping, and even access to recreational activities such as transportation, swimming pools, fitness centers, beauty salons, or even a trip to the post office. Because older people have the inherent need to feel that they are part of a community, special programs such as community-planned trips, activities, and events are designed to make their talents and skills useful to society. Pets are even allowed within the community, as long as the resident is able to take care of them.

Compared to other health care delivery systems, assisted living offers the best premises. Residents are given the independence to uphold their normal lifestyle with the guarantee that help will always be within reach. Assisted Living, as a philosophy, is a little more than a just a decade old. These enable the aging population to receive the care they need, without compromising their dignity and independence.

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