As our parents get older and their health declines, worries over how to care for them best can abound. Should I try to move my aging parent into an elderly community, an assisted living arrangement, or simply trust that they will be fine where they are? Many families try to have the aging parent move into their home with the younger generations and, when the parent is healthy enough, this can be a positive choice for the whole family. Sometimes, however, the health needs of the elderly are impossible to meet either in their home or that of the rest of the family for monetary, time, or other types of restraints. In these cases, some form of assisted living arrangement at a center may be your best option because of the myriad of health and social in the center’s community they can be offered around the clock. What else can an assisted living center do for someone’s health as they grow older?
When to Move
Not all of the elderly or retired may require assisted living. For those who are still able to take care of their daily needs of washing, eating, etc. and can also still manage their basic affairs like shopping, taking transport, etc. probably don’t need to be in an assisted living facility and would benefit more from the socialization and structure offered by senior communities with less interaction with the staff.
For the elderly that are or have been recently ill and therefore are still too weak to take care of their obligations alone, assisted living could help. Similarly, for someone that has an accident and is temporarily in recovery, assisted living communities can offer much needed help within a group of individuals in similar situations. Assisted living also helps those elderly who are suffering from cognitive difficulties related with forgetfulness or confusion, making sure they care for themselves and do not find themselves in any trouble. The 24-hour staff assure that the parent is constantly being cared for in a way that most modern families find it difficult to guarantee.
Dr. Cheryl Woodson says that although assisted living facilities are prohibited from directly providing medical services to the retirees themselves in the US, they almost always offer medical services through contracted doctors and nurses to watch over and maintain the health of the residents. More serious interventions still must occur at the hospital, but having medical professionals on call helps to spot any problems or accidents faster than if the parent were not under constant supervision.
Many facilities offer group exercise programs with light aerobics and stretches designed for residents to help keep up their strength any way they can as they become older. Helping residents stay physically active and focus on helping to maintain or improve their mobility and balance abilities.
Like all age groups, the elderly need social interaction to stay happy and healthy. Often, when the elderly live alone or with younger generations, they lack peers that understand their current lives and points of view. Assisted living communities help the elderly to meet new people that understand them and easily attend social events together to foster friendships in a safe environment. It is also important, then, to make sure that your parent fits in with the atmosphere of the assisted living community they are thinking of moving to. Websites like AssistedLivingToday have directories of assisted living centers with accompanying comments and ratings by families about the facilities and atmosphere of many assisted living communities and can help your family make the right decision.
Moving an elderly parent into an assisted living arrangement can be a complicated decision compounded by many health factors. Understanding the needs of your family member and the services offered by various assisted living communities can help them live a healthy life at an assisted living center.