Aging in place may be the plan at the start of retirement, but time can change the reality of living at home. Whether keeping up the home becomes too much to manage, mobility issues present challenges, health problems occur, or just being alone is no longer safe and healthy, many seniors admit assisted living may well be the solution. To best assess the possibilities, consider these questions.
Senior living questions to ask yourself
#1 – Am I really safe at home?
One essential senior living question is, “Am I really safe at home?” The comfort and familiarity of a family home can often provide a false sense of security for seniors who may actually be sacrificing safety to live at home. Since most homes are not built for aging in place there may be considerable safety risks associated with stairs and steps, narrow halls and doorways and a variety of bathroom-related hazards.
In assisted living, however, accessibility is built in throughout the campus. For example, at The Birches our members enjoy a variety of safety features including easy accessibility to community spaces, wide halls and doorways that make it easy to come and go, and zero stairs and steps to worry about. In bathrooms we provide features like walk-in showers, grab bars, raised toilet seats, call buttons and lever door and faucet handles that make everyday life safer and easier.
#2 – Am I getting all the care I need?
When a senior chooses to live at home, caregiving often falls on the shoulders of families who may not have the resources necessary to do it right. Juggling raising a family, working, and caregiving can not only result in burnout for the caregiver, but can mean the senior receives less-than-adequate care. Thus another key senior living question to answer is, “Am I getting all the care I need?”
In our blog, “Is assisted living the best option for your loved one?,” we look at the different ways care is provided in assisted living at The Birches, from help with activities like dressing and bathing to personalized care plans to on-site rehabilitation and therapy services. Most important, however, is the fact that our members are never alone and can always get help when they need it, no matter the time of day or night.
#3 – Do I feel isolated or lonely?
One senior living question that requires real honesty is, “Do I feel isolated or lonely?” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention article, “Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions,” the problem of loneliness is fast becoming a serious public health concern for seniors who are at risk for diverse health problems including:
- • A 50% increased risk of dementia
• A 29% increased risk of heart disease
• A 32% increased risk of stroke
• Significantly increased risk of premature death
• Increased risk of depression, anxiety and suicide
- • A 50% increased risk of dementia
When answering this senior living question keep in mind that relief from isolation and loneliness is automatic in assisted living. From day one at The Birches our members become part of a welcoming community where they can forge new friendships and say goodbye to loneliness and isolation. Moreover, as the first and only Montessori Inspired Lifestyle Community in Illinois, we promote independence and autonomy with an emphasis on personal fulfillment and dignity. For a more in-depth look at our approach to senior living read our blog, “Learn about the Benefits of Montessori Methods As We Age.”
#4 - Am I getting all the nutrition I need?
Seniors have special nutritional needs due to physical changes that occur with aging. As noted in the health.gov article, “Nutrition as We Age: Healthy Eating with the Dietary Guidelines,” seniors generally require fewer calories but more protein to maintain muscle mass and stay strong and independent. Another change is the aging body’s decreased ability to absorb vitamin B12, a key nutrient for healthy blood, nerves and mental health. Other problems may include difficulties getting and preparing food, trouble chewing and/or swallowing, and medications that cause loss of appetite or interfere with nutrient absorption.
When answering the senior living question, “Am I getting all the nutrition I need?” consider that modern assisted living communities emphasize nutrition by providing three fresh and delicious chef-prepared meals every day with different menu options to please different tastes. At The Birches we also invite our members to join the Culinary Dining Committee which advises our culinary team on new menu choices.
Asking the right senior living questions is key to living a healthy and fulfilling life in retirement. See for yourself the best in assisted living and memory care: contact us today to schedule a tour of our beautiful community.