When it comes to senior housing, there are a surprising number of options available to seniors. While discussions tend to range between assisted living, senior communities and nursing homes, a significant debate exists on the issue of independent living.
Independent living is pretty much what it sounds like. A person lives independently in their home or in an apartment within a community. The residence, however, is modified to provide assistance for the person with certain daily tasks that may seem small but can make a major difference in their standard of living and the safety factor therein.
So, what type of assistance are we talking about here?
The first is very simple. Independent living often comes with meal options wherein the person in question is provided with two meals a day. This may sound simple, but preparing meals can take a lot of time and require trips to the grocery store and so on. Being relieved of the burden can make a big difference to many seniors.
The second area of help is found in the more practical. The biggest concern for many seniors is a falling accident. Falling can result in broken bones, pain, and death. The placement of grab bars throughout the living area is one way to deal with this issue. This is particularly true in the key fall area of the bathroom. Placing grab bars in the shower and just outside of the shower is a critical step. Many seniors grab the sliding door as a means of getting in and out of the shower. The door moves and fall occurs. Grab bars give the person a more stable means for moving about.
Storage space is the second issue. Many of us put store clothes and what have you in every nook and cranny of closets. Okay, let’s be honest. We cram stuff up onto shelves we can’t reach half the time on the best of days. For seniors, this is more so a problem. If you are setting up an independent living environment, moving shelves and stored items at a lower level makes sense.
The ability to communicate with the outside world, particularly in an emergency, is also a critical issue. The simplest way to deal with this is to place a phone in every room. If a situation arises that requires a 911 call or what have you, the ability to reach out and grab a phone can make the difference between immediate help and a major tragedy.
Independent living communities can be a positive first step for seniors who cannot or no longer wish to live alone. As our parents or loved one’s ages, it is imperative to make their lifestyle changes as easy as possible. Many people have found that independent senior communities can be very beneficial for their loved ones, particularly if the transition is seamless. These communities provide facilities and nice amenities perfectly suited to seniors.
Sometimes seniors may have negative feelings toward moving into a senior living community. Many feel like they are giving up their home, their life, and their independence. However, independent living facilities may be ideal because they can still provide a decent level of independence in a comfortable, safe atmosphere. Reputable facilities will do whatever it takes to make everyone involved comfortable. How do you know if your loved one is ready to make this transition? How can you encourage them to make this step? Here are a few benefits to independent living centers that may help in making that decision:
Maintain a Social Calendar
A major advantage to senior communities is the amount of social interaction they provide. Most facilities offer many activities for their tenants, allowing people to get together and interact with one another. It is vitally important for seniors to maintain an active, social lifestyle as much as possible. Social activities can ward off any feelings of depression and can keep their minds sharp and active. Additionally, many centers offer social outings to events off-site, like concerts or plays.
Living with Less Stress
Independent living centers can offer a very low-stress environment for seniors and their families. Families do not have to wonder about the safety of their loved one since most facilities have very strict security measures in place. Any accidents that may occur in individual residences, such as falls or other injuries, will be quickly met with immediate medical assistance. Most facilities have a plethora of activities available, all of which are very relaxing and stress-free. Overall, anything that needs to be taken care of with regard to the tenant is typically handled by the facility, leaving both the tenants and their families with few details to worry about.
Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
Some facilities include fitness centers, as well as dietitians and fitness trainers on staff. They may even include a swimming pool for exercise and for leisure. Most fitness activities include low impact exercise, yoga, water aerobics, and walking.
When our loved ones reach a certain age, some hard decisions will need to be made. However, these decisions do not have to be completely negative. It is important to discuss everything thoroughly with your loved one and explain all of the options available to them. If their mind is still sharp and their bodies are quite active, independent living may be a positive step in the right direction.
At the end of the day, independent living is controversial as a senior housing option. Some seniors are independent enough to have no problems while others really need more help and run serious safety risks by not moving to an assisted living facility or other care solution. The dividing line is often difficult to distinguish. If independent living is the choice, taking the steps to make a home safe is key.