Assisted Living Definition: What Does Assisted Living Really Mean?

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Losing their independence is something that almost every senior fears, yet a large majority of those over the age of 85 admit that they need assistance with activities of daily living. This is exactly what the assisted living definition describes, the ability to live independently while still getting help with tasks that have become difficult.

Assisted Living and Independence

Independence and assisted living are often misunderstood or misinterpreted when it comes to the elderly. This may be because independent living communities serve the social needs of older residents while assisted living communities provide services and assistance with everyday activities, yet allow the older person to live as independently as possible.

There are a few key differences that may answer the question “What does assisted living really mean?” In most cases, the assisted living definition offers assistance with things like housekeeping, medication assistance, food preparation and other daily tasks. Your older loved one may also receive daily personal care, such as assistance with toileting, bathing or grooming.

What Does Being Independent Mean When Aging?

Independence is something we begin craving as soon as we learn to talk. Even toddlers realize that they want to think for themselves and do things on their own without help from their parents. As we age, we continue to crave that independence. We want to make our own decisions, handle our own affairs and do things without the assistance of others. Unfortunately, as we age, mobility and health may deteriorate, requiring us to depend on others to perform daily tasks. Although we may need help with these tasks, it is still possible to have both assisted living and independence.

Most assisted living services encourage seniors to make their own choices while providing them with the information they need to make informed decisions and choose healthy options. Assisted living agencies will provide assistance at the level your loved one needs, allowing them to perform some tasks on their own before stepping in. All of these factors can help an older person feel as if they are still living independently but give you the peace of mind to know they are safe and protected.

The Importance of Independence for Seniors

We spend most of our lives either being taught how to be independent or teaching someone else how to be independent. There is a strong sense of accomplishment when you do things for yourself. That is why it is so important for seniors to continue completing tasks that they can without assistance. It may be the last thing they feel they can control, but it also provides them with a sense of achievement.

Although we often think of an assisted living definition as moving a loved one into a special facility, that may not be necessary. If your loved one seems to need help due to physical or mental limitations that are not uncommon as we age, then one way to maintain independence is through home health care. With home health care, your loved one is able to remain in their own home but will receive help with some of the things that have grown difficult.

Each individual ages differently and your loved one may simply need a little help a few times a week or they may need someone to provide them with help each day, yet they are still able to live on their own.

What Does Assisted Living Really Mean to Seniors?

Losing independence can be devastating to an older person. For most, they have created a life that they built on their own, whether through a career, raising a family or both. Some seniors may begin to struggle financially, especially if a spouse dies and they lose that portion of their income. Others may struggle because they have mobility or health issues. Assisted living includes helping seniors manage tasks, but it also provides the following benefits:

  • Retains the older person’s individuality as they can continue to express themselves and continue living under their own personality and belief system
  • Reduces the risk of depression, anger or destructive behavior
  • Maintain balance and strength as remaining active encourages older people to live a healthier life
  • Gives your older loved one a sense of purpose
  • Reduces feelings of hopelessness and limited quality of life
  • Improved memory skills due to continued activity, both mentally and physically
  • Sense of control over their own lives

Assisted Independence

Assisted living services at home include having a caregiver come in to help with things such as grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, organizing medication or assisting with bill payment. If your loved one is able to remain in their home and just needs some assistance with daily tasks, assisted living services are available to provide that help. For some, this is not a convenient option. Understanding the assisted living definition and what assisted living can really mean for your family and your loved one can make a huge difference in everyone’s life.

However, it is possible that it is no longer safe for your loved one to live alone. For instance, if they live in a two-story home with a bathroom only on the second floor, getting up and down the steps may become impossible. If they are suffering from cognitive issues, such as memory loss, it may not be safe for them to cook their own meals. An older person may lose the ability to drive which also isolates them significantly.

When this occurs, you may want to consider an assisted living community.

The Goal of Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living provides community as well as care for older adults. The communities have private apartments that allow the seniors to live independently, but also offer assistance with activities of daily living.

Your loved one can receive medication management, nursing service, health monitoring and more, usually managed by a personalized service plan that is designed specifically for their needs.

The goal of assisted living communities is to allow your older loved one to live as independently as possible while also offering services designed to help them when they need it. There is restaurant-style dining as well as social activities to keep your loved one active and engaged.

Often, assisted living communities are like towns in themselves, offering beauty or barber services, communal gardens, fitness centers, pools or spas, chapels, art studios and more.

The goal of assisted living communities? Empowering and promoting the independence of our loved ones through signature programs and activities individualized to meet their needs.

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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

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    NOTE: Your privacy is important to us. We’ll never share your details nor spam your inbox.

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