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Lonely No More: Busting the Myths and Misconceptions Around Assisted Living

Most of us have an overwhelming desire to retain our independence for as long as we can into old age and with options to consider such as assisted living, there are good reasons to be positive about your options, despite some fears and concerns that you might have.

There are plenty of examples of how your personal freedom and care needs can be catered for in your home, such as friendshipathome.org for example, so it makes perfect sense to find out what you can, including addressing some popular myths and misconceptions that tend to surround the idea of assisted living.


Defining assisted living

The concept of assisted living is still relatively new and we are only just approaching a point where a second generation of seniors will be considering their options and trying to evaluate what is best for them in terms of getting the care and independence that they desire.

One thing is for sure, assisted living is definitely having an impact in redefining senior care.

The idea behind assisted living is to provide a care and housing solution that allows adults in their later years, to retain a degree of independence that reflects their health condition and needs, providing medical and care support where it is needed.


Not the same as nursing homes

The traditional solution in the past has been to look at moving to a nursing home when a loved one is showing obvious signs of struggling to cope in their own home with everyday tasks and personal healthcare.

Assisted living now provides a very viable alternative to the nursing home option.

The best course of action is often to get a medical professional or a suitably qualified advisor to assess a person’s individual needs in order to determine the type and level of care that they need.

Understanding some of the main distinctions between a nursing home and an assisted living option, will help you to decide which one is right. Assisted living residents are still able to lead an independent life, but can get any help they need with any aspects of their life that they now find challenging, such as personal care tasks.

A nursing home resident will often be living in a single room and sharing a communal area for socializing, whereas assisted living can be provided so that all private facilities are available such as a kitchen, if they are in a purpose-built complex, or it is possible to get the help you need in your own home.


Coping with dementia

There is no question that alzheimer’s disease and dementia is a major issue for many seniors, with about 5.5 million Americans currently receiving ongoing treatment.

It is worth pointing out that you don’t have to assume that a nursing home will be the default option for anyone with alzheimer’s or dementia, as there is often a recognized program within assisted living facilities, that are designed to cope with the progressive tendencies of this condition.

A good number of assisted living facilities are able to offer dedicated alzheimer’s memory care programs. What you ideally want is a facility that allows residents to maintain their normal life under an assisted living program, until they reach a stage where the condition becomes more advanced, at which point they would come under the guidance of the memory care area.

Coping with dementia is never going to be easy but it can help to know that assisted living facilities do often provide the level of support needed, so you don’t have to automatically believe that only a nursing home will be able to cope.


Coping with the cost

The mention of assisted living costs, will probably have some people believing that it might be too expensive to consider as an option.

The national average for monthly assisted living costs, based on a one bedroom apartment, is $3,300 per month. Just over 85% of residents do manage to pay this amount from their own resources, but you will find that a good number of states do also offer home and community-based waivers, that open up the option for low-income residents to live in assisted living too.

Long-term planning is always a good idea if you can think ahead, and one option is to purchase long-term care insurance. People with low income and negligible assets may need to Medicaid as way of coping with the cost.

Assisted living is very much a growing trend for seniors and the idea of retaining your independence but getting the care you need at the same time, has an obvious appeal.

Patrick Gibbons is a son and a parent juggling work and his family commitments. He was carer for his Father and is now also looking after his frail Mother. He writes about eldercare topics, sharing his thoughts with others seeking help and support.