An aging parent or relative has health issues and is struggling at home. They may need help with medications or personal care. Or maybe they have mobility issues. Whatever the reason, you’re concerned for their safety and well-being. They need care, but not nursing home care. You wonder whether a move to a senior living community might be the answer.
In these sorts of situations, a senior living community (aka retirement community) with assisted living may be what you’re looking for.
What sorts of care is provided in assisted living?
Assisted living offers daily support to residents who may have been having trouble looking after themselves in their previous home. Residents usually live in their own private apartments. Meals are provided so that they don’t have to shop for groceries and cook for themselves. Medications are given out by trained staff, eliminating worries about missed doses. Assistance with personal care (e.g. dressing, bathing, grooming) is available as needed. Laundry services may also be available. Property maintenance is handled by staff.
A move to assisted living can also help to reduce social isolation. Most senior living communities have lots of planned activities, giving residents lots of opportunities to stay active and socially engaged.
Assisted living tends to work for people who need at most a few hours of care a day. In other words, most of the time they’re fine living on their own, they just need a little help at key times of the day. Or they may just need someone to check in on them from time to time.
What sorts of care is provided in memory care?
Assisted living can also work for someone who has early-stage dementia. But as the disease progresses, memory care may be more appropriate.
Memory care floors often have secure access, which controls the risk of residents – who may become disoriented – leaving the property and getting lost. There’s usually a higher level of support from staff on a memory care floor than in assisted living. Staff may have special expertise in providing dementia care.
Memory care may be a good fit for a senior with dementia who isn’t safe living on their own because they pose a risk to themselves or others.
Many senior living communities allow seniors to become temporary residents. This includes seniors who aren’t yet sure whether a senior living community will be a good fit for them, and they want to try it out for a limited period without making a long-term commitment (trial stay). Or they’re recovering from surgery and want a place to convalesce until they can return to their own home (convalescent care). Or they’re feeling house-bound during the winter and want to spend a week or two in a senior-friendly community with social activities (winter stay – a kind of mini-vacation). Or a family member who’s been looking after them in their own home needs a few weeks off (short-term or respite care).
For more on this topic, check out our Choosing The Right Community guide.