Whether we like to admit it or not, aging is something almost all of us will face. The care of a senior is also a situation that many Americans must confront. Indeed, people ages 65 and over represented over 13 percent of the American population in 2010, an increase of 15 percent from 2000. The aging population is expected to increase an additional 21 percent by 2020.
Almost 2.5 percent of the elderly in America lived in an assisted living community in 2010 and this number is expected to continue to increase as well. This is because the senior population continues to increase and many families are turning to supported living communities to help care for their loved one.
What Is a Supported Living Community
A supported living facility essentially offers support as needed for daily living activities such as grooming, eating, dressing and bathing. Many communities offer a range of care from basic meal support and housekeeping, allowing the senior to live in an independent apartment on the premises, to a continuous care environment for those who need constant assistance and monitoring. This allows seniors to progress through necessary levels of care without moving to a new facility each time.
Benefits of Assisted Living
There are many benefits to such a community for seniors:
Let us face it, no one wants to be alone all the time. Retired adults and seniors who live alone often find themselves isolated and lonely. A supported living community allows for daily interaction with the staff and other residents. In fact, most communities offer social activities including field trips, game nights, movies, card games. These and other opportunities offer the chance for residents to spend time making friends and having an active social life.
As we age, the dangers of falling increase with the likelihood of such a fall happening due to increasing unsteadiness and frailty. Within a supported living community, the staff monitors the living arrangements and is ready and willing to help seniors as needed. In addition, an immediate response available if a fall should happen.
3. Home Care
Much of our daily activities such as housekeeping and laundry are far from simple for most seniors. The physical demands of cleaning and maintaining the home get more and more difficult and may even be a safety concern. However, the staff in a community can help complete these daily tasks for the senior.
While a regular physician is an essential element to good healthcare, many seniors benefit from daily monitoring of health conditions, medication and general health advice. Most communities have a nursing staff available on-site for this very purpose and offer increased care when and if needed.
Regular physical exercise is an important element to proper healthcare. However, many seniors living alone get little or no exercise and suffer from a weakened physical condition as a result. Many communities offer regular exercise classes, walks and other gentle-to-moderate physical fitness opportunities.
We have all probably been guilty of stopping by a fast food restaurant or just grabbing a bowl of cereal when we are too tired to cook. Seniors that live alone often find it difficult to deal with meal preparation and cooking on their own, which may also present a safety hazard. However, the nutrition is closely monitored in a supported community, including at least one or more meals offered in a communal eating area. This offers both a health and social benefit to residents.
Most seniors still enjoy getting out, running errands, going to appointments and seeing friends and family. However, driving can be a safety concern and car ownership and maintenance present a regular cost as well. Living in a supported community allows the staff to offer transportation, which makes it easy, safe and convenient for everyone.
8. Reduced Stress
When seniors are not living alone and the senior and their families are dealing with the associated stress and worry, everyone can relax. This improves the physical and mental health of everyone involved.
Assisted living offers the chance to provide seniors with a happy, healthy, safe place in which to live, which can increase their quality of life and relieve some of the burden on family members.