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What Caregivers Need to Know About Assisted Living

All families want the very best for their elderly loved ones. And, while a growing number of families are making an effort to provide some senior care at home, there often comes a time when a conversation needs to be had regarding health, safety and quality of life. When senior loved ones begin to require help with the activities of daily living or need more medical care than a family member can provide, it is time to explore levels of senior care.

Assisted living care is one of the most common choices for families who need more care for their loved one than can be provided safely at home. So, what is assisted living? When is assisted living needed? And how do you find the right assisted living community?

What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities are designed for older adults who want to maintain their independence, while living in a home-like setting and having access to non-medical assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs). 

In addition to a personal apartment or room, residents in assisted living communities have access to common areas. While these areas vary between communities, it is common for assisted living residents to have shared spaces that include dining rooms, activity rooms, movie theaters, libraries, patios and walking trails. In terms of amenities, assisted living communities range from offering daily meals and activities to providing restaurant-style dining, transportation services, housekeeping and on-site entertainment options.

Most assisted living communities charge a basic monthly fee that covers the cost of rent and other amenities. It is typical for the monthly fee to include items such as:

  • Private living quarters. This can include a basic studio or a multi-room apartment.
  • Maintenance, repairs and landscaping. Assisted living services include making repairs to broken appliances, as well as taking care of the upkeep for the community and the grounds.
  • Safety and security. Many assisted living communities have emergency medical alert systems in their living quarters.
  • Daily meals. Most assisted living communities provide three meals per day, as well as snacks and drinks throughout the day.
  • Laundry and cleaning. Keeping the living areas clean and the entire community tidy is part of the services offered in assisted living.
  • Scheduled transportation. Free transportation to get residents to their doctor’s appointments, to make trips to the grocery stores and run other errands is a valued convenience offered in assisted living.
  • Outings and activities. Daily activities offered in assisted living can include cultural, religious, educational or artistic events. Guest speakers, classes and performances all give residents a chance to socialize and learn something new.
  • Fitness programs. From yoga classes to weight lifting, most assisted living communities provide a variety of ways for residents to stay physically active.
  • Support with the activities of daily living. ADLs include eating, bathing, transferring, grooming, toileting, continence and sometimes medication management.

So, when is assisted living needed? If a senior is unable to continue living independently due to difficulty bathing, dressing or performing other activities of daily living, assisted living could help that senior to remain independent and active as they continue their aging journey.

Assisted Living Questions to Ask

Making any changes to a care plan or living situation for a loved one can be emotional and challenging. To make sure that the best choices are made for both the family caregiver and the senior, it is important to know how to find the right assisted living care community.

A great way to find the right assisted living community is to visit several different facilities. When touring an assisted living center, it is helpful be on the lookout for standards of cleanliness and personal interaction. Some other things to take note of during an assisted living tour include:

  • Does the community feel like home?
  • Does the décor look intentional?
  • Does the staff seem engaged?
  • Do the residents seem happy?
  • Are the residents somewhat independent?
  • Are there social activities happening in common areas?
  • Is the food nutritious and delicious?

To maintain a high quality of life in assisted living, it is key to find a community that meets basic needs, as well as social and physical needs. During the community tour, ask as many questions as needed to gain an understanding of the culture, services and support available. Helpful questions about assisted living care include:

  • How many people reside in the community?
  • What is the ratio of caregivers to residents?
  • Do the private rooms have a kitchen and private bathroom?
  • Are pets allowed at the assisted living community?
  • Is the space in the private rooms easy to navigate?
  • Are staff members available around the clock?
  • What is the on-site security system like?
  • Are the hallways and common areas easy to navigate?
  • Are there spaces for outdoor recreation?
  • Is there a monthly events calendar? What events are available?
  • What social activities are available?
  • How is transportation scheduled for errands and medical appointments?
  • What exercise programs are available?
  • Where is the meal menu posted? Do selections vary from day to day?
  • Can the assisted living community accommodate residents who begin to require more care as time passes?
  • Can family members and friends visit? Can they stay overnight?

About River Crossing Senior Living

Located within a peaceful country setting, River Crossing Senior Living proudly provides quality assisted living care to seniors in Indiana’s Clark County area. We offer compassionate, personalized services that focus on a senior’s emotional, physical and intellectual well-being. 

During move-in, assisted living residents complete a life history survey to help the River Crossing team create an individualized service plan to fit each resident’s needs and preferences, focusing on keeping the nuisances out of the way and keeping each resident’s days filled with fun and activities. We empower residents to direct and control their daily living, while supporting and encouraging personal growth and working to help each resident achieve his or her quality-of-life goals.

Interested in learning more about River Crossing? Contact us today with any questions or concerns. Want to set up a visit to River Crossing? Call now to get it scheduled!