A Social Life for Seniors: Why Assisted Living Is Better
Learn more about why an assisted living community could be better than living at home when it comes to a social life for seniors, quality of life and wellness.
A Social Life for Seniors
As baby boomers continue to retire in record numbers, more of us will face the question of how to handle their changing health needs. However, many of us will also face an even more urgent request from our parents themselves: “Please don’t put me in a home.”
The problem is this: when Dad and Mom start to need more daily care, it can put pressure on caregivers and strain relationships in the family.
Learn more about why it’s important to consider how assisted living could be better than living at home when it comes to a social life for seniors, quality of life and wellness.
Seniors in Assisted Living vs. Home Care
In a residential community, where there is 24-hour access to personal care, as well as nutrition and wellness services designed specifically for older adults, seniors can enjoy security and support while still maintaining their independence.
Assisted living is a great intermediate step for seniors who need more help than the family can provide at home, but who don’t need the round-the-clock medical care of a nursing facility.
Read on for eight compelling reasons to consider assisted living for the health and quality of life of your parents or senior loved ones:
1. A safe living environment.
For seniors to remain living safely at home, a wide range of home modifications might be needed if their physical health begins to wane —such as shower railings and medical alert systems, to name just two — and the expenses can quickly add up. Assisted living facilities are designed for mobility and accessibility, helping seniors avoid falls and accidents and providing rapid access to assistance.
2. Access to fitness and physical activity.
With the latest in gym equipment, group exercise classes like Tai Chi and Zumba, and personal trainers well versed in the needs of older adults, assisted living communities offer opportunities for physical fitness that go far beyond what family caregivers can easily provide at home.
3. Help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
Family caregivers are also generally responsible for helping with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and eating when a senior loved one lives at home. In other cases, the family or the senior themselves must bear the cost of a home care aide. Both of these options can cause personal and financial strain on the family. In contrast, one of the most basic tenets of assisted living is helping older adults with these ADLs so that they can continue to function as independently as possible.
4. Housekeeping and transportation.
Keeping the house clean, weeding the garden, getting to appointments and social engagements — these are day-to-day responsibilities that often fall on caregivers when a senior parent is living at home, whether they live alone or with the family. The vast majority of these burdens are relieved when older adults reside in assisted living, as the community generally includes upkeep and housekeeping in the monthly rent cost, and many facilities also offer transportation services.
Being able to maintain one’s independence is rewarding in and of itself — and sometimes that requires accepting a bit of help now and then. Assisted living helps seniors care for themselves while also offering access to an active and rewarding lifestyle. At the same time, when families no longer bear sole responsibility for meeting all of their loved ones’ needs, it can reduce everyone’s stress level and even improve family relationships. The time that adult children spend with their senior parents can then become truly meaningful quality time.
6. Intellectual stimulation.
Among the various activities that assisted living communities provide are plenty of chances for lifelong learning, from computer classes to book clubs to art classes. Many facilities even offer guest lectures from visiting scholars and professionals. Those communities located on or near a college usually enable residents to take advantage of the nearby campus resources, including courses and cultural events.
7. Opportunities for social activity.
Living at home can be isolating, particularly if a senior resides alone. It can be difficult for the elderly to maintain their social relationships when they are no longer working. In assisted living, residents can easily socialize with peers, not only in common areas but also through planned, structured activities like field trips, dancing, and cultural events.
8. Supervised nutrition.
It can be very difficult to supervise senior nutrition at home. Seniors living alone may find it unappealing to cook for one, and it’s challenging for family caregivers to monitor whether their loved ones are receiving the necessary nutrients. In assisted living, residents are served three meals a day tailored to the changing health needs of older adults. Some luxury communities even offer gourmet dining!