Rather than being confined to a nursing home, as so frequently happened in the past, the new generation of assisted living residence is usually a bright and cheery place in which the residents personalize their environment. Different types of activities abound with most of them specialized for seniors. Assisted living offers the opportunity to lead as active a life as possible, while having one’s daily needs taken care of.
The Difference Between Conventional Nursing Homes and Assisted Living
Conventional nursing homes have a hierarchal approach to decision making and value order over a sense of community. Assisted living residences focus on the needs of the residents, rather than those of the organization.
Assisted living residents also have much lower levels of staff turnover. In this situation, a resident is much more likely to interact with the same staff members consistently. This can be crucial in identifying a resident’s preferences, and changes in health so that ideal care can always be provided.
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Today’s assisted living communities are proactive in addressing the health care needs of their residents. Having staff with a close personal relationship with residents can help to identify subtle changes, resulting in early detection and better overall health care.
Wellness and exercise programs act to keep residents as healthy as possible, rather than treating illness after the fact, as is often the case in conventional nursing homes. Residents are free to be out and about, either going to events or walking the grounds or surrounding neighborhoods.
Spacious, Comfortable Rooms Where Privacy is Respected
Assisted living residences offer necessary care while allowing residents to maintain the dignity that comes with privacy and independence. Today’s assisted living residences look and feel much more like the homes they are meant to be. Even necessary fixtures like handrails are often made of attractive wood. Private rooms, or even apartments, are the norm. Residents are usually encouraged to bring their own furniture and belongings, so that they can enjoy the comforts and familiarity of home.
Cognitive and Physical Stimulation
In contrast to the isolation that can occur when seniors are left in their own homes, assisted living offers a variety of activities to stimulate cognitive function and social engagement. Simply being around other seniors can reduce the likelihood of depression, which itself can cause significant cognitive decline. In addition to social contacts, the use of word games and other mentally stimulating activities can help to prevent cognitive decline.
Assisted living staff members help residents to use as many muscles as possible. Physical stimulation helps maintain muscle tone and function, so that residents remain as capable and independent as possible. Consistent exercise can also help prevent falls by improving balance and coordination.
Meeting the Demand of a more Discriminating Consumer
As befits the current generation of seniors, who are living longer than ever before, today’s assisted living residences are geared towards active seniors who wish to remain as independent as possible.
Many of the residents of assisted living communities are quite healthy and only require minor assistance with the activities of daily life. In fact, in a 2011 study by the Center for Retirement research at Boston College, over half of the residents who chose such a living arrangement reported themselves as being in good to excellent health.