Factors to Take Into Account When Looking
for a Senior Living Community
Aging is a part of life. The later stages of a person’s life can be some of the most challenging. Our societal structure has changed – we no longer stay with our relatives as we age or as they do. The pressures of modern life and the advanced age people now live to have made the multigenerational household arrangement far less common in the West.
Instead, modern societal norms stress the need for independence into your old age. Complete independence, however, is not always possible. Physical and mental health naturally become less stable during the last few years of life. Some elders require some assistance during the course of their day-to-day lives. Senior living homes have sprung up all over the United States. There are around 28,900 senior living communities currently licensed in the USA. They offer a place to live that is specially tailored towards elders’ needs. These senior living communities do, however, vary massively in quality. Before looking into the options available to you or your loved one, you’ll need to do some thorough research to make sure you are well prepared to choose a good community.
Senior Living Communities
According to Brightview Senior Living in Baltimore, some senior living communities you’re considering may have a waitlist, so it’s important to start researching your options as soon as you think you might be ready. Remember: researching your options does not mean you have to commit to anything.
You should start your research by considering a few factors. Here are some of the most important tell-tale elements you should assess in any potential future assisted living community.
Staff Per Resident
One of the most important factors to consider when looking into potential senior living communities is the ratio of staff to residents. The more staff there are per resident, the better the quality of care is likely to be. If a residential community only has a few staff, those staff are likely to be highly stressed and overworked. A stressful environment is the exact opposite of what you want in later life. Always ensure that there are adequate numbers of staff on call at any given time.
Varied and Inspiring Activities
Almost all senior living residences have programs of activities that residents can take part in. Some communities offer far, far more than others. The best communities don’t just run bingo and gaming nights: they facilitate interesting talks, book clubs, film nights, and dances. Some homes have started showing TED talks to residents as a way of stimulating fascination and deep thought. Some retirement communities are organized upon religious lines, and many of the activities at those communities are focused on helping residents feel spiritually fulfilled.
Good medical facilities are essential at an assisted living community. An unfortunate fact of later life is that illnesses and injuries can be very serious. The best assisted living communities will be able to provide medical care without the need to transfer a resident to a hospital. On-site nurses and doctors can make the often-scary experience of failing health feel a bit less stressful.
Privacy and Social Space
A good balance between privacy and social space should be available in an assisted living environment. Nobody wants to be completely alone or crowded out all of the time. Of course, each person has completely unique preferences when it comes to socializing and preferred levels of privacy. Some people are keen to spend time alone writing, reading, and relaxing in the comfort of a private room. Others prefer communal space and the opportunity for friendships to blossom. Consider your own preferences and desires or those of the family member you are helping to look at residencies for.
Some elders prefer to join communities of like-minded peers. This can help ease a person into a new society within a senior living community. Some labor unions have historically set up senior living communities for their members – who often shared interests and deep friendships. Unfortunately, this practice is no longer very common.
Contact with Family and Friends
Some assisted living communities can feel very isolating for residents, who are often inhibited by deteriorating mental health. Having regular contact with family and friends is incredibly important. During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the ability of senior living communities to provide opportunities for visits has been severely curtailed. A good senior living community will have developed workarounds so that regular contact can still be made. Many of the best residencies have used technology to help keep family members and friends in touch with residents. Indeed, the use of video calls and technology-assisted communication has been encouraged by the largest American elder advocacy group – the AARP. A well-staffed and equipped community will be able to offer assisted video conferencing to their residents. Talking face to face with a loved one regularly can make a huge difference to somebody’s day if they are feeling isolated.
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