Many seniors balk at the idea of moving into “a home” because they’re worried about losing something very important to them: their independence. This fear is understandable – as we get older, we often require more help and assistance in order to perform the tasks of daily life. No one wants to feel beholden to others or be unable to do the things we love. But many seniors are missing out on the important truth: that assisted living can actually provide more independence and freedom while also giving older adults the helping hand they may need.
Most people don’t associate the words “assisted living” with “independence,” but today’s senior living communities are focused on helping older adults live their best lives, and that means providing the assistance with the daily tasks of life they might need so they can live as independently as possible. Surprisingly, many seniors have reported that they have a higher quality of life and more independence by moving into assisted living than they had living on their own.
Assisted living helps seniors get out of their homes.
Our homes are our castles, but if we never leave them, they can also be a prison of sorts. Many older adults can find themselves leaving