- Assisted living services

Assisted living services

Assisted living services Assisted living has been developed as one of the long-term care options for aging seniors. Within assisted living communities, seniors benefit from adapted room and board, not to mention a wide range of services and amenities. The biggest advantage is the assistance with everyday tasks, which automatically contributes to the best possible quality of life. For seniors, life within an assisted living facility will also mean a reduced risk of depression and anxiety, given the added benefit of socialization.

Personal care assistance

Despite having a fairly good state of health, many seniors find themselves unable to handle the activities of daily living. Some need support for only certain tasks, while others can complete an activity up to a certain point. The staff working within assisted living communities offer assistance with common ADLs, such as dressing, bathing, eating, and toileting. Depending on one's needs, additional services might be offered under the personal care concept, including mobility assistance, assistance with physical exercise, incontinence care, or diabetes care. Many assisted living facilities only offer limited assistance with ADLs, encouraging seniors to maintain their independence for as long as it is possible.

For many seniors, the personal care assistance represents one of the main reasons for which they are considering moving into an assisted living community. They might need help going to the bathroom at night, dressing in the morning, or eating a meal. However, assisted living residents value the fact that assisted living facilities encourage independent living, with the staff allowing them to maintain their privacy as desired. However, should one require more assistance, such as when it comes to bed transfers, this will be happily provided.

Prospective residents undergo an initial assessment, which is necessary to establish their level of independence and how much assistance they might require with everyday tasks. The staff of each assisted living community will focus on the main categories of ADLs. The first regards personal hygiene, including tasks related to oral care, grooming, bathing or showering, and nail care. Second comes dressing, with seniors being assessed if they are able to physically dress and undress themselves. The assisted living staff might also want to determine if a senior can dress appropriately, especially if the person in question suffers from dementia or other degenerative conditions.

The third category of ADLs regards eating. Seniors are expected to be able to feed themselves or at least contribute to each meal. However, the ability to prepare the respective meal is not something mandatory, as most assisted living facilities serve already prepared meals. Number four is about the ability to maintain continence. The staff will assess whether a senior is able to use a restroom, with both physical and mental capabilities being considered. They might also consider the ability to wipe, as well as the physical strength for getting on and off the toilet.

Last, but not least, they will pay attention to transfers and mobility. During the assessment, seniors will be required to stand from a sitting position. The assessor might also require for them to perform certain transfers, including getting in and out of bed. The specialist will test the ability to walk without support on a certain distance, paying attention to one's strength, coordination, and balance. After all these activities have been assessed, the ALF staff will determine the overall level of independence and how much assistance the senior in question will need. Independence remains one of the top goals of assisted living communities. As previously stated, seniors are encouraged to maintain their independence, and complete certain tasks on their own. This is because independence is correlated with the best possible state of health, not to mention the sense of personal satisfaction. Aging does bring a number of changes, both physical and mental, but this does not mean one is completely reliant. Within assisted living, seniors might learn to focus on the tasks they can complete alone, receiving assistance for the others as needed.

Sometimes, a senior might only require monitoring, with the staff observing to make sure the respective task is correctly executed. This supervision might regard personal hygiene, getting dressed, or feeding. For instance, one might be suggested which clothes to wear, receive advice on how to chew and swallow food, or when to go to the bathroom. Additional monitoring might be offered for oral hygiene, including when it comes to brushing dentures. Some seniors might be monitored while shaving, so as to reduce the risk of injuries. Others will need to be monitored while walking, with the staff being ready to provide support as required. This keeps the risk of falling and other subsequent injuries down to a minimum.

Once assisted living residents are integrated into an assisted living community, they will benefit from regular assessments. These are necessary for the staff to determine if the ability to perform certain ADLs has changed, in accordance with one's current state of health and any limitations that might be present. Sometimes, it can happen that one has made progress, being able to complete more tasks than before. In other cases, the senior's health deteriorates, so that he/she will need more support than before. The assessment also helps the staff to identify changes that might prevent seniors from remaining independent. The areas analyzed regard the eye-hand coordination, spatial awareness, fine and gross motor skills, balance, and mental alertness.

