The Next Step: Considering Assisted Living

Many elders and their families wonder what to do when in-home care is no longer feasible for safety, socialization and healthcare reasons. Assisted living may be the next step, a step that may just put everyone’s mind at ease.

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is service provided in an apartment-like facility that allows for what might be termed “supported independence.” Moving to an assisted living facility is not moving to a nursing home. And, it’s not moving to a completely independent, isolated apartment. It’s somewhere in between.

The Assisted Living Federation of America defines assisted living as ”a senior living option that combines housing, supportive services, and health care, as needed.  Individuals who choose assisted living enjoy an independent lifestyle with assistance customized to meet individual needs, and benefits that enrich their lives.”

So assisted living is flexible according to your needs. The pricing can also be flexible. The more care and service needed, the more the monthly fees.

What is Life Like in Assisted Living?

Everyone’s experience is different. But as an example, here is the story of Ralph and Helen, a couple in their 80’s who had been living independently in a retirement apartment with a golf course view. A few things were happening as Ralph and Helen aged. Helen was now using a walker due to hip pain and didn’t like going to the store anymore. Ralph had given up golf and now took short walks with the couple’s dog.

What meant most to Ralph and Helen is that they could age in place, not move if their needs increased, and… they didn’t want to leave their little dog behind. So they asked their daughter to look at assisted living options near her home. Within a month, she found a beautiful apartment in a facility only three miles from her home 

Ralph and Helen sorted through their belongings, downsized, moved to the assisted living facility with their beloved dog.  They settled in to enjoy their own furniture and family pictures on the wall. Ralph often played the piano as he had all their married life. They loved the views of the woods and sunsets and enjoyed going down to the dining room for dinner.

Often, Ralph took a walk through the garden with the dog. The staff knew when he was leaving and watched for his return. Helen joined a ladies luncheon group and explored new places to eat each Wednesday transported by the facility’s van. The driver helped her with her walker.

If their health changed or they received new medications from their doctor, the nurse at the assisted living would pay them a visit and assess their needs. Quite often they had questions and they appreciated this attention.

Overall, Ralph and Helen felt the move to assisted living was a positive one.