Conventional wisdom says that we all want to stay in our own homes for as long as we can. That is likely how most of our elders feel, but it’s not always in their best interest to do so. How do we talk with them about the realities and dangers of staying at home once their health and/or functional abilities decline? How do we convince them that a move to assisted living could benefit their mental and physical health?
Is Aging In Place the Best Option for Seniors?
Professional in-home care and a medical alert system are sufficient for some seniors to remain at home safely for a time. But if they live alone or their spouse is frail, then there’s no one to help them if they experience a medical emergency and can’t push their wearable call button. The familiarity and comforts of home are undeniable, but there are some concerns and drawbacks associated with aging in place.
For instance, as leaving the house becomes more of a hassle and friends develop their own mobility issues, there are fewer opportunities for elders to socialize. Household tasks like cooking, cleaning and laundry grow increasingly challenging, so some seniors may stop eating, completing chores, or changing into clean clothes. Older adults experiencing cognitive decline are especially vulnerable and can fall victim to scams, forget to turn off kitchen appliances, and even lapse into self-neglect.
Aging in place is an option for seniors who make proper home modifications, have a robust support system, and are realistic about their health and functional abilities. However, many older adults put themselves at risk by failing to plan for and acknowledge their growing needs. Even those who have done their best to prepare for their golden years may find that their forever home is no longer safe or suitable. What’s more, their family caregivers are often run ragged trying to ensure their safety and well-being while juggling their own lives.
Part of the problem with convincing elders—and sometimes other family members for that matter—to give senior living a chance is that most have never been inside a modern assisted living facility (ALF). They still envision the “old folks’ rest homes” from decades ago, and the move from a family home is considered one more step away from independence and closer to death. This image and mindset are widespread but misleading and detrimental to seniors in need of support.
Contrast this life with living in a well-vetted ALF, whether it’s a stand-alone facility, part of a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), or a private board and care home where only a few seniors live. In any of these situations, seniors can thrive. They don’t have the responsibility of maintaining a home, so they are relieved of the pressure to hire help, tackle household projects themselves, or let the house deteriorate. Assisted living is just that—assisted. Seniors maintain more than a modicum of their independence in ALFs, thanks to the added benefit of 24/7 access to trained staff in case they need medical help or other assistance. Nutritious meals and snacks are available in both community dining settings and in residents’ rooms. Perhaps most importantly, seniors have the opportunity to make friends with their new neighbors and an abundance of engaging activities at their fingertips.
If you’ve talked to your parent and they are ready, please consider visiting Three Tree Vista for a tour. We’d love to see if we are the right fit for your loved one. Please contact us today.