We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. McClatchy newsrooms were not involved in the creation of this content.
Are you finding the daily living tasks you used to handle easily becoming a bit difficult? Are you relying more and more on family for help and feeling like you’re a burden? You’re not alone. One study found 46% of seniors felt they were a burden to loved ones who were spending more of their time providing care.
But there’s a solution and it’s called assisted living. If you are imagining a hospital-like nursing home environment, then you may not know about all the options available today. Assisted living communities are designed with your comfort in mind, and allow you to savor freshly prepared meals, socialize with people your own age and live in an apartment decorated with your home’s furnishings.
If you’re still unsure you’re ready to move to assisted living, take a look at some of the things you might want to consider.
You Struggle With Activities of Daily Living
To you, they’re just getting in and out of bed, bathing and dressing, but the industry calls them “Activities of Daily Living” or “ADLs.” Seniors struggling with these tasks usually have a lower quality of life. Yes, independent living at home is wonderful, but not so much if you’re staying in bed longer because getting up is difficult, or you’re bathing less because using the bath is risky.
In assisted living, you’ll get help with ADLs whenever you need it, night or day. You’ll also get help managing your medications, so you needn’t worry about forgetting them or taking too many. That brings us to the subject of risk.
You’ve Noticed Increased Safety Risks
Is grabbing something from a high shelf or bending down to pick up something you dropped now challenging? Those moments can easily turn into accidents. Sure, installing grab bars in the shower and nonslip flooring can help, but what if you do take a tumble and no one’s there for you?
Your apartment in an assisted living community will come complete with handrails at key points, a walk-in shower and a 24-hour emergency response system. You’ll also get regular support from expert staff dedicated to helping you manage your health, monitor chronic conditions, and potentially prevent hospital visits.
You Are Dealing with Physical or Mental Health Challenges
Does opening a jar feel like an Olympic event, or does tying your shoelaces leave you as breathless as sprinting? Have you forgotten to turn the stove off again, or thought a medical appointment was another day? The moment we realize our brains aren’t quite as sharp as they used to be and our bodies can’t do what they once could is a sobering one. It’s also the moment we need to accept that we need some help.
In assisted living, you’ll be able to join in activities designed to keep your brain and body in the best shape possible. They’re not boring activities, either — think of twirling on the dance floor with other seniors and going on bus trips to visit cultural attractions. There’s so much to do, you needn’t ever feel alone.
You Are Feeling Lonely or Isolated
Living independently at home has plenty of advantages, but let’s be honest, it can also be isolating. Even if family and friends are able to visit, living alone is always hard.
Assisted living’s group activities aren’t the only way you can avoid feeling lonely. Research has found people lead happier and more satisfied lives if they eat with others. In assisted living, you’ll share a dining table with other seniors tucking into nutritious meals and tasty desserts. There are likely to be other residents who share your interests and hobbies, and if your mental health is at a low ebb, the facility can organize counseling and therapy services to get you back on your feet and stop seeing everything as a chore.
You Can’t Keep Up With Household Chores
Are household chores becoming taxing? Assisted living can allow you to enjoy more time doing the things you want, rather than washing dishes and cleaning floors.
In an assisted living community, housekeeping and maintenance staff will clean your apartment, take out the trash, wash your laundry and linens and do those little jobs that need to be done, like changing light bulbs and unblocking sinks. And, since meals are provided, you won’t need to worry about shopping for groceries or cooking. You can wave goodbye to housekeeping forever and spend your time doing the things you love.
The Bottom Line
If you’re finding it harder to move around or remember things and maybe feeling a bit lonely, it might be time to make a leap and think about assisted living. A good facility can be a refreshing change, giving you the support you need while you hold on to most of your independence. Why not take the plunge and start exploring the facilities in your area today?