Deciding when you or a loved one should make the move to a senior living community, and deciding what type of care or home they need can seem like a daunting or even overwhelming process. Between understanding different care options to knowing what to look for in a community, you and your family will likely have a lot of questions.
We have compiled a list of questions and answers for some of the most common questions associated with Assisted Living, to help you along your journey to finding the senior living care option that best suits your needs.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted Living is a type of senior care that offers aid to older adults who may need help with the activities of daily living. This level of care falls between Independent Living and a skilled nursing facility, nursing home or alternate health care facility and is usually a long term care option.
Assisted Living communities offer personal care services such as help with medication management, toileting, grooming, dressing, or mobility and have onsite caregivers that provide basic nursing care and assistance, housekeeping and home maintenance services, and prepared meals.
You can learn more about Assisted Living in detail here.
What is the Difference Between Independent and Assisted Living?
Independent living or a retirement community is an ideal option for older adults looking to live a maintenance-free lifestyle. These communities offer housekeeping, home maintenance, and meal services, removing the burden and cost of home ownership or home upkeep.
Assisted Living facilities, on the other hand, offer additional services and care options to assist residents with daily tasks they may otherwise struggle with on their own. This type of care can range from simple assistance with daily activities to more advanced caregiving aid and attendance.
You can find out more about the differences between Assisted Living and independent living here.
Why Do People Choose Assisted Living?
People choose Assisted Living either for themselves or for a family member when they feel living at home is no longer the best or safest option, and care services or assistance is needed.
There are many reasons someone might make the switch to Assisted Living including wanting a more social environment, requiring assistance with medication management, meals, or daily chores, wanting to reduce the stress and costs of home ownership, or if an individual needs assistance with activities of daily living.
Assisted Living allows individuals to live life to the fullest knowing assistance and care are always on hand if and when they need it.
What Age Do Most People Go into Assisted Living?
Assisted Living is less about age, and more about an individual's needs and preference, but most Senior Living communities have an age minimum of either 60 or 65. On average, residents on the younger end of senior opt for Independent Living, 55+ Active Adult Apartments or live in-home, while the average Assisted Living resident ranges in age from 75 to 85.
However, assessing your or your loved ones needs is the best way to determine when Assisted Living is the right decision, regardless of age.
How Do You Know When it's Time to Move to Assisted Living?
Knowing when it is time to make the move to Assisted Living can seem scary, but there are many signs and decisions that will help you know when it is the right time for you or a loved one to move. Many people ask themselves “how do I know if my parent needs assisted living?” and checking for these factors and signs can help you decide.
A decline in health is one of the biggest signs it may be time to make the switch. If a loved one experienced a recent fall, illness or a new diagnosis, they may not be able to live safely on their own. Assisted Living is a great option as on-site care providers can help manage medication, treatments, or therapy and provide mental and physical aid.
Untidy living conditions or poor hygiene can also be a sign it might be time for your loved one to make a change. If they are no longer able to take care of their hygiene or home upkeep, Assisted Living provides immediate assistance with these needs.
Recognizable weight loss, trouble preparing meals, or a loss of appetite can also be warning signs. Older adults can sometimes lose interest in eating well or cooking for themselves, resulting in rapid weight loss and/or a decline in health. Assisted Living communities offer meal plans, dining options, and chef prepared meals so you or a loved one can enjoy delicious food without the hassle of cooking or grocery shopping.
Increased isolation, loneliness, or disinterest in leaving the house can also be signs that it is time to move. If a senior has difficulty getting around, they may withdraw and stop going on outings or seeing friends and family. In an Assisted Living community, friends and neighbors are right on their doorstep so they can enjoy the company of others in a secure, safe way which can combat isolation, and boost wellness and mood.
What Should I Look for in a Senior Assisted Living Community?
While each Assisted Living Community is different, Assisted Living communities should be friendly, vibrant, clean and well staffed. The atmosphere of each community may be different, but you want to know that you or a loved one will be well taken care of, and that caregivers are compassionate and attentive.
An enriching, home-like and lively atmosphere is also important. Looking for communities with active social events, activity calendars and a variety of programs will help ensure residents have a variety of opportunities to get involved in their community and make friends. You can then choose a community that has the amenities and services that best suit you, keeping in mind the current and potential future needs of your loved one.
What Makes a Good Assisted Living Community?
A good assisted living community will offer a vibrant and friendly atmosphere with a wide range of services and amenities. Compassionate caregivers, flexible or individualized care plans and dedicated team members are key to ensuring the wellbeing of your loved one.
Comfortable and welcoming apartments and common spaces, as well as a full roster of activities and programs will also help your loved one stay engaged, and live life to the fullest. A great community will have a large variety of recreational activities from exercise classes to arts and crafts, social events and games.
Even if your loved one is more reserved, having a community with lots of activities gives them the opportunity to get as involved as they want, combating loneliness and helping to boost mental health.
Pacifica Senior Living communities strive to have the ideal balance between care and independence, partnered with a full roster of activities, events and outings. Our caregivers provide excellent and compassionate care to our residents, while our activities team creates a welcoming and dynamic atmosphere where everyone can find something to get involved in.
We also have top notch services and amenities, from laundry and housekeeping to on-site hairdressers, theater rooms, craft studios, and ice cream parlors, depending on the community. From pet therapy programs, and social events to local outings and in-house entertainment, our communities go above and beyond to create the very best community for our residents.
What Questions Should I Ask When Looking at Assisted Living?
Focusing on the care options, services and amenities you or your loved one needs can help you narrow down your search and find the Assisted Living home that is best for you.
Once you have decided what location or area you want to look in, and have determined that Assisted Living is the right care option for you, visiting in person and talking to staff members is usually the best way to see what a community is truly like.
Take a tour to check out the amenities, common areas, and apartments, but also be sure to ask about care options, including whether or not they are customizable or flexible, what social events and activities the community has, details about both their caregivers and housekeeping/maintenance routines. It is also a good idea to tour the dining room ask about the menu, and try one of their meals.
Talking to other residents who already live in the community is also a great way to get to know what they love about their community, and understand what life would be like for you or a loved one if you moved in there.
Having trouble starting your search? We have tips for researching a senior living community.
What is the Average Cost of Assisted Living?
Assisted Living costs can vary depending on location, services, care needs and amenities. A good Assisted Living community will have customizable care options so you can build individualized care that works just for you.
Assisted Living can also be cheaper than home-care or home ownership, and allows you or a loved one to cut the costs of bills and maintenance and bundle your costs into one monthly payment.
When looked at year over year, rather than monthly, senior living homes can often be cheaper options because residents do not have to factor in property taxes, upkeep, groceries, residential care or in home medical care, or even transportation and vehicle ownership.
What Happens When Assisted Living is Not Enough?
If Assisted Living services are no longer enough, residents are able to transition into more advanced care options such as Memory Care or Skilled Nursing care.
Many Pacifica Senior Living communities have both Assisted Living and Memory Care options within the same community, so residents can easily transition from one care level to another as their needs grow and change.
Having the option to age in place with care that adapts to you lets residents feel secure and at home. They do not have to deal with moving or relocating, which can be stressful, costly, and disruptive - especially for those in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
At Pacifica we work with you and your loved one to ensure their best interests at all times. You can learn more about transitioning from Assisted Living to Memory Care here.
Think it’s time for a loved one to move to Assisted Living but not sure where to start?
We have tips on how to talk to your loved one about making the move to a senior living home.
Choosing the right senior living option can feel daunting, but we are here to help you find the community, atmosphere and location that suits your needs and preferences.
Whether you want a dynamic city lifestyle or a peaceful escape by the seaside, are looking for short term respite care or long term care options, we can help you find the home that is perfect for you.