Caregivers are usually the first to identify a change in the senior's level of independence. They are the ones to suggest assisted living as an option, being concerned for the safety of their loved ones. A senior who is also dealing with cognitive decline might show resistance when it comes to being assisted, with caregivers struggling to provide the necessary care. The staff of assisted living, on the other hand, has both the training and experience to handle such seniors. They act with kindness, showing compassion above all else. To ensure compliance, they are using simple and short instructions, allowing the senior in question plenty of time to understand and complete the task.

Let's say that a senior suffers from mild cognitive decline, requiring some help with the activities of daily living. The staff might offer suggestions when it comes to clothing, as well as basic assistance with the actual dressing process. The senior might be monitored while grooming, with assistance being provided as desired or needed. When it comes to eating, one might be asked to mention food preferences. Assistance might be offered with the meal set-up, with the senior receiving adaptive utensils as needed. Minimal help can be given with bathing or showering, or seniors might be monitored for safety reasons. The same goes for toileting, with the staff monitoring the fluid intake as well.

Should the senior in question suffer from a lack of physical strength, as well as moderate cognitive decline, the level of assistance might be increased. The staff might select clothing that is easy to use, encouraging seniors to complete certain tasks without help. Grooming is also about limiting choices, but independence is still promoted. With the meals, the staff might set up the respective meal, offering adaptive utensils. Bathing and toileting are done with supervision and moderate assistance, mostly for safety reasons. A regular schedule is followed for all ADLs, so that seniors feel less confused.

For seniors who suffer from severe cognitive decline or mobility issues of the same level, the highest level of assistance will be given. While these are usually directed towards other long-term care options, they might spend more time integrated in assisted living communities. The staff might offer simple commands to encourage independence during dressing, handling certain tasks themselves. The same goes for grooming and eating, with the staff offering liquids at regular intervals and ensuring that the senior has plenty of time to finish eating. Complete bathing and toilet care might be necessary, with the staff using a timed schedule. The main goal is for the senior to feel comfortable and gain a sense of satisfaction from his/her daily life.

Assisted living services - transportation

Most assisted living facilities have scheduled transportation as one of their main services. The fee for the respective service is usually included in the general cost. Residents can go on organized outings, shopping trips, or various medical appointments. They might rely on the scheduled transportation to pick up a prescription or come back from the hospital. Transportation services has been designed to ensure that seniors stay connected to the outside world, whether we are talking about therapy appointments, errand running, shopping, hairdresser appointments, or various social outings. This service is all about accessibility, offering seniors the possibility to be part of their community.

Many seniors are not able to drive anyways, so having a service such as scheduled transportation is quite beneficial. In choosing a particular assisted living community, it is for the best to inquire about the available transportation program. For instance, you might ask whether the residents are able to arrange for transportation within short notice or is there a specific schedule to be followed. Inquire about the availability of transportation for various appointments, including therapy, medical, and dental. Make sure that the transportation program includes outings, including to shopping centers and restaurants, as well as the open outdoors. Ask about the scheduling of special appointments and whether an additional fee is perceived. Last, but not least, you will need to verify if the vehicles in question are wheelchair accessible.

Personal emergency response systems

All the living units in every assisted living community are equipped with a personal emergency response system. This can be used by the senior or the staff in case of a major health event, ensuring an immediate intervention. Depending on the unit, the respective device is either mounted on the wall or made available in the form of a button that can be worn around the neck or a wrist band. Some seniors prefer wearing the respective device on their belt or in their pocket.

There are countless benefits associated with having a medical care alert system within assisted living communities. First and foremost, residents feel safer, knowing that help is available at the touch of a button. The staff experiences a lower level of stress, as there is a protocol to follow in case of medical emergencies. Personal emergency response systems are easy to install and use, increasing the chances of survival in case of a major health event. A mobile app can be used to monitor all the seniors within the community, which is another advantage worth remembering.

