Senior Living Communities: What are they and who are they for?
What is a senior living community?
Senior living communities, often also called assisted living communities, are a housing option for adults who are unable to live independently. While many assisted living community residents are seniors, residents can be anyone needing assistance with medications and daily living activities. Senior living communities differ from nursing homes in the level of care required by the residents, with nursing homes typically offering more advanced medical services to meet the greater medical needs of their residents. An assisted living community may serve as a bridge between living independently and moving into a full-care skilled nursing facility.
What services do senior living facilities provide?
While the services provided will vary depending on the assisted living community, here are some of the common services:
- Assistance with daily living activities
- Many residents move into an assisted living facility needing help with multiple daily living activities. To meet these daily needs, assisted living communities offer assistance with tasks such as bathing, dressing, using the restroom, eating, and personal hygiene.
- Many assisted living facilities provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The prepared meals are either delivered to the resident’s room, served cafeteria-style, or served in a more formal dining room.
- Resident activities
- In order to enrich the day-to-day lives of their residents, assisted living communities offer educational, recreational, and fitness-related activities for their residents. Activities may include aerobics classes, art classes, outings to the local library, dance classes, book clubs, and movie nights.
- Medication administration and monitoring
- For residents who are able to self-administer medications, the staff at the assisted living community can offer reminders and monitor to make sure the residents are taking their medications properly. If residents are unable to administer their own medications, the staff may need to administer medications for residents.
- Basic healthcare services
- While most assisted living facilities don’t offer the same level of health services as nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities, they still offer basic healthcare services for residents. Depending on the residents’ needs, they may offer emergency first aid, pharmacy services, medical checkups, health monitoring, and counseling.
- Around-the-clock access to caregivers and emergency call system
- The emergency call system with around-the-clock access to caregivers allows residents to maintain their independence while giving them peace of mind in case of an injury or medical emergency.
- When it becomes difficult to keep up with housekeeping responsibilities an assisted living community can help with these tasks. These housekeeping services may include laundry, vacuuming, changing linens, bedroom and bathroom cleaning, and maintenance.
- Transportation services or coordination of transportation
- Many senior living residents are no longer able to drive, so they rely on transportation services provided by the assisted living community or assistance with coordinating transportation. The assisted living community may offer group outings, transportation to healthcare facilities, or scheduling individual transportation as needed.
Who lives in senior living communities?
Senior living communities are home to a variety of residents. While the majority do tend to be seniors, or people aged 65 years or older, residents may also be younger adults unable to care for themselves independently. Regardless of age, residents are adults experiencing illness, injury, mental illness, or challenges completing daily living activities.
Younger adults may reside in assisted living communities if they are living with mental illness, experienced traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), have physical limitations, or otherwise need assistance with daily living. Signs that someone should consider living in an assisted living community, regardless of how old they are, include forgetfulness, difficulty preparing food, falling, inability to drive, depression and loneliness, difficulty with household tasks, mobility challenges, and cognitive challenges.
According to a 2016 study by the National Center of Long-Term Care Providers, there are over 800,000 residents living in assisted living facilities in the United States. The majority of residents are women, as 71% of residents are women while 29% are men. More than half of residents are over 85 years old, and only 18% of residents nationwide are under the age of 75 years old.
The top three needs of residents are help with bathing, help with walking, and help with dressing. Besides the daily living activities, most residents do not need full care throughout the day, making assisted living more suitable than a nursing home or skilled nursing facility. The most common resident conditions include high blood pressure, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, heart disease, and depression.
Are you wondering if a senior living community is the right fit for you or a loved one? Contact us if you have questions or to schedule a tour.