Years ago when an elder faced declining health, there were typically two options: 1) move in with one of their children to get the care they needed, or 2) went to a nursing home. How care for older adults has changed can be seen today in the typical stay for someone in a nursing home. It is counted more in days or months, not years.
So why has it changed so much? Because of assisted living care.
How care for older adults has changed
I was talking with a professional associate of mine one day who years ago had said to me that it was hard to see an independent client of hers have to move to assisted living. Now that she’s been working with seniors for many years I asked if she still holds that opinion. Her answer was enlightening:
After so many years of working with seniors I have a hard time fathoming that I ever said that. I see so many people struggling to be independent, exhausted from the effort it takes to accomplish simple things.
I’ve had clients who would spend an hour just to get dressed on their own. The physical energy let alone the frustration and emotional toll it took left them with little motivation to socialize or engage in life.”
Assisted living care
I’m often asked why people wait so long to make the move to assisted living care. That move is preceded by months, sometimes years, of declining health. Even when parent’s world is narrowing and their social life is evaporating, many families are determined to allow their parent to stay at home because that’s what they want. Here is what that same professional associate of mine had to say:
Once they were in assisted living they realized that it doesn’t take away their independence but rather enhances it. What they can do for themselves they should, but when a task becomes challenging they have support to simplify the process.
With that little extra assistance they are able to be more independent, and they reserve more of their energy for things that bring them joy. I now see assisted living as a gift.”
Seniors and their families have more options of assistance and care than ever before. If you have a loved one who is struggling in their current environment, I encourage you to ask questions and find out about the wonderful options that could return greater independence to your loved one.
If you need assistance in that process, please call our Laureate Cares resource line at 262-832-7113. It’s our privilege to serve you.