Amenities and services provided by ALF

Seniors who move into an assisted living benefit from a wide range of general services, meant to guarantee a comfortable daily life. The list of available services options might include but is not limited to: laundry and linen service, housekeeping, general maintenance, Internet and computer access, meal planning and preparation, errand running and shopping, scheduled transportation. Depending on the facility, you might also benefit from medication management, beauty salon and barber shop, massage therapy, private dining, pet area (for facilities that welcome pets).

In terms of amenities, assisted living facilities go at great lengths to ensure diversity. Seniors have access to amenities that target their physical health, including swimming pool, tennis court, fitness center, and yoga studio. Among the amenities that target mental health, you might find some of the following: painting studio, library/reading room, computer room, game room, common area for group activities. Most assisted living communities have various therapies available, including physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

One of the most important services offered regards security. Assisted living communities offer 24/7 monitoring, taking all of the necessary security measures to ensure the safety of their residents. Some of the most common safety measures, which might also regard accessibility, include: emergency call systems, showers with non-slip features and a zero-threshold, elevators that need a member of the staff to be operated, stair lifts, wide doorways, handrails and/or grab bars, wheelchair ramps, keyed entries/exits (with alarm), color-coded hallways.

Social and group activities for the elderly

Older adults often complain of loneliness, especially if they are living alone. Social isolation has been associated with a higher risk of mental and physical health issues. Considering these problems, it should come as no surprise that assisted living facilities have a social schedule that is rich and stimulating at the same time. Seniors benefit from both individual and group activities organized on the campus, but they also take part to frequent outings. They might visit local attractions, explore nearby parks and museums, as well as attend various concerns.

Depending on their physical fitness, they might try tai chi, dancing, and water therapy. In terms of intellectual stimulation, they might take an art class at the local college, take part in a book club, or practice chess. Social connection is ensured through group activities, such as game nights, karaoke sessions, or various parties. Some assisted living facilities have entertainment amenities, such as movie theaters, communal gardens, and even bars. Sunrooms, woodworking shops, billiard rooms, chapels, and even spaces might complete the list of available options.

Pros of moving into assisted living

The decision of moving into assisted living is not easy to make, but you have to think of the benefits to be derived. First and foremost, assisted living communities have been created to meet the needs of aging seniors, with consideration to their individual situation and personal preferences. They have trained staff, people who are able to offer personalized care; they will take their time to get to know each senior, doing their best to make them feel at home. They are looking to offer the needed support, ensuring that the living environment is optimized at the same time. Aside from 24/7 monitoring, the staff can handle nursing needs, medication management, and even monitor both the behavior and mood of various residents. Generally speaking, assisted living facilities embrace a holistic approach to senior care.

The assistance with the activities of daily living remains one of the chief reasons for which you should consider moving into an assisted living community. The level of support offered depends on one's current abilities and state of health. Some seniors are helped with certain tasks, while others are able to complete only a certain part of a task without assistance. In providing the necessary assistance, the staff will always remain respectful, ensuring the senior's dignity. There might be seniors who need help moving, bathing, eating, or dressing. No matter the need, the trained staff will work hard to ensure seniors enjoy their daily routine, with a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day.

A top priority within assisted living communities is the safety of all residents. For this reason, specific measures are taken to cultivate safety. These measures might include: round-the-clock monitoring, keyed entries, emergency response systems, preparedness plan in case of emergencies, fire drills, secured access, staff training, responsive care and monitoring, etc. As for the social part, it is quite clear that assisted living communities offer plenty of opportunities for engagement. Many seniors report an improved mindset after moving into assisted living, and this is often related to the social activities included in the daily schedule. From book clubs to gardening, there is something for everyone there. It might even be possible to discover new passions, not to mention the long-lasting friendships you will make as a result.

Assisted living facilities offer limited healthcare, which might represent an advantage for seniors who are looking to maintain the best possible state of health. They might have diverse therapies available as mentioned, as well as rehabilitation services. Most seniors feel safer knowing that their medical needs can be handled right then and there. From a different perspective, it is worth mentioning that assisted living communities offer adapted living units, with a home-like setting. As a result, seniors adapt quite quickly to their new living environment, feeling both comfortable and peaceful.

Aside from the living situation, seniors might also feel comfortable, knowing that everything they need is within reaching distance. For instance, they can go to the beauty salon on the campus and get their hair done as desired. Many assisted living communities also offer chapel services, with seniors attending sermons on a weekly basis. They might also value their independence, as assisted living facilities allow seniors to live as desired, with the available services being accessed only when needed. As everything is handled by the staff, especially in terms of household chores, seniors have more time to pursue new passions. This allows them to enjoy their golden years to the fullest.

Senior nutrition represents another major priority within assisted living communities. The meals are prepared from fresh ingredients and are rich in nutrients, with dietary options being available for those who cannot follow a regular diet. Seniors have access to three main meals and snacks, all healthy and delicious. Moreover, the menu is rotated on a daily basis, so that varies is ensured. In some assisted living communities, seniors can enjoy a meal with friends or family members. Last, but not least, the move into assisted living is beneficial for caregivers, who might feel the stress of having to look after a senior. When they know that their loved ones are well cared for, they too feel good, with a lower risk of health issues.

Seniors considering assisted living often have important questions about the services provided to ensure their comfort, safety, and well-being. Some common questions include:

What Services Are Included?
Seniors want to know which services are offered as part of the assisted living package, such as meals, housekeeping, transportation, medical assistance, and social activities.

Is Personalized Care Available?
Seniors often inquire about the availability of personalized care plans tailored to their individual needs, ensuring that they receive the level of assistance they require.

Can I Bring My Belongings?
Many seniors ask about the possibility of bringing their own furniture, decorations, and belongings to create a familiar and comfortable living space.

Are Pets Allowed?
Seniors who have pets may want to know if they can bring their furry companions to the assisted living facility.

What Safety Measures Are in Place?
Questions about safety protocols, emergency response systems, and security measures are common to ensure the well-being of residents.

Can Family and Friends Visit?
Seniors often ask about visitation policies to ensure they can continue to receive visits from family and friends.

Are Medical Services Available?
Seniors inquire about access to medical services, medication management, and the presence of medical professionals on-site.

What Social and Recreational Activities Are Offered?
Seniors want to know about the variety of social, recreational, and entertainment activities available to keep them engaged and active.

Can I Maintain My Independence?
Maintaining independence is crucial, so seniors may ask about the balance between receiving assistance and maintaining their autonomy.

Are There Different Levels of Care?
Seniors often ask about the availability of different care levels or options to accommodate changing needs over time.

What Are the Costs and Payment Options?
Questions about costs, fees, payment plans, and what is covered by insurance or other funding sources are essential for financial planning.

Is Transportation Provided?
Seniors inquire about transportation options for medical appointments, shopping, and other outings.

Can I Choose My Roommate?
For shared accommodations, seniors may ask about the possibility of choosing their roommate.

Are Meals Provided?
Questions about meal plans, dietary restrictions, and meal options are common to ensure their nutritional needs are met.

Can I Participate in Decision-Making?
Seniors want to know if they can have a say in decisions that affect their daily lives and the facility's operations.

What Is the Staff-to-Resident Ratio?
Inquiring about the staff-to-resident ratio helps seniors understand the level of attention and care they can expect.

Are Spiritual and Religious Services Available?
Seniors who value spiritual or religious services may inquire about the availability of on-site options.

Is Transportation Provided for Medical Appointments?
Seniors may ask specifically about transportation options for medical appointments to ensure their health needs are met.

What Are the Move-In Procedures?
Questions about the move-in process, orientation, and assistance with settling in are common.

Is Memory Care Available?
Seniors with cognitive conditions may ask about the availability of specialized memory care services.

These questions reflect seniors' concerns about their well-being, comfort, and quality of life in an assisted living community. It's important for seniors and their families to have open conversations with facility staff to ensure that all their questions are answered and they feel confident in their choice.

Assisted living communities welcome seniors who are in a good state of health and independent as well as those who might need assistance with everyday activities. They offer personalized care and adapted living environments, not to mention a wide range of services and amenities. Seniors benefit from scheduled transportation, personal emergency response systems and life-enriching social activities.

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