If you are a caregiver considering moving your loved one into an assisted living community, approach this move with a positive outlook. Reaching this decision has not been easy but making and sticking with a plan will make this process smoother and more successful. Although there are drawbacks to life in an assisted living facility there are many positive things about it, too. Here are things to remember as you or an elderly loved one transition into assisted living.

By deciding now, you avoid a tough choice later

Many seniors fear a loss of control. Whether it is control over financial matters, health-related issues or something else, many persons don't want to burden someone else with making the tough calls on their behalf.

If your senior loved one is considering a move, you should reassure him or her that doing so now allows them to retain some control over important decisions. On the contrary, if he or she opts to wait and something happens, the tough choices such as liquidating assets may be left to you or someone else. Many seniors feel it's better to make these choices themselves while they are still able to do so rather than waiting until someone else must do it.

Increased opportunities for social activities

Aging in place can sometimes be a lonely proposition. Some seniors rarely, if ever, leave their homes to get out and socialize. This can be due to several factors: challenges with transportation, fear of getting lost or even financial considerations. Aging at home can present unique challenges in maintaining a social life, and studies show that an active social life can be important to seniors emotional and physical well-being.

A senior who moves into an assisted living facility will find a host of social activities. From group craft sessions to bingo games to volunteer activities, assisted living facilities offer a wealth of options. What's more, transportation is frequently not needed, as the activities take place near the elderly residents' quarters. In the event that transportation is involved, the facility usually handles the details so the residents need not be concerned with it.

Better opportunities to stay fit

Physical fitness is a crucial part of maintaining health, especially for elderly persons. Yet, many elderly people who choose to age in place have a challenging time getting enough exercise. Simply getting to the gym can pose a challenge. Elderly persons may also feel intimidated or out of place in a traditional fitness facility.

In contrast, assisted living facilities have fitness centers that are geared toward elderly persons. The equipment and classes are arranged with them in mind. Additionally, getting there is no problem as the fitness center is a part of the facility.

Leave the maintenance to someone else

While there are benefits to aging in place, one thing elderly people cannot avoid is the maintenance and other headaches that come with owning a house. Moving into an assisted living facility will be a major adjustment, without a doubt, but one advantage is that maintenance will be someone else's headache. No more frantic weekend calls to find a plumber, no more fighting with insurance adjusters after a storm. These problems and many others are handled by the assisted living facility, leaving seniors free to enjoy their golden years.

Why cook when you can let someone else do it?

For many seniors, cooking at home can be challenging and tiresome. This can lead to issues with malnutrition with those who opt to forgo cooking to avoid the inconvenience.

When a senior moves into an assisted living facility, that issue is a thing of the past. Seniors who enjoy cooking are usually still free to do so in their quarters if they wish. For everyone else, there is usually a meal service that serves food that is nutritious and tasty.

Although the specifics vary by facility, the vast majority offer a cafeteria or dining hall staffed by a team of professional chefs. The cost of the meals is usually included in the monthly fee, meaning seniors can plan on a fixed food and dining cost. And one of the best parts is that there are no dishes to clean!

The senior years are not without their challenges. The decision to move out of one's home and into an assisted living facility is a difficult one. But there are many advantages to doing so and by focusing on them, you and your elderly loved one can ease the transition.

Sources

Hawes, Catherine, et al. "A national survey of assisted living facilities." The Gerontologist 43.6 (2003): 875-882.

Ball, Mary M., et al. "Quality of life in assisted living facilities: Viewpoints of residents." Journal of Applied Gerontology 19.3 (2000): 304-325.

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