Assisted living is any housing or residence intended for individuals who need help with regular daily activities due to disability or age-related conditions. These people may not be able to live independently because of their unique circumstances, or they may simply decide that they prefer to have additional support and feel safer in assisted living. Assisted living can be referred to as a facility, a community, or a residence, but the purpose is the same. These communities have staff and resources available to support residents in their daily living needs. Common services provided include assistance with bathing, meals, dressing, housekeeping, transportation, medication scheduling and administration, socializing, and activities. They also provide 24-hour community supervision. Assisted living communities have recently become one of the most sought after long-term care options for seniors, in part because the services provided are attractive to those who need help but still want to keep a certain level of independence.

 

Senior Care Options

Most people have heard of assisted living, nursing homes, and independent living. But it’s typically not until the personal need to explore those options arises that most people begin to fully understand the differences. The main difference between assisted living and nursing homes is in the care that is provided. Nursing homes will be best suited for those with medical conditions that require round-the-clock skilled nursing care. On the opposite end of the spectrum, an independent living community generally will not provide 24-hour staff or support and is intended for individuals who can live independently but want to have a sense of community. By assessing all senior care options, you will be better equipped to begin searching for the best community for your unique situation.

 

Who Lives in Assisted Living?

Knowing when it’s time to move into an assisted living community will depend on the individual’s needs. Over a third of seniors in an assisted living community need help with three or more daily living activities. Activities in that category include any form of self-care needed on a daily basis, and they are used to gauge someone’s functional ability and care needs. From a demographic perspective, the average age of residents is 87, and 74% are female. The most common health conditions that initiate a need for assisted living are high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease. Seniors in an assisted living community have an average stay of 36 months, many of those moving on to nursing homes as their needs progress.

 

Different Types of Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities can be categorized according to the level of care that they provide. Based on state requirements for assisted living, there are two levels of care any given facility can fall under in Arkansas. Level one provides assistance with activities of daily living, offering residents reminders and general assistance with certain daily activities, but allowing full independence in others. Level two facilities provide nursing care. The facility must employ or contract with at least one RN and employ or contract with LPNs to provide nursing or direct care services to residents. 

 

Rights of Residents

Within an assisted living resident agreement, there will be procedures outlined for complaints, concerns, and grievances. This ensures that residents and their families have a means of being heard and even for making an appeal through the appropriate channel. Residents and their families should also be aware of the right to report elder neglect to outside authorities, such as the local elder abuse hotline. Outlined resident’s rights should include:

  • Treating residents with dignity and respect

  • Retaining control of personal possessions and finances

  • Right to privacy

  • Freedom to communicate

  • Freedom from neglect or abuse

  • Right to medical or health related information on services rendered

 

References:

Anderson, J. (2016, July 7). Who Really Lives at Assisted Living? Retrieved from www.assistedliving.com

 

"For the first time in several weeks, I finally slept through the night. You and all those at Peach Tree [of Holiday Island] have been so very helpful with this difficult transition for my mother. I so enjoyed meeting you Jessica and Chad, Faith, Connie, Betty, Sherry, Alice, and Tasha. Also, the van driver graciously introduced himself to me. Each one gave me confidence that my mother was in good hands. I look forward to being in touch and of help."  ~ Jane

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