There are currently more than 800,000 people in the United States living in assisted living communities. Assisted living is a type of housing designed for people who require various levels of personal and medical care. Living spaces can vary from individual rooms to shared quarters and private apartments. Communities provide home-like settings and are designed to promote the independence of the residents.
While assisted living may have clear advantages, the idea of moving can still bring a whole host of questions. For many families, there are two key points that are crucial in feeling positive about making the move to an assisted living community – understanding when the time is right for assisted living and knowing how to ease the transition into assisted living.
Is it Time for Assisted Living?
Aging is a very different journey for everyone. Some people experience health challenges early, some have unlimited family support, some develop memory challenges and still others are traveling and running marathons well into their golden years. Because each person has a different path, there is no one-size-fits-all schedule for support through the aging journey. The decision to transition into assisted living is a personal one, and it is based on each person’s unique needs. Here are a few guidelines to follow for families and seniors who are wondering “is it time for assisted living?”:
- Daily tasks, such as laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping, are now overwhelming
- A medical condition is becoming worse or new medical problems arise
- There is an increased risk of falls or other injuries without supervision
- Finances have become difficult to manage
- Depression or social isolation is setting in
- There are changes in hygiene
Transitioning to Assisted Living
Once the decision is made to move to an assisted living community, it is common to experience a range of emotions. There can be some sadness in what is left behind, some excitement about what is next to come and the relief of knowing that personal and health care support is now available anytime.
So, how does a family or a senior ensure the transition to assisted living is a smooth, positive experience? Here are some tips to help the entire family when a senior loved one is transitioning to assisted living:
Make sure your senior loved one is part of the discussion. No matter if a senior and their family are considering a move to an assisted living facility, at the stage of choosing the right community or planning the actual move, do not make decisions without consulting the person who will be the most impacted loved one. The needs and wants of the senior should be at the top of the priority list, and keeping them involved will help ensure long-term success.
Consider all the options. It is crucial for the health and happiness of the future resident to choose the right assisted living community. Take the time to research each option, learn about the differences between communities, understand the amenities and make sure the community that is selected has the ability to meet the needs of the senior both now and in the future.
Make smart packing decisions. Before making a move into an assisted living community, it is helpful to understand what is needed for the living space. This will make it easier to begin packing, downsizing and knowing what special items can make the move.
Spend time socializing. One of the best parts of assisted living is having nearby friends and neighbors to share the days! Take the time to get to know them, find shared interests and enjoy the community’s amenities together. For example, residents at Tutera Senior Living & Health Care’s assisted living communities spend time with friends and family enjoying:
- Restaurant-style dining
- Live entertainment
- Fitness programs
- Yoga classes
- Ice cream socials
- Arts and crafts
- Wii Bowling
- Walking club
- Guest speakers and entertainers
- Bridge and bingo games
- Spiritual services
Make it feel like home. It can be difficult to leave a house that is full of memories. One way to make this change easier is to decorate a new space to feel like home. Bring familiar items, family photos, comfortable blankets and special items for holiday decorating to fill the space with happiness and love! The feel of the living space adds to the joy of the everyday experience in assisted living.
Stay involved. Every day is a better day with the love and support of family and friends. When a loved one moves into assisted living, it is helpful for family members to visit often and to stay involved in the activities at the community. This provides support for the senior resident and gives them reassurance that their new living arrangement does not change their connection to their family.
About Tutera Senior Living & Health Care
At Tutera Senior Living & Health Care, we understand how to support the whole person and how to meet their needs at all levels – physical, emotional and intellectual. Using the EmpowerMe Wellness program, the team at Tutera takes an integrated approach to care with one-on-one therapy services and personalized care plans.
Each day, residents at Tutera Senior Living assisted living communities are able to direct and control their daily calendars. With the support of our specially trained team members, residents can meet their health goals, experience positive outcomes and continue to participate in the hobbies and activities they have always enjoyed. Options for daily activities include:
- Arts and crafts
- Restaurant-style dining
- Movie nights
- Fitness classes
- Happy hours
- Salons and barbershops
Our support of residents includes help with the activities of daily living, such as assistance in bathing, toileting, grooming and medication management.