When do parents need help in their day-to-day living?
It depends on the health of your parents. Generally they will tell you when they need more assistance. But if not, it is important for you to take charge. A friend of mine who is taking care of her mother mentioned to me that you always think that they can do more than they can. So it is important that you watch them closely. Some of the options you have are independent living and assisted living facilities, Alzheimer’s and skilled nursing facilities. There are also home health care companies or you can choose to have your parents live with you. In today’s post I will talk about the first four, Independent Living, Assisted Living, Alzheimer’s and Dementia facilities.
Independent Living Facilities
When elder people are basically independent but are starting to slow down physically and mentally these places are ideal. One can choose to live in an apartment, town or single family home. Residents are totally independent, have cars and can structure their day as they please. The only difference is each apartment is equipped with emergency buttons and the staff monitor your safety. Independent living includes at least 1 meal a day in the dining room. They also have social activities such as dances, bingo, card games including bridge, arts and crafts, exercise classes, happy hour, and entertainment. Periodically the facility takes you on excursions to restaurants and entertainment. They also take you to doctors appointments and grocery shopping. These places keep elder people active and social, which is so important for a good quality of life. Quite honestly it reminds me of country club living!
Assisted Living Facilities
When elder people need help with their day-to-day living an assisted living facility is a good option. This usually happens when age dementia and/or fragility begins. One can choose a suite, apartment or a single room. All have an emergency call button. There are skilled staff including nurses at the facility 24 hours a day. This staff assists residents with dressing, bathing, grooming, toileting, dining and medication supervision. They encourage mental and social stimulation through similar activities as in independent living. There is a doctor on staff and transportation to medical appointments is included. The amount of assistance is dependent on how much the individual needs and rates are based on how much personal care the parent will require. An assessment of needed assistance is performed before your parent is accepted and periodically thereafter.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Facilities
When parents memory, thinking and behavior degenerate so that they are unable to take care of themselves, this type of facility is recommended. People with Dementia and Alzheimer’s have confusion, anger and mood swings. Their language begins to breakdown and they have long-term memory loss. Residents will live in semi-private or private apartments and have structured activities delivered by staff members trained in Alzheimer’s and Dementia care. These structured activities are developed to improve cognition and to lessen their anxiety. Most of these living environments have secured areas to prevent wandering, a common symptom of the disease. Often, residents have access to outdoor walking paths or gardens which are within secured areas. You can usually find Alzheimer’s and Dementia facilities coupled with Independent and Assisted Living facilities as it is considered a progressive level of care as we age.