Accepting that your loved one needs more help than you can provide is never easy and choosing the best option for their care poses another serious and often overwhelming challenge. Thankfully, today’s seniors enjoy a variety of opportunities regarding how and where they will live as they continue to age. Still, it can be difficult to make this decision. Assisted living is perfect for seniors who require extra assistance with performing certain tasks or managing their medication and seniors experiencing cognitive decline that prevents them from safely living at home. However, in some cases, home care or a skilled nursing facility is more appropriate.
Assisted living may be the optimal solution for your senior, but it is important to consider all your options before you can make the right choice. If you are wondering, “what are the pros and cons of assisted living?” consult the information below for an overview of the most important advantages and disadvantages offered by these facilities. Then contact Rocky Mountain Assisted Living today to learn more about our services.
Assisted Living Pros
The benefits of assisted living include:
- Support for Daily TasksAssisted living allows physically challenged seniors to maintain their independence while receiving support for daily tasks, such as eating, bathing, and dressing. Residents can enjoy living in a home-like setting without worrying about home maintenance, and caregivers handle many daily chores, such as laundry and light housekeeping. These facilities typically serve three meals each day, and many are willing to prepare special meals for residents with specific dietary restrictions, such as low-fat, low-salt, low-sugar foods, to ensure they are eating correctly and receiving the nutrition they need. The health situation and abilities of a senior can change rapidly, so caregivers can adjust their level of care over time to accommodate these changes.
- Enhanced SafetyAs they age, seniors become slower, weaker, and less coordinated, and many suffer from medical conditions that limit mobility or make them even more susceptible to accidents, such as Parkinson’s Disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Falls are the number one cause of fatal and non-fatal injury among older adults and can result in numerous serious injuries, including fractures of the hip, pelvis, upper arm, or wrist, dislocated joints, hematomas, disabling soft tissue injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. To avoid falls and other accidents, assisted living facilities are carefully designed with enhanced safety measures, such as lift chairs, adjustable beds, ramps, grab bars in the bathroom, walk-in showers, and stairlifts. Having caregivers available to ask for help when needed also goes a long way in preventing injuries.
- Medication ManagementCaregivers in assisted living facilities help residents manage medications in many ways. These facilities often either contain an internal pharmacy to meet resident needs on-site, or they make an arrangement with an external pharmacy that delivers prescription medications. Residents who want to take their medication independently can receive continuing education sessions and medication audits to ensure they are doing so effectively, while other residents can have their medications prepared for them and administered at various times of day and night. If they need to increase or decrease doses or switch medications, caregivers can easily integrate these changes into their routine.
- Memory SupportAssisted living facilities typically take a coordinated approach to medical care, in which health care providers collaborate with caregivers to develop a comprehensive, ongoing plan tailor-made for each individual resident. One of the most important advantages of assisted living is memory support for residents suffering from cognitive decline. When seniors experience neurocognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s, they require extra care and support to minimize their confusion and keep them safe and engaged. These facilities can provide round-the-clock care to monitor residents, encourage them to socialize, and give them the chance to participate in art, music, and other activities that can boost their mood and improve their quality of life.
- Community ConnectionsSocialization is an often-overlooked factor that can have a significant impact on the health, happiness, and well-being of seniors. As they age, their social circles tend to shrink, and they are less able to travel and meet up with friends. Isolation and loneliness are associated with multiple health issues, including depression, chronic pain, substance abuse, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes. Compared to living at home, assisted living creates an instant community for residents and offers more frequent and varied opportunities for socializing with like-minded peers, from playing games or watching movies to starting a book club or simply talking to one another. This plays a crucial role in helping them live longer, healthier, more active lives.
Assisted Living Cons
While assisted living has few disadvantages, these are the most common concerns families note when considering this option for their loved ones:
- Varying Quality of CareLike any other type of health care provider, the quality of care can vary drastically from one assisted living facility to the next. Some places offer a full range of inclusive services and staff their teams with experienced, trained, and highly skilled caregivers, while others only provide bare-bones medical care if any at all. It is crucial to conduct extensive research into any facility before deciding to send your senior, especially if they have chronic health conditions or need memory care.
- Limited PrivacyAssisted living simply cannot provide the same level of privacy as living at home. These facilities may include dormitory-like living arrangements or private apartments for residents, along with communal areas for dining and entertainment. While most seniors appreciate the socialization these facilities offer, they also have times where they want to be alone, and this is difficult in a facility filled with staff members and other patients. Each resident has their own living quarters, but they will still be forced to interact with other residents during the day, and caregivers typically make frequent welfare checks to ensure residents have everything they need.
- Can Be CostlyThe cost of assisted living facilities is often the first disadvantage cited when considering senior care options. Depending on the services and amenities they offer, some of these facilities can be very expensive, but research shows that they are still more affordable than home care nurses and skilled nursing facilities. The median cost for assisted living is around $4,000 per month, or $48,000 annually. This is no small sum, but long-term care from home health aides averages at $4,195 per month, adding up to over $50,300 annually. A private room in a skilled nursing facility costs more than double this amount each month and can exceed $100,000 each year. Insurance programs and veteran’s programs can also provide financial assistance for residents to help cover the cost of assisted living, but eligibility differs based on state requirements.
Ensure the Safety, Health, and Happiness of Your Senior
If you are considering assisted living for your senior, contact Rocky Mountain Assisted Living today. Not every assisted living facility is the same, and your loved one deserves the finest possible care at a price you can afford. Our experienced, compassionate team of multi-disciplinary caregivers is dedicated to offering the best experience for your family member as they age. We spend time getting to know our residents so we can develop a comprehensive, personalized service plan that fully meets their needs and accommodates their preferences.
At Rocky Mountain Assisted Living, our residents retain independence while receiving top-notch, round-the-clock medical services, opportunities for socialization, and treatment that adjusts to their needs. In response, their families obtain much-needed peace of mind that their loved ones are safe, happy, comfortable, and properly taken care of. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule a tour.