Choosing Between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes
There are numerous options for assistant senior care currently available, ranging from home care and independent living to full nursing homes. Choosing the type of senior care that’s right for your loved one is a challenging task, and much research needs to be undertaken to find the type of care that would best suit their needs. When looking for the right type of care, keep the wishes of your loved ones at the forefront, but also keep in mind their health needs, personal preferences, as well as likes and dislikes. Knowing the difference between different types of senior care will help you make the right decision.
Nursing Homes are otherwise known as Long-Term Care or Skilled Nursing Facilities or Homes for the Aged. Nursing homes are for elderly individuals who require assistance and care 24/7. Seniors with debilitating medical problems or cognitive impairments, who require professional assistance, opt for this type of care option. The distinguishing feature of nursing homes is that they provide professional medical assistance, convenience of access to physical therapists, many kinds of healthcare practitioners, as well as nutritional meals and personal care amenities.
Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living combines independent living with assistance from professionals when necessary. Support services are available when needed.
In these types of communities, seniors receive help with certain daily activities, such personal care, medication reminders, or other activities, all dependent on individual needs.
Here, seniors’ living space usually has his/her own furnishings and decorations; staff are required to be accommodating to the privacy and independence of each resident.
Thus, the main difference between nursing homes and assisted living communities is that the former offer professional and on-going medical services, while in the latter, assistance is offered largely with regular daily activities.
Which is more appropriate at each stage in the life of a senior?
Assisted living residences and communities can look like single-family dwellings or apartment buildings including common visiting and dining areas. The atmosphere of the suites and studios in an assisted living community are usually home-like including kitchenettes offering the resident the choice to dine alone or in a community dining room.
Seniors that have experienced a decline in health and require assistance with one or more daily life activities may be perfectly suited to an assisted living environment. Many Assisted Living arrangements and communities allow the individual to age in place rather than relocate to a facility that provides additional levels of care and the way to find out whether the residence of your loved one qualifies for the option to age in place is to contact the division of government, usually the Ministry of Health, in your province.
Nursing Homes employ health care professionals that are available to their residents as needed and they also offer most of the same options that an assisted living community offers. For example, social get togethers and excursions, physical therapy and exercise classes. The bottom line is to assess the needs of your loved one and match them to the type of care and the options provided at each level.
Understanding the Benefits of Assisted Living Homes for Loved Ones
Most of the rooms in assisted living housing look very much like bedrooms and some even have apartments. These assisted living apartments are rarely shared unless clients make a special request for it. The environment provides independence for clients and they get to live and look after the house the way it used to be in their formal home. There is a kitchenette attached to the house to allow people to prepare their meals. An advantage of living in an assisted home is that people will be able to socialize. In most homes for the elderly, they are usually indoors all alone in their rooms talking to no one. However, with assisted living centers, they are able to mix up and socialize with all other people in the assisted living community. There is a greater rate of interest provided all around that will help them to live longer and in good health.
The assisted living houses have facilities for people going out together and having social occasions. The people are allowed to invite their families to come for the outings and social gatherings because there is fun and the people are allowed to contribute towards the program. Most public holidays are usually celebrated with loved ones around them. There is arrangement for outings for everybody to go out for shopping and sightseeing to places of interests. This is surely more than anyone can ask for. It is like living normal lives amongst the people they love.
When the residents ones relocate to assisted living homes, there are usually concerns about their independence. Many of them want to be alone, without any one disturbing their lives. There is independence in the assisted living home for anyone that will not want to socialize or join in group activities and social gatherings. Since there is provision for a personal apartment or room, some may even have a kitchenette where they can cook their own meals and other amenities made available for them, they can stay anyway when they want. Everyone is giving equal chances of participating in all the activities but they are left to make the choice of whether they want to participate or not. Participating in activities is good for their health and will help them to live longer. Isolation is not good for anyone at all; it can lead to a faster decline in health for aging senior citizens than anything else. Talking and participating in social activities will make them come alive each and everyday and boost their health. This is better than staying alone and relying on people to take care of them.
The assisted living house not only provides independence for the people living there, they also make sure that they keep a close watch on the people. Most families always worry about the people there being able to take care of themselves. There is no need for such worries as the staffs in the home are often seen around watching people, to make sure that they are doing well without disturbing their peace at anytime. People that are isolating themselves are seriously taken care of and information is passed to their family members to always come to visit them. By the time family members come visiting from time to time, it will ease their burdens and they can be happy to associate with anyone around again. Family members can also encourage them to participate in any social events or outings organized by the community from time to time.
The families of the people staying in assisted living home are at peace knowing that their elderly loved ones are being taken care of appropriately and that they are safe from any harm. The benefits of taking aged loved ones to assisted living homes are far beyond measure. It is different from any other home whatsoever. The care they provide is excellent. They watch over the residents to make sure they are doing fine and organize social activities for them to enjoy. They are not left behind during the holiday season when people are going around enjoying themselves. They get to go out too and partake of the holiday fun. The freedom provided in assisted living communities is awesome. Everybody can live the same way they are used to in their houses with no one bothering them.
People who are having elderly ones at home can take them to assisted living homes instead of nursing homes. An Assisted living home is like a home away from home. There is not much difference between home and assisting living home. People can arrange their things the way they were arranged in their original homes. They can even eat their normal meals. They don’t have to worry about preparing their own meals but can still have it the way they want.
Common Myths about Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs)
When faced with the responsibility of choosing and selecting senior care options, many families have preconceived ideas about what assisted living facilities represent for their loved one's future. Common myths are perpetuated by the media, which tends to emphasize the negative stories experienced by a relatively small number of seniors. The following information will dispel those myths and provide helpful insight about the benefits of ALFs.
Myth #1: The phrase 'assisted living facility' is just new terminology to describe nursing homes.
In fact, ALFs are a relatively new concept designed to serve the needs of a changing society, in which seniors live longer than ever before and prefer to live as independently as possible. Throughout the United States, adult children commonly juggle two-career households, raising children and attempting to meet the needs of their aging parents. Within the last twenty years, professionals in the field of eldercare have recognized the need to promote an active lifestyle within an environment where care is also provided. As a result, seniors no longer feel they are burdening their families with their needs, live independently in their own apartment, enjoy a full calendar of activities and feel secure in knowing assistance is always available. Whereas nursing homes focus primarily on skilled medical care and therapies, assisted living facilities promote as much independence in activities of daily living as possible.
Myth #3: Medicare will pay for the care provided in assisted living facilities.
Medicare does not provide coverage for non-skilled care services such as assistance with activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, medication management, toileting and transferring. While skilled nursing facilities accept Medicare, ALFs typically accept only private pay or long-term care insurance. In some instances, assisted living facilities will license a limited number of apartments for Medicaid recipients and others may offer programs to assist residents whose income falls below a particular median range. However, those with limited finances and who anticipate applying for Medicaid in the near future may want to consider alternative care options such as care homes.
One of the things that happens to folks as they get on in years, is that they begin to worry over how they are going to care for themselves. This is a common concern among people who are reaching their golden years. The news doesn't help sometimes all full of dire predictions and gloom.
But one thing is really important, maybe even more important than anything else when it comes time to retire, and that is getting the kind of care you need at the time and place that you need it. That is why senior assisted living facilities were created.
This type of facility is different than what people usually think about nursing homes and retirement villages. Assisted living facilities are a blend of independence and care that is created specifically for each individual resident. This kind of care regimen is designed on purpose to foster the amount of independent activities that each person can do for themselves.
There are some people who need more being taken care of than others. You might even know some people like that, and if they need that, it is good that there are places where they can go to get the kind of care they are looking for. But with assisted living, you are in charge of your life. And that is far and away what most people are looking for.
The idea that someone is there to help you when you need it is a really good one, and it makes sense to let others handle some of the things that you don't want to take care of anymore. And that is exactly the kind of thinking that is ideal for taking advantage of senior assisted living facilities.
I work with elderly people in an assisted living facility. Each time I see a particular resident, the experience is new. I try to comprehend how it must feel to age, to change and become more and more dependent. The result is, I'm dumbfounded... I just don't understand.
I talk with residents who tell me about their former careers, amazing vacations they've been on, achievements throughout life, etc. They even relate to where I am at in my life right now. "When my first son was born, I was so terrified, yet excited," one resident recalled. "He wouldn't sleep until I bounced him so long I developed a constant twitch." That's right, I would think... That's what I have to do. Then ten minutes later, the resident would ask me how my baby was and recap her experience, "When my first son was born, I was so terrified, yet excited." My heart sinks each time. Will that be me when I get "OLD?"
I, personally, am humbled everyday by the elderly people of this community. They each have their own struggles and issues, but they are alive and continue to thrive. I just hope younger generations appreciate where they are at in life and realize that one day they, too, will be "OLD." No matter what body part fails or how bad the memory declines, it's attitude and relationships that are the difference and make life worth the struggle!
Assisted Living and Nursing Homes are two terms often used interchangeably, however this is a mistake. The two are actually very different, and a candidate for one is not a candidate for the other. The following are some differences between the two:
Assisted Living Facilities:
o Individuals in assisted living are more independent and can usually get through most of the day by themselves. They only need general help with daily activities like bathing, dressing, grooming and preparing food.
o Candidates still enjoy social activities with other people and make autonomous decisions about their day. Someone who belongs in an assisted living facility would be downright miserable in a nursing home.
o Nursing homes also provide rehabilitation to help people gain back their independence after a serious health problem, i.e. a stroke or fall.
o Similar to hospitals, nursing home patients have little to no privacy and quite often share rooms.
o Nursing home clients are viewed as patients, not clients. They are there for the sole purpose to get well. If you or your parent is well, a nursing home would not be the ideal place. Perhaps you should investigate an assisted living facility near you.