Simply put, growing old is a part of life. If you’re looking out for your parents’ health and well-being, you’re reading the right piece. This stage in their life usually means time for a change of living, and there are choices coming from every direction. If you or your loved one has decent health, independent living can be a great option. Independent living is for seniors who need some help with everyday tasks. It’s a great choice for someone who doesn’t need around-the-clock care, but would benefit from having certain conveniences. During assisted living, you can expect a variety of services. This can mean anything from dressing help, to bathing assistance, to walking help. You can often get more services – like cooking, laundry, etc. for an additional charge. It’s important to understand that once an elder loses their ability to perform basic tasks, they will no longer be allowed to stay at an assisted living community.
Most elders won’t want to give up the freedom they have when living alone. It’s important to choose a place that will have the right balance between what you know is best for your parent, and what they think they need. Looks past some of the jazz that places offer, and save that until you find a place that offers the right assistance. The process resembles a college tour – look around at how people are interacting. Do people seem happy? How is food served? How are emergencies handled? Once you have a few places in mind that suit your needs, look into the added amenities. And once you’ve found a place, remember to stay calm and help where needed through the whole process. Don’t strip your parents’ independence away during the move.
Once settled in, one of the most important things elders can do is keep an active social group. It will keep their mind fresh, more alert, and happier. Usually, seniors can find groups who play the usual games (yes, bingo) but it’s important to branch out into different activities if possible. This can mean taking day trips, volunteering, and continuing to learn new things, like art. Habitat for Humanity is an excellent nationwide organization that often has elders volunteering with the easier parts of home building. Making a network – even if its just a few people to be able to call and talk to, or see in person, will improve an older person’s quality of life significantly. It’ll truly come in handy in case of an emergency, as well.
It’s important to keep in contact with your parents throughout their time at an an independent living community. Make an effort to get to know their supervisors, and you’ll be much more stress-free throughout the whole process. Good luck!
Felicia Walkins is a freelance writer for Jackson Twenty-one. Connect with her on Google+.