If we’re fortunate enough to live a long life, we may reach a point where additional assistance is needed with our basic activities of daily living (ADLs). While few of us like to give up any of our independence, sometimes health and safety issues intercede that require us to consider additional support for our continued well-being. The cause could be an injury, illness, memory impairment or just the passage of time and the effects of lifelong wear-and-tear on our bodies.
Today, an increasing number of older Americans and their families are discovering that assisted living communities offer the ideal blend of personal independence with just the right amount of help needed to continue living an active, fulfilling lifestyle. In fact, assisted living is the most preferred and fastest growing long-term care and lifestyle option for senior adults today.
Assisted Living Makes Life Easier and Helps You Remain Independent
The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), describes residential assisted living as a lifestyle care option that combines housing, support services and health care, as needed, to support an individual’s continued independence. Assisted living is designed for individuals who require assistance with ADLs. These usually include meals, medication management or assistance, bathing, dressing and transportation.
Some individuals may have memory disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, or they may need help with mobility, incontinence or other challenges. Residents of assisted living communities are assessed upon move-in, or anytime there is a change in their condition. These personalized assessments are then used to develop customized service plans that are unique to each individual resident.
Tips to Help You Choose the Assisted Living Community That’s Best for You
Today, many families are in the process of deciding which assisted living community is best for a spouse, parent, in-law or other loved one. Because each assisted living community is unique, ALFA strongly recommends that you make several visits at various times of the day to the communities you are considering. Additionally, before starting your search, conduct a thorough evaluation of available finances and be prepared to ask specific questions about all costs. Monthly rates and fee structures can vary widely.
ALFA also suggests that when you make your visits, you should be sure to ask for copies of the communities printed literature. One important document that you should always request is the Residency Agreement that reviews services, fees, additional charges, moving criteria, staffing, rules and operating policies.
For support services and safety features, be sure to ask each provider how it can accommodate your loved one’s current needs as well as any changes in their needs that might occur over time.
Jenny Salvador, Executive Director of Provident Village at Creekside, advises “If you are assessing assisted living options for a parent or loved one who is unable to visit the communities in person, be sure to include them in the process as much as possible and respect their needs and wishes. Experience has shown that involving them directly will result in greater satisfaction for everyone involved.”
The ALFA Assisted Living Community Evaluation Checklist Is a Useful Guide
As you visit various communities during your search, there are several important characteristics you should consider for each. The Assisted Living Community Evaluation Checklist from ALFA is a downloadable guide that provides a comprehensive list of factors to consider with sample questions under each.
Key “Areas of Evaluation” include:
- Environment and Ambiance – Consider the location as well as the interior and exterior appearance and the overall ambiance. Is it a cheerful place?
- Physical Features of the Assisted Living Community – Is the community well designed, purpose built and user friendly?
- Needs Assessments, Residency Agreements, Assisted Living Costs and Finances – Are all financial and legal documents available and clear, and is there a formal process for assessing your needs and creating a personalized plan of care?
- Medication and Health Care – Does the community have specific policies regarding storage of medication, assistance with medications, training and supervision of staff and record keeping? Is there a formal policy for dealing with emergencies and are ancillary services available to residents?
- Services and Amenities – What services and special amenities are provided, such as 24-hour assistance, housekeeping, transportation and beautician services?
- Apartment Features – Are different sizes and types of apartments available and can residents bring their own furniture?
- Social and Recreational Activities – Are there regular organized activities for the residents’ socialization, wellness, enjoyment and recreation?
- Food Service and Nutrition – Does the community provide three nutritionally balanced meals a day, seven days a week and are snacks available to residents? Can any special dietary needs be accommodated?
- Additional Questions – Does the community conduct criminal background checks on employees? Does the community train staff about elder abuse and neglect? Is there a separate, secure area for those with memory impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease?
Leading assisted living communities such as Provident Village at Creekside address these areas butalso focuson creating active, enriching lifestyles for residents.
Ms. Salvador adds, “In addition to our personalized wellness programs, exceptional dining experience and 24/7 supportive services, we recognize that socialization is also key to happiness. With a wide array of programs from gardening to sing-alongs to bridge clubs, from painting and computer classes to outdoor walking clubs to spiritual study groups, the opportunities to be social and discover new joys are virtually endless at Provident Village.”
Live Vibrantly! at Provident Village at Creekside
At Provident Village at Creekside, we believe vibrant days ensure bright tomorrows, so we’ve created a community where seniors, quite simply, Live Vibrantly! Whether it’s in our Assisted Living Community or Memory Care Neighborhood, each day we celebrate the individuality and strengths of each resident.
At Provident Village, to Live Vibrantly! means that days are filled with joy, vitality, growth and security. It means residents are socially active and personally empowered, with access to the personalized care and support they need to live fully. It means residing in a community where intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual and physical care are seamlessly integrated into everyday life.
Our compassionate Care Partners dedicate each day to enriching the lives of our residents. They customize the level of attention and activities to each resident’s specific needs and abilities. Our living environments are warm and inviting, with comfortable furnishings, beautiful fixtures and natural elements that bring the outdoors inside.