The Helping Hand of Assisted Living
By Jean Donahue
I was in college, we were "spoiled." Someone cooked our meals
and did the dishes - all we had to do was sit down and eat. Someone
cleaned our room and gave us clean sheets. Life was good as I enjoyed the
social life and the freedom it afforded me. This is the kind of situation
many of our elderly need when they reach the point they can’t do things
adequately for themselves. They aren’t yet ready for a nursing home, but
they need help so they can enjoy life longer and safer.
of our elderly have been able to afford help around the house on a daily,
weekly or monthly basis for years. Others have done it all themselves, or
with the help of heir caregiving children or spouse. Either way, they were
not feeding an actual physical need. Now they face the need for help
rather than it being a choice. They want to maintain their independence
and social interaction, but they need help. They simply are not able to
live alone and take care of themselves adequately. That’s where assisted
living comes in – but just exactly what is assisted living and what
should you know about these facilities?
living facilities bridge the gap between the independent living your loved
one has enjoyed for years and a nursing home which is really the opposite
extreme of independence. Assisted living can provide a greater quality of
life than often comes from living alone at home. They provide meals in a
group dining room, transportation and activities within the facility.
Residents become friends and get together in their rooms or apartments to
play cards, knit, watch football together or other social activities.
a nutshell, assisted living facilities make it possible for your loved one
to have an active social life while taking over some of the things that
become so difficult for the elderly. I know of a couple people that
didn’t want to leave their homes, but once they moved into an assisted
facility and were settled, they were much happier than they were at home.
They enjoyed the interaction with other people that they didn’t get at
home and they felt safer.
you decide your loved one needs living assistance, go to their doctor with
them and discuss their situation. The doctor knows their health and what
the future looks like for them. He might have some excellent suggestions.
The decision isn’t his, though. It is yours and your loved one, and you
need as much information as possible.
into assisted living facilities in the area your loved one lives in.
It’s important for them to continue visiting with the friends they have
had for years, so try to avoid moving them to another city. Locating to a
different area can be very traumatic and cause more problems.
you have located several assisted living facilities, start evaluating
them. There are some you might be able to eliminate because of reputation,
cost or other reasons. (Assisted living facilities are generally paid for
by the individual rather than Medicare, but some long-term insurance plans
will help.) Visit the facilities you are considering with your loved one.
It’s important to make sure your loved one is involved in the selection.
After all, it is their future life and happiness you are dealing with.
you have a few facilities selected it’s time to gather more specific
What are the charges for living there?
you have these answers, visit the facility at various times of the day and
week. Eat there with your loved one. Is the food good? Do the residents
appear happy and interact with each other? Talk to some of them and ask if
they like it there. Is the help happy and do they interact with the
older and needing help is very frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be
the end of a good life. Assisted living facilities have proven to be one
way to extend the happiness your loved one can experience.