It's not an easy thing becoming a senior. Decades of self-sufficiency melt away and seniors find themselves suddenly unable to do things they've been doing for as long as they can remember. Many seniors have no clue where to turn -- but with a little perseverance and a little effort, finding the right elderly assistance isn't as overwhelming as it first appears.
Residential Elderly Assistance
Residential assistance means that the senior will live in some form of facility that will provide structure for their lives. They come in a fairly wide variety, but there are four major categories:
- Independent Living Facilities are for seniors capable of performing all of the necessary activities of daily life on their own. They provide seniors the ability to live with similar people, and offer activities and social programs to keep them occupied and integrated. Some offer housekeeping or other minor assistance services, but that varies by facility.
- Assisted Living Facilities provide personal care with activities of daily life like getting dressed, using the bathroom, and bathing, but doesn't provide for any but the most basic of medical needs. Assisted living facilities frequently also provide the kind of structured social support that an independent living facility does, though generally at a slower pace. Seniors who need medical assistance beyond a reminder of when to take their medicines don't belong here. They belong in…
- Nursing Homes are much akin to assisted living facilities, but are staffed with a much denser population of registered nurses, practicing doctors, and other high-level medical staff. Nursing home life is often less socially-oriented than the previous categories, because seniors living here are frequently incapacitated and cannot participate in such programs.
- Alzheimer's Care/Dementia Care Facilities are a specialized kind of nursing home with high security and staff specially trained to deal with seniors that have impaired mental faculties.
Regardless of which level of need your senior loved one is at, do your best to ensure that the facility they're in is safe, reasonable in price, and has a pleasant atmosphere. Come back for Part II to learn about in-home elderly assistance options.