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How To Make the Right Choice for an Assisted Living Community

By Daniel @ LivingSenior - July 5, 2011

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When it comes to growing older, we seem to fall into two different types of person. There are those who embrace their retirement full throttle and can’t wait to reap the rewards of lifetime of hard work. Then there are those are staring down those “golden years” with a certain amount of dread. Most of that anxiety centers on uncertainty in where they will live and who will take care of them. That’s actually a big issue we’re all going to confront someday. The real question becomes will you know you all options for senior living care when the time is ready?

According to the Center for Disease Control the average life expectancy for Americans is at an all time high of 77.9 years. When seniors reach 80 their chances of suffering from some form of debilitating medical condition is close to 75%. In other words, three quarters of the senior population could find themselves in need of assisted living. Fortunately, there have been great strides made in these types of environments in terms of living design, medical care and wellness programs. The goal with assisted living is to allow seniors to maintain their sense of dignity and independence with an occasional helping hand. The major difference is that with assisted living, the “helping hand” is just down the hall!

Making the transition into an assisted living community can be a stress inducing event for a senior, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips on how to pick the right assisted living community and make the move a smooth one.

Consider the Living Environment

If you’re helping an elder loved one pick an assisted living community the best place to start is to take into account the kind of residence they would feel comfortable in. If your senior is already living in an apartment type of setting, then moving into assisted living won’t be such a drastic change. However, a senior living in a home might find the smaller accommodations not to their liking. You can take this into account by picking an assisted living apartment that has an open balcony or patio. There are also spaces that offer a larger two bedroom layout.

Embrace the Likes and Dislikes

There are some seniors who enjoy an active social life while others prefer more quiet moments. At assisted living you can accommodate both types of personalities. For the more active senior you’ll want to look for a facility that offers a variety of programs to engage their interests. These programs shouldn’t just be arts and crafts, but also trips outside to museums or concerts. With the senior who likes to stay inside, each assisted living apartment is going to be their own space that can be decorated however they like. They’ll also have their own television or stereo to listen to. What’s great about staying at an assisted living facility is that all those activity options will be waiting for them whenever they’re ready to join in.

Take the Tour Together

As you begin to research assisted living facilities, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover there are many options within your own community. You can do a preliminary tour of these facilities on your own, but it’s important to involve your senior loved on in the decision process. At assisted living they will be getting help from the same staff members every day. If your loved one meets these folks in advance and gets a sense of a warm and friendly atmosphere then they might not approach the move with such apprehension. It’s best to tour several facilities in order to get a complete picture and have the best to pick from.
Making the move into assisted living comes down to a matter of attitude. This shouldn’t be looked at as the “end of the road” but an exciting chance to maintain their quality of life.