Pros and Cons of Assisted Living
While aging in place is popular amongst many seniors, some chose to move to assisted living facilities in their older years instead. It can be stressful for a senior to decide whether they want to move into an assisted living facility or not, but assisted living facilities are a great middle-ground between aging in place and a nursing home as seniors can get the assistance they need, but they don’t need the high level of care that a nursing home offers. If you or a senior you know is considering assisted living but is on the fence, it might be beneficial to lay out a pros and cons list.
One of the biggest pros of assisted living is seniors have help whenever they need it with daily activities. Simple daily tasks like taking a bath, using the restroom, or putting on clothes may become difficult for seniors, and assisted living facility will make sure the resident is accommodated. Another benefit of living in an assisted living facility is that faculty will ensure that all seniors living there are as safe as possible. Necessary precautions will be taken and assistive devices like a step stool for bed or a bath step stool will be added for comfort and convenience. Most assisted living facilities are designed with reducing the risk of falls in mind, and in the event that a fall or injury does happen, seniors are cared for and will not be alone.
One of the best things about living in an assisted living facility is that seniors can socialize with other seniors. At one age, it can be easy to fall into a state of social isolation — especially in quarantine — and an assisted living facility surrounds seniors with other seniors. St. Joseph Health even suggests that social interaction helps prevent dementia as socializing keeps seniors sharp. Social interaction is important for everyone, and an assisted living facility provides seniors with a community where they can meet others who are similar to them.
Caretakers in an assisted living facility are trained to adapt to seniors changing needs. Is a resident on a new medication? The caretaker can handle that! New food regime? You got it! Caretakers at assisted living facilities are organized and oftentimes have the opportunity to get to know the senior living there on a personal basis, so adapting to changes is comfortable for the senior living in an assisted living facility and the caretaker working there. Excellent caretakers at assisted living facilities will always be sure that a senior’s needs up do date.
Activity is important for all seniors. Whether you are aging in place, in an assisted living facility, or at a nursing home, it is important to get up and be active. There are many pros to scheduled activity at an assisted living facility. The activity can help prevent common diseases seniors suffer from such as heart disease and diabetes. The activity also encourages a healthy immune system and overall better mental health. One of the biggest benefits of scheduled activity at assisted living facilities is that it reduces the risk of falls by improving balance and coordination.
Assisted living facilities still encourage a senior to be independent and provide more privacy to a senior than a nursing home. Many seniors in assisted living facilities have their own apartment and their own space to move around and can move about freely throughout the assisted living facility. Residents have more control over their lives, such as when they want to eat, sleep, and when they want to see their family, but they still have the care they may need on their own time.
Probably the biggest con of assisted living is how expensive it is. According to seniorliving.com the average cost of assisted living in 2018 was $4,000 per month and about $48,000 per year. If you are on the hunt for an assisted living facility, it is important to know all costs, including hidden costs. When searching for an assisted living facility “getting your money’s worth” is highly important. Take tours and do research on assisted living facilities to see if the investment is worth it.
For those who are not used to having caretakers, assisted living may feel invasive to the individual even if they need the help. It can be awkward and uncomfortable to be vulnerable with someone who is initially a stranger and many seniors will be reluctant to move to an assisted living facility as they don’t want to forgo their privacy. On the one hand, assisted living facilities offer more privacy than a nursing home, however, on the other hand assisted living facilities are not fully private, and some may never be fully comfortable with the lack of privacy.
Assisted living facilities are a great option for individuals who still are able to do daily tasks on their own. However, assisted living facilities do not offer a high level of care. Individuals who suffer from dementia or altizumers are not able to go to assisted living facilities as they do not offer the level of care a senior may need. Some seniors may want to live in an assisted living facility for the benefits listed above, but require a higher degree of care. Unfortunately, individuals with higher needs cannot practically live in an assisted living facility.
Just like how it can be difficult to move away from home for college, adjusting to assisted living life can be difficult for seniors too. With assisted living comes a whole new degree of unfamiliarity, and it can be uncomfortable to leave the comfort one one’s home to move into an assisted living facility with a bunch of strangers. The transition from life alone or with a partner to life with many others can be shocking at first, but many seniors thrive in assisted living facilities and make friends, pick up new activities, and learn along the way, just like college!
The last and perhaps the most obvious con of assisted living facilities is that seniors can’t stay in their own home and age in place. Many individuals — not only seniors — feel a normal attachment to their home and moving can be scary, saddening, and difficult. Seniors who move to assisted living facilities choose not to age in place and instead to move to a place where they will get more help.
Living in an assisted living facility is a great option for seniors who want help but still want to remain independent. One of the most important things to note about living in assisted living facilities is that it is not a failure of aging in place, but rather a step in the direction that is best for you. Assisted living facilities have amazing benefits and can help seniors thrive and live the best lives they can. If you are considering assisted living facilities or are considering one for your loved one, weigh out the pros and cons, then come to a decision.