Do you avoid using your basement steps or attic steps because you fear you’ll trip or fall? Does the arthritic pain in your legs prevent you from getting into the bathtub? Are you losing weight because you no longer have the energy to prepare your own meals? Are you finding it difficult to make the needed repairs on your home?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be at a point in your life when you need to start considering an alternative living arrangement. And the operative word here is living! Remember the theme song to the TV show Cheers? “You want to go where everybody knows your name.” Aren’t you ready to take a break from all your worries?
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Assisted living may be the answer for you. It provides older adults with trained caregivers who help them with daily chores such as bathing, grooming, putting on clothes, preparing meals, laundry, and housekeeping. And the settings vary from high rise apartment complexes to college dormitory-style to one-story residences.
And no, this is not your grandma’s nursing home. Residents are not all patients. They are independent and mobile, for the most part. However, there are nurses or nurse practitioners on-site or in close proximity to the complex. Many facilities are close to hospitals and medical complexes.
As described by a well-known Gainesville assisted living facility, “We’ve created our assisted living environments and services with all of the details that have been clinically proven to produce positive outcomes in the health and lives of seniors.”
Assistant living facilities are increasing in number to keep up with the growing population of older adults who are living longer due to their healthy lifestyles and access to good medical services. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging, 39.6 million people in 2009 were over 65 years old, and made up 12 percent of the U.S. population. The agency predicts that people over 65 will become 19 percent of the population by 2030.
And they’re always glad you came
Besides one-on-one care giving, assistant living residences also offer communal activities, such as “movie nights,” “game nights,” musical concerts, exercise classes, day trips, and specialized services for seniors. These activities are designed for residents to have social interaction, stay active, and be mentally stimulated. Transportation to grocery stores, medical, and other personal appointments is available for those who cannot drive or do not have their own personal vehicles.
Our troubles are all the same
Fellow residents know the same songs, enjoy the same old classic movies, and don’t get bored at the thought of playing board games. You won’t have to explain who Dwight D. Eisenhower, Clark Gable, or Chubby Checker were. Common interests, common goals, and yes, even common problems bind everyone into a cohesive, supportive community.
As for the costs, well that depends on a variety of factors including the size of the complex, the type of care provided, and amenities offered. Do a little research by phone and online; ask for recommendations from your local agency on aging or other senior agencies; and talk directly to people who live in these facilities to determine which one will best meet your needs.
You do not have to continue struggling to take care of yourself or your spouse. Consider assisted living and get the help you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. And enjoy living where everybody knows your name.