The needs of seniors in assisted living residences can vary dramatically. Many seniors need only minor help such as having their medication administered, others need help with some of the basic aspects of daily life, while others, still, need constant supervision and medical attention. Those 85 years or older have a much higher rate of limitation of activities than younger seniors, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Regardless of age, prospective residents will be evaluated on a number of aspects of daily living before they enter an assisted living residence. The assessment will determine their ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). Such activities include bathing, walking and being able to move from a bed to a wheelchair, eating, going to the toilet, selecting appropriate clothes, getting dressed, and grooming.
The number of ADLs a prospective resident can perform will help the medical director tailor the care that is provided, allowing residents to enjoy as much independence as possible. Assisted living residences are generally open to new residents with all types of needs. Beyond basic challenges with activities of daily living, assisted living residences are often home to seniors with more advanced care needs:
Incontinence can be a side effect of many types of medications. When a person is living alone, they may forget to go to the bathroom frequently, or may simply have difficulty doing so on their own. This can lead to persistent accidents that require the use of incontinent products.
In contrast, seniors who live in an assisted living residence can be reminded to use the bathroom throughout the day and right before bed, and will be provided the assistance they need. This can help avoid the need for incontinence products, and protect the dignity of the resident.
Wheel Chair Bound
Often seniors are confined to a wheelchair, but can otherwise take care of most of their daily living needs. Other individuals require assistance getting in and out of their wheelchair. Staff members are trained to gently help residents perform this task so residents can enjoy maximum independence.
Early Stage Dementia
Assisted living residences often offer specialized memory care programs for seniors who are suffering from such early stage Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. In fact, according to a federal study described by the National Center for Assisted Living, 42% of the residents in assisted living facilities in 2010 were found to be suffering from some form of memory issue.
Residents with memory issues who receive care from the same caring staff members trained in the concepts of person-centered care almost always show improvements in behavioral symptoms. This can mean a decreased level of aggression, as the person feels safer and less anxious in a more controlled environment.