By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions
With assisted living communities celebrating National Assisted Living Week from Sept. 11 through 17 this year, I wanted to share five of the benefits of assisted living.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Joyful Moments.”
What I so often hear from residents of the assisted living communities that we manage is that they are so happy they made the move. Many ponder what took them so long to make the decision to move. They cite the ways assisted living has had a positive impact on their lives.
The joy I hear from residents stands in stark contrast to all of the research that shows older adults do not want to move from the place they currently are living.
One of the biggest differences is that the research encompasses the opinions of all older adults, many of whom currently do not have any need for assistance. Respondents are projecting their opinion of how they think they are likely to feel sometime down the road if and when a need should develop.
Assisted living can be a wonderful option for older adults and for adults with disabilities who need some assistance to maintain their independence.
Here are five of the benefits:
Residents of the assisted living communities Gardant operates live in private apartments that they can furnish and decorate to their taste. The apartments feature a kitchenette; spacious bathroom, with raised toilet, shower, and grab bars; individually controlled heat and air conditioning; and emergency alert system. There also are plenty of community areas for residents to use.
Both the apartments and community areas are designed around the needs of older adults and adults with disabilities, including the type of flooring and the furniture.
Residents are able to come and go as they please.
Personal assistance, help with medications, and support services such as three meals a day plus snacks, housekeeping and laundry services are available.
Staff is on-duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist with a resident’s scheduled and unscheduled needs.
Wellness programs such as exercise classes, walking clubs, and programs designed to evaluate and improve balance are available.
What we see so often is improvement in the health of residents as they are taking their medications as they should, they are getting the nutrition they need; and there is improvement in their ability to ambulate.
Research shows that social connectivity is one of the key elements to healthy aging. Residents living in the communities Gardant operates benefit from all of the opportunities that are available to socialize with family, friends, and neighbors. Family and friends can visit anytime. Residents can visit with neighbors in their apartment or a community area. When the weather is nasty, they don’t have to go outside or drive anywhere to socialize.
Residents also benefit from all of the opportunities available to participate in social, recreational, educational, and wellness activities.
At the same, residents have the opportunity for privacy in their apartment.
Enhanced Continuity of Care
The nursing staff at the communities Gardant manages conducts assessment of residents and develops individualized service plans.
They are able to review the medications a resident is taking and monitor their reaction to the medications. They can advise residents about talking with their physician about adjusting medications as appropriate.
They can remind residents of their appointments with health care providers. They can either help arrange or provide transportation and provide residents with a list of medications to take with them. Many of the communities have a physician who can see residents at the community if a resident so chooses.
Assisted living is much less expensive than nursing home care and can be as or less expensive than home health care when you add in all of the other costs associated with living in one’s current place of residence. A home health aide in the Chicago area providing four hours of help five days a week can cost nearly $2,775 a month.
Illinois and Indiana have programs that make living in many of the Gardant-managed assisted living communities affordable to individuals of virtually all incomes, including those on or who would qualify for a Medicaid-waiver for assisted living. (NOTE: In Illinois, the communities that can serve individuals on a Medicaid-waiver for assisted living are certified as Supportive Living communities).
To see a list of Gardant-managed communities, click here.