Aging in Place vs. Assisted Living

Aging in Place vs. Assisted Living

The journey and navigation of aging is not an easy one. As we age, the balance of remaining independent while also knowing when to ask for assistance can be complicated. Often, the question of how to live and where to live continually creeps into the front of the conversation. There are many positives and drawbacks to both considerations. 

Here, we seek to explore what may be a good fit for an individual candidate. What may be good for one person may be a different situation for another. Let’s dive into it. 

Aging in Place vs. Assisted Living

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living can look very different depending on the location. Even within an assisted program, there are many dimensions and options to cater to an individual’s needs. In a nutshell, it is a type of residential housing for the elderly who are in need of care or require any assistance with daily activities and duties.

This can include bathing, dressing, medication management, and meal preparation. It’s important to note that they may need assistance but are not hospital-ridden though there are often hospitals nearby or on site. 

Benefits of Assisted Living

There are many different benefits of assisted living which is why it is such a popular choice for the elderly and their supporting families. Often the needs that the elderly have cannot be met by family members due to time and qualifications. 

It can also put a strain on the relationship as caretakers can often feel overwhelmed and burned out after a period of time. Here are some of the key reasons assisted living becomes a viable option. 

Medical Care

Many assisted living programs have a unit dedicated to individuals who have more intense needs. They may be struggling with an ongoing illness such as Alzheimer’s and need daily assistance but can be taken care of by medical staff outside of an in-patient hospital. 

Often these nurses work directly with an affiliated hospital to help manage a plan that puts the patient in the most comfortable setting. All their medications and medical needs can be done on-site with a licensed nurse. This often can include physical therapy. 

Community Living

A part of assisted living is being in a community surrounded by individuals who are in similar positions as you. For many, this brings a world of comfort. Making connections at an older age can be difficult, but in the assisted living community is emphasized heavily on bringing joy to an otherwise tense situation. Often you can expect some of the following. 

  • Organized holiday parties and celebrations. This is especially true for those who may not have family visiting them. 
  • Weekly crafts and clubs such as knitting, reading, bingo, and many more fun activities that are easy to participate in.

There is a lot more to community living than just the activities, as just having a roommate often is a major boost to many’s happiness and well-being. 

Transportation Assistance

One of the best ways to keep independence is to be able to go out and attend doctor appointments and grab groceries. That’s why many assisted-living homes provide transportation to allow guests to continue to do these things. It’s the best of both worlds.

It also provides a safer community for all those around and the individuals living at the assisted living home. Often elderly drive much longer than they should to retain their independence.

Flexibility in Plans

One of the most important things when choosing an assisted living is to make sure the program can grow with you. This is because many individuals will constantly change with their needs as they age.

An assisted living program often will have many levels of assistance so they can continue to grow with the guest. This gives a lot of comfort to families and friends, knowing that their loved ones will be taken care of no matter what their circumstances are.

Drawbacks of Assisted Living

As with anything in life, there will always be positives and negatives to any choice. Assisted living has a lot of positives to look forward to. However, there are some drawbacks to be considered. 

Perspective to Consider

Mindset plays a role when someone is in assisted living. When a program is mismanaged and doesn’t have a lot of activities, it can start to feel dreary. If someone is placed in a unit that they are not meant for, it can make them feel like they are aging quickly.

For instance, somebody who has a healthy mind and is still very capable of doing daily activities can feel sad if surrounded by people who cannot. This is because it will trigger or remind them that this is a possible direction they are headed in.

This is why it is important to take your time when interviewing a place to ensure they handle guests properly.

Living at Home

While we just spent a good amount of time talking about assisted living, it would be remiss not to talk about why living at home can also be beneficial. Ultimately living at home is an independence that cannot be replicated. Let’s talk about some of the benefits. 

Benefits of Aging in Home

  • Being able to rely on yourself can actually make one feel more youthful. A great example is going to get groceries. This makes one get out and be active and stimulates their brain.
  • If you were lucky enough to have a family support system that does allow you to stay home, there is nothing like the comfort of familiarity. As we age, comfort should be a priority.
  • There are areas in between where traveling nurses can come assist at the house. This means not having to leave your home but also having a second pair of hands to help.

Aging can be frightening for many. Taking someone out of the comfort of their home can often be threatening. This is why including the person in the discussion as much as possible is important. 

Talking It Over

When it comes to making a decision as big as where one should live, the conversation usually takes place over many talks. There are a few things to consider on this topic. One of them is including a healthcare professional in your conversations. they will be able to not only give you recommendations but are also aware of the patient’s health history. 

They will be able to not only give you recommendations but are also aware of the patient’s health history. It’s also great to include different family members to get different viewpoints. The process should include different visits and talking to staff to see which assisted-living home would best fit the individual.

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