Why Assisted Living is a Gift

Why Assisted Living is a Gift

Years ago when an elder faced declining health there were typically two options, either they moved in with one of their children to get the care they needed, or they went to a nursing home. In those days, the nursing home was known as the “old folks” home. It wasn’t just a place that someone rehabbed like today, but rather they lived there… for years in many cases.

The world has changed and so has care for older adults. Today, the typical stay for someone in a nursing home is counted more in days or months, not years. So why has it changed so much?

Assisted Living.

Families today often have two full time wage earners. So caring for a parent on a daily basis isn’t always realistic. On one hand I hear many adult children express self-reproach that they can’t do it all, yet when the discussion about assisted living comes up, they are saddled with guilt that their parent doesn’t want to leave their home or it’s their responsibility to care for their parent.

I’m often asked why people wait so long to make the move to assisted living. That move is often preceded by months, sometimes years, of declining health, of the parent’s world narrowing and their social life evaporating. Yet many families are determined to allow their parent to stay at home because that’s what they want.

A few days ago I was talking with a professional associate of mine 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.

She said:

"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. 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, do some research, 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. No sales pitch, no obligations, simply a seasoned professional who can guide you to the information you need. It’s our privilege to serve you.