Elderly people start to experience a decline in their ability to care for themselves and become more reliant on their adult children. Initially, they may find it difficult to drive a car anymore, or they tire too quickly to manage a grocery run. It is when these Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) start to become problematic, such as not being able to cook a meal or do the housework, that the question of assisted care comes into play.
These seniors still retain a good deal of independence to manage Activities of Daily Living (ADL), such as being able to dress and bathe themselves. With the further deterioration of functionality, seniors need help with the ADL too. At this point, they would be transferred from assisted living to skilled nursing care.
However, many seniors refuse to leave their homes. If they have adult children who live nearby or are willing to move in or take them in, these seniors can avoid assisted living. Where this is not feasible, home-based care can be arranged. While a lot of elderly people balk at the suggestion of assisted living, what are its advantages and disadvantages?
Advantage: Assistance with ADL and IADL
Seniors often prefer to have someone they are not related to handling the more intimate aspects of their care, although they are happy for their adult children to do their shopping, manage their budgets, etc. Assisted living helps seniors to maintain their dignity. Home-based care has the same advantage.
Advantage: Progressive Levels of Care
Facilities that offer different levels of care, such as assisted living Wildwood, usually also provide skilled nursing and memory care. Many seniors undergo mental deterioration as a result of dementia and will benefit from the latter. A senior who starts with assisted living will be transitioned to the next level of care when it becomes necessary.
Advantage: Retaining Independence
Freed from the need to prepare meals and manage housekeeping, seniors in assisted living facilities feel that they retain their independence. They may have to adhere to set meal times and rules, but they can choose how they want to spend their time. Seniors feel relieved that they are not a burden on their children.
In the United States, a single room in assisted care has an average cost of $4,500 per month. Usually, seniors have to dip into all their savings and retirement accounts to pay for these services. Some seniors sell their homes to afford assisted care.
Disadvantage: A Lack of Privacy
Assisted living has multiple communal areas, such as tables and chairs, benches in the garden, and reading areas. For a senior who is used to living alone, outside of family and friends visiting, this can be overwhelming. Even inside their rooms, other residents looking for company can disrupt an afternoon nap, and staff members can enter to check up on seniors.
Disadvantage: Lack of Acceptable Levels of Health and Medical Care
Assisted living provides help with daily tasks but seldom caters to medical conditions. Only once residents enter the skilled nursing part of the facilities, do they have qualified professional nurses looking after them. Even the latter still have to see their regular doctors for prescription medications and checkups.
Seniors who require assistance with ADL and IADL should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of assisted living before deciding on their futures.