Assisted living offers seniors medical and personal care in a homey environment, while allowing them to remain independent. If you or your elderly loved one is planning a move to an assisted living residence, there is much to be considered, other than evaluating costs or inquiring about activities. For instance, two aspects that are often overlooked are the benefits of a shared occupancy, as well as the care of one's pet. To make this transition easier and to gain the most out of this new experience, consider the following often-overlooked aspects of assisted living communities:
1. The Advantages of Co-Housing
Although some individuals may prefer a private setting, having a housemate in an assisted living residence has certain advantages not to be overlooked. For one thing, living with a housemate could be a good plan for the budget-conscious. Most private apartments in an assisted living community are more costly than a double-occupancy apartment. Therefore, sharing expenses may cut the cost of assisted living considerably.
Also, if loneliness and depression is a concern, having a roommate might be a sensible solution. Seniors who share their living space with another are often more socialized and feel less isolated. Having someone there to talk to may make the individual less likely to become depressed as well. When choosing a housemate, it is a good idea to select one who is already familiar with the community, so he or she may help you (or your loved one) ease into the transition easily. It's also a comforting thought to know a roommate is always there to notice subtle health changes or patterns that may not be noticed immediately by the assisted living staff.
2. Pet-Coordinated Assistance for Furry Friends (and Pet Therapy Programs, Too!)
Although an assisted living facility may accept pets, some elderly residents may need assistance in caring for their furry friends. This is especially true for a senior who has previously shared the responsibilities of pet care with other household members. Rather than choosing not to take a cherished pet along to the new assisted living residence, consider a pet care option.
Many assisted living programs offer Pet Coordinators who can help. In addition to providing the senior with personal care, assisted living communities that offer Pet Coordinators will attend to a pet's needs as well. This may include daily walks, feeding, grooming, scheduling vet appointments and interacting with the pet. Be sure to inquire about pet policies, as there may be some restrictions involved.
For seniors who do not own pets but would love regular interaction with them, consider a community that integrates pet therapy programs. Some communities have pets residing on-site for the residents to bond with, including dogs, cats, fish and miniature horses. The interaction between seniors in assisting living communities and pets of any kind can be highly beneficial as well as a great stress-reliever.
3. A Religion-Based Community to Help One Keep the Faith
If you or your senior loved one practices a particular religion, you might want to consider a move to a religion-based community. Helping to keep the faith (and preserve one's identity) is an important aspect for many when choosing a suitable community. And these days, it's become a growing trend for assisted living communities to emphasize religious senior care.
The differentiating factor in a religion-based versus a non-religion-based facility are staff members who are knowledgeable in that particular faith. They often share faith-based activities with the residents, such as a bible study program or incorporating prayer into the daily routine. Some facilities offer celebrations of religious traditions and pastoral visits as well.
Although all of the above mentioned aspects are not commonly contemplated, they may be worth considering when choosing an assisted living facility.