Preparing for a Transition to Assisted Living

assisted living

Conflicting Feelings

Transitioning from a home to senior living centers or an assisted living situation can be a difficult and dramatic change in the life of the elderly. Sometimes it is a welcome change, but sometimes this transition is accompanied by feelings of anger and resentment over the perceived loss of freedom and control over one’s life and even as an affront to one’s hard won sense of dignity and personal fulfillment. This transition need not be such a difficult one if the elderly and their family members are prepared to honestly discuss the situation and everyone’s respective needs. Many people do not really know the level of care that these kinds of facilities provide. Senior living apartments are generally restricted to those over fifty five and these and other assisted living facilities provide great services for the elderly.

Average resident

According to the National Center for Assisted Living, the average age of someone living in an assisted living facility is around 86.9 years of age. 74% of this population tends to be female while only 26% of those living in assisted living facilities are males. This elderly person then is typically a woman who is mobile but requires assistance with at least two activities of daily living such as cleaning and bathing. There are 900,000 elderly people nationwide living in some kind of assisted care facility, and the largest group of people transitioning to assisted living situations are those coming from independently occupied homes and apartments.

The elderly have rights

It is important for the elderly to understand that they have rights in assisted living situations just like anywhere else. Because their lives are managed in very personal aspects, assisted living facilities try very hard to respect and foster independence while providing a level of care that gives the elderly the quality of life that is best for them. Assisted living facilities are keen on respecting the privacy of their residents, and the elderly have every right expect that their privacy be respected. They also have the right to control their own finances, and they have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. It goes without saying that assisted living facilities allow personal possessions, but the elderly should know that this is a right as well. They are allowed to freely interact with anyone within the facility and outside the community. They also have the freedom of religion. There can be a perception of assisted living situations that because it is a managed community environment that activities are regimented and structured without the permission or care of the residents themselves. This is simply not true.

Average stay is longer

The average stay for someone living in an assisted living situation is 28.3 months. For the most part, the elderly in assisted living situations usually transition to nursing homes. For those transitioning from senior living centers, the stay is longer, but again depends on the level of independence and mobility of the elderly. What kinds of activities do the elderly find they need the most help with? The most common assistance that the elderly need is with bathing and help with their medications.

The best way to determine if a transition to senior or assisted living is to ask some simple questions. Is depression a problem? Is a sense of loneliness and isolation getting in the way of living a full life? Is there a need for more help than family or friends can provide without being burdensome? Is transportation becoming an issue? All of these are questions that family members should be willing to explore with their elderly when trying to determine if a transition to assisted living is necessary.

Mary Clarkson writes articles for several senior care sites and recommends checking out Chicago senior living apartments for your loved ones.


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