Needing help with day-to-day living is one of the greatest fears for seniors. But today, seniors can have help without losing independence or living in isolation by simply moving to the right assisted living community. In the 21st century, assisted living is considered a great option for seniors who want to retain their mobility, creativity, and relationships, in a safe, supportive and welcoming community.
What to Look for When Evaluating Assisted Living
The truth about assisted living communities is that life is often improved considerably because seniors have so much help and so many amenities they often wonder why they waited. But selecting the best assisted living community for a senior’s needs and lifestyle is key to their long-term happiness. Here are factors to consider when comparing assisted living communities.
1. Facility and staff certifications and qualifications
In many states assisted living communities must be licensed, while others require licensing only when the facility meets specific levels of care. So, it’s best to begin a search by contacting the appropriate state agency to find out what is required in your state and checking each community accordingly.
Next review communities’ websites and brochures for information about staff qualifications. Look for educational levels of top management, as well as that of wellness team members, care coordinators, nurses, and other licensed caregivers, such as those who distribute medication. Having a fully staffed team of professionals is essential to providing a safe and healthful environment, so don’t settle for anything less.
2. Levels of care available
Residents of assisted living communities may require just minimal help or ongoing assistance with many aspects of daily life. Typically, residents can expect:
Assistance with activities of daily living including getting in and out of bed, mobility, eating meals, bathing and other personal hygiene, and dressing. Each resident should be provided the assistance they need, no matter how much or how little.
On-site security and emergency assistance available 24/7, 365.
Medication management by a certified professional to ensure the right medication is taken at the right time each day.
Ongoing evaluations so seniors get the level of care needed to keep them safe and allow them to enjoy life to the fullest.
Moving to assisted living doesn’t have to mean giving up everything from furniture to privacy. The best communities go the extra mile to provide a choice of private or shared living suites, depending upon each resident’s preference. Bringing along possessions like furniture, artwork and other personal items can also help seniors quickly feel right at home without the loneliness and isolation of living alone.
It’s also important to tour (virtual or in-person) common areas available to residents. Examples include:
Arts and crafts room.
Wellness center with exercise equipment appropriate for seniors.
Lounges with comfy couches, chairs and televisions.
Outdoor areas like patios, porches, walking paths, and gardens.
And don’t overlook the importance of excellent dining options, including chef-prepared meals that are not only delicious but healthful too. No matter what dietary needs a resident has to meet, the chef should be trained and prepared to meet them with a smile. Also check on the availability of special catering services for family dinners, events and occasions. From a family style feast to a scrumptious five-course candlelight dinner for those special occasions, the options should be available.
Overall, the more choices offered, the more likely a senior will find their niche and become a happy, active and vital part of the community.
4. Amenities and entertainment
Unlike living at home, where a television, laptop or tablet are the only forms of entertainment for many seniors, assisted living communities offer a wide range of amenities and entertainment options, commonly overseen by a qualified activities or resident service director. Among those to be expected are:
On-site personal services like hair and nail salons and barber services.
Theaters with movies including that all important fresh popcorn!
Luxury transportation to a variety of outings like shopping trips and local events and venues, as wells for rides to doctor or dentist appointments, etc.
Off-site entertainment might include skydiving lessons (No really!), touring a local winery or brewery, museum visits, and golf outings.
On-site entertainment that is designed to encourage engagement includes movies, arts and crafts, special men’s and women’s clubs and get-togethers, and weekly happy hours with live entertainment.
Assisted living communities that want to be part of the greater community also offer opportunities for residents to help out by volunteering so they feel they too have something to give.
5. Emphasis on family
A move to assisted living should enhance family life, not preclude it, so be sure to ask about visitation, trips and outings with family members and friends, and of course, whether or not seniors can bring along their dearest friends, their pets. Seniors often find assisted living makes it easier to enjoy the company of loved ones, including kids and grandkids, because there is more free time to enjoy life together without the weight of caregiving. To learn more about assisted living at Arrow Senior Living, contact us today or visit our website to find an Arrow community near you!