Many families that are lucky enough to still have their older family members are usually faced with the challenge of caring for them. For some, the challenge is getting the time to give care for their loved ones, while others are simply unqualified to offer the needed care. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities come in to help care for senior citizens. An assisted living facility is mostly for people who can still do a lot on their own, but still need help with certain daily activities. A nursing home is more holistic, able to offer personal care and medical care at the same time. Living in assisted living facilities has its pros and cons, both for the family and for the loved ones.
Improved Quality of Life
Some senior citizens usually have challenges doing daily activities such as bathing, grooming and cooking. While these may seem as minor parts of a daily routine, they normally affects a person’s well-being, especially when they lack. When someone is unable to do them by themselves, they may even start becoming moody and depressed. An assisted living facility will avail all the needed help for your loved one. When those activities are taken care of, they will be able to enjoy life more.
Improved Social Well-being
One of the major challenges facing senior citizens is loneliness. Sometimes family members are too busy with their daily routines to offer the much needed company. Sometimes the family might be living far away which further complicates things. In an assisted living facility, your loved one will have the chance to interact with his/her peers, and make friendships in the process. Without that loneliness, they will lead a much happier life.
Unlike a nursing home, an assisted living facility allows its members to lead a more private and independent life. You and your loved one usually decides what kind of help they will need, and what type of activities they can do by themselves. In fact, some establishments will allow people to cook for themselves, do their own chores and other similar activities, only helping where they are needed. The group activities are also not mandatory as one can choose which ones to attend. This freedom is great for people who want to pursue their interests and hobbies, while still getting the care they need.
Unfortunately, homes owned by the elderly are some of the most vulnerable to burglaries and break-ins. In some cases, the same homes can be broken into multiple times as the criminals know the occupant is helpless. An assisted living facility offers the much needed security to the senior citizens. Since they can also bring their personal property with them to the facility, their valuables are also protected.
As people get older, they are usually more prone to certain diseases and conditions. Some of the conditions progress really fast and sometimes they can be noticed when it is too late. Other times the person may fall and have a challenge getting up and calling for the needed help. In an assisted living facility, they will have experienced care givers around them all the time. The care givers will be able to identify any potential problems and report them early so that appropriate action can be taken.
Less Costly than a Nursing Home
Assisted living facilities are usually less costly than nursing homes, primarily because less specialized care is given. If your loved one only needs help with a few things, an assisted living facility is a better option than a nursing home. Your family will not be under too much financial pressure, while at the same time guaranteeing the well-being of your loved one.
Lack of Specialized Medical Care
As already mentioned, the care givers in an assisted living facility only offer help with everyday activities. They are not qualified medical professionals like you will find in a nursing home. The much they can do is to ensure that the resident take their medicines, but more technical matters usually need the intervention of a professional. This means that the facility will not be suited for people who need specialized medical care, such as people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Such people are better off in a nursing home.
Problems Adjusting to New Surroundings
Although an assisted living facility still gives its members a certain degree of freedom, there are still rules and policies to be followed. Many older people do not like some of the restrictions and may end up feeling aggrieved in the new environment. People taking their loved ones to such a facility have to contend with this aspect and address it before the move. Some adjust over time, but others never really settle in their new surroundings.
Feelings of Abandonment
Some senior citizens see the move to an assisted living facility as their family’s way of abandoning them. Some feel unwanted, unloved and uncared for, no matter how noble the reasons for the move. Needless to say this often leads to strained family relationships and stress on part of the older family member. It is therefore always a good idea to keep checking up on your loved one, and make them feel loved and appreciated even in their new home.
Risk of Infections
Older people normally have a weaker immunity. This means that it is easier for them to catch an infectious disease and once they catch it, they can be more affected than a younger person. Although assisted living facilities always take the necessary precautions to avoid spread of infections, the risk is always there. There is therefore that fear that your loved one may contract an infection from the other residents which might irreversibly affect their health.
Extra Financial Burden
Although assisted living facilities are less expensive than nursing homes, they are still more expensive than home care. Add in the fact that most insurance companies do not cover assisted living them the matter becomes more complicated. Other residents also require expensive medicine and a strict diet, which further increases the expenses. Many families struggle with this burden, with some even ending up trying to take care of loved ones by themselves, which is not always a good idea.