It is inevitable that as we all get older our needs will change, especially when a medical condition such as Alzheimer’s becomes an issue, and you may well be facing a situation where you realize that a loved one needs your help to sort out their living options.
Seniors all over the country face changing circumstances based on their physical and mental health needs and it is an almost overwhelming choice of options from nursing homes to assisted living and dementia care, to name a few.
The point to make here is that every person is unique and that means that there is not a universal solution. This means that your senior loved one needs to have their needs individually assessed and it will also help if you understand what the living options are.
Understanding what assisted living actually means
If you have already been searching around for a solution to your loved ones’ care needs it is likely that you will have come across the term assisted living.
Assisted living can mean different things according to the state where you live so it is a good idea to seek clarification as to what it entails in your specific area.
In general terms, assisted living is about providing a residential arrangement where your loved one gets the level of help they need to retain a certain level of independence and freedom with the backdrop of a 24/7 support and care when it is needed.
What you should find with a good assisted living facility is that the care provider arranges to assess your loved one’s individual needs and then creates a bespoke care plan that gives them the help with the tasks that they struggle with on their own.
What an assisted living facility is designed to do is to bridge the gap between when your loved one needs care services at their disposal to help them lead their daily life but don’t yet need almost constant medical supervision.
Maintaining a good level of independence
The logical step before you get to assisted living as an option is to see whether independent living is a feasible scenario.
The term independent living covers a diverse range of options that all come under the general scenario where a housing arrangement is found that allows your loved one to enjoy a high level of independence but in an environment where other residents in the same age group and health situation enjoy a sociable existence.
Independent living also provides the option of seeking minor assistance with some tasks if it is needed.
When your loved one’s needs are greater
If someone close to you in your family has increasingly complex care needs because they are suffering from a condition such as dementia, for example, it may well be that independent or assisted living are not appropriate options.
In this scenario, it is likely that custodial care is the best option, which involves arranging your loved one to move to a nursing home.
A typical nursing home arrangement will provide your loved one with all the care and medical assistance they need to be able to get through the day and carry out the usual tasks and activities that most of us might take for granted.
The majority of residents in nursing homes will need help with getting into and out of bed and require assistance with daily tasks such as bathing, feeding, and dressing.
In addition to helping with these everyday tasks, a nursing home will specifically offer a comprehensive level of medical care, which is overseen by a licensed physician or a trained nurse.
When is it the right time to consider a nursing home for your loved one?
If you see your loved one on a daily or regular basis you will be able to have a good understanding of how their care needs are evolving as they advance in their senior years and you will notice when they start struggling to cope with daily tasks or their physical or mental health is deteriorating.
There is definitely going to be a tipping point when their personal care and medical needs become a daily challenge to contend with in their own home.
A typical situation where the suggestion of a nursing home enters the topic of conversation is when someone is hospitalized for a period of time and it becomes clear that it is not appropriate to return back to their home because of the level of medical attention they require.
A nursing home doesn’t always have to be a permanent solution, as it could be suggested as a temporary measure to address immediate medical needs that could improve with treatment.
Making a plan for now and in the future
What might be appropriate for your loved one today may not be suitable in a few year’s time and that is why you have to take a flexible as well as a compassionate approach to their needs.
It makes sense to have a plan in mind that allows you to make a smooth transition from one option to another without causing undue distress to your loved one, as the emotional upheaval of moving can be very upsetting to many of us, especially if you are in frail health.
Some of the key things that you need to consider are your loved one’s physical, emotional, and medical needs.
At some point in your senior years, age will take its toll on your ability to carry on tasks you take for granted right now. This is exactly the situation that your loved one will be facing and they will often be reliant on the compassionate care of their family to help them get the level of assistance and support that they need to enjoy the best possible quality of life.
Understanding what the various care options mean will help you to make a more informed decision and get your loved one the help they need to get through every day of their senior life.