What is Assisted Living and Is It the Right Fit For You?

There comes a point in the lives of our loved ones where special care is necessary to maintain a good quality of life. This is why it is important for us to go through extensive research to understand what kind of care our loved ones need to keep living the healthiest life possible. 

There are so many options and facilities that might sound appealing, but each comes with a unique set of circumstances, and not every option is the right fit for your loved one’s needs. Some might need more care and attention than others, and picking the right facility and the right care is critical for their well-being, both physically and emotionally. 

Today, someone turning age 65 has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and support in their remaining years. Despite this, several long-term/ assisted living facilities provide and foster a kind and welcoming environment for all their residents. 

So, you may be asking yourself, is assisted living the right choice for my loved one? We’re here to help you make that choice.

What is Assisted Living? 

Assisted living is a type of housing designed for people who need various levels of medical and personal care. Living spaces can be individual rooms, apartments, or shared quarters. 

Residents usually live in their own apartments or rooms and share common areas. Depending on the level of assistance needed, many apartment-style rooms can have amenities such as dish sinks, refrigerators, and microwaves for more independent living. 

Residents have access to many services, including up to three meals a day; assistance with personal care; help with medications, housekeeping, and laundry; 24-hour supervision, security, and on-site staff; and social and recreational activities. However, exact arrangements vary from state to state, facility to facility.

What Services Are Provided? 

Simply put, assisted living communities provide older adults personalized care in a residential setting. They’re typically for seniors whose health or well-being requires attentive support, which is determined by the community’s health assessment according to state regulations. 

Assisted living provides residents the care they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The most common assisted living services offered include medication management and assistance with using the bathroom, dressing, and grooming. Housekeeping, meals, laundry, transportation services, and social programs and activities are also typically included; however, this varies based on the level of independence residents maintain. 

Assisted living communities offer residents plenty of activities to encourage and foster a sense of community and belonging amongst their residents. Some facilities even provide their residents with planned activities such as exercise classes, book clubs, bingo, karaoke, organized outings, etc. All these activities are extremely beneficial for the residents’ well-being and quality of life. 

Residents are assessed when they move in to get an individualized service plan to meet specific needs and make their care genuinely personal. Some assisted living communities are also licensed to provide memory care. These will often have separate dining rooms and menus based on residents’ nutritional needs.

Is Assisted Living the Best Fit? 

One way to measure the level of care a senior needs is through charting ADLs, which are activities of daily living. 

This concept was developed by a doctor named Sidney Katz back in the 1960s, and it helps professionals understand how well a senior can complete routines and basic activities that contribute to daily life. Katz broke these routines down into six main categories:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Toileting (going to the bathroom)
  • Transferring (the ability to get in and out of bed)
  • Continence (being to control your bowels)
  • Feeding

Once professionals measure ADLs, there are other types of more broad activities they gauge to get a deeper understanding of the type of care a senior needs. These activities are called IADLs, or instrumental activities of daily living. These include activities like:

  • Paying the bills
  • Cleaning the house
  • Cooking food for yourself
  • Being able to transport yourself outside of the house
  • Socializing

What to Look for in Assisted Living Facilities

With so much information coming at you, it can be hard to prioritize what to pay attention to. One of the most important decision factors is location. Decide whether you need to look for an assisted living facility in the community your aging parent is currently living in or whether they might need to move close to supportive relatives or friends who can visit and coordinate care with staff if you are out of the area.

Once you have determined where you want to look, create a list of facilities in the area and begin a strategic assessment, using the ideas we’ve set out below. 

First and foremost, consult your loved one about it first and see if they have any places they are interested in. 

Of course, you can always find facilities through online searches; make sure to check out online reviews and see what people are saying about the facility. It’s always a good idea to ask family and friends and even reach out to agencies that advocate for the aging for residential care facility recommendations.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few facilities with the services and price range you’re looking for, schedule visits to tour them and talk with administrators, staff, and residents. Take your loved one with you and let them handle as much of the talking and decision-making as possible.

NCAL recommends visiting each facility multiple times. Arrange to be there during mealtimes and perhaps even have lunch with residents to give you a better sense of what it’s like to live there.

Taking the right steps to properly vet assisted living communities will give you the confidence and assurance you need to comfortably make the best choice with and for your loved one. 

St. Ann’s Commitment to Assisted Living 

Want to find out more about the pros and cons of assisted living? 

St. Ann’s is dedicated to providing safe, loving, committed, quality care for all of our residents, in facilities that support and empower them to live out their golden years with dignity. And we are more than happy to help guide you to make the best decision. 

Faith guides our mission to provide a loving and spiritual community for older adults. With roots in the Catholic Church, we are inspired by our Carmelite Sisters’ foundation of fraternity, service, and prayer.

With a commitment to provide the best possible care to those with cognitive loss or those who just need to live with a little assistance, we welcome those of all faiths with open arms, treating each resident with the care and compassion they deserve.

To learn more about assisted living at St. Ann’s and the 5-star care we offer, give us a call today at (616) 453-7715

P.S. Have a loved one living with Dementia? Learn more about our Commitment to Dementia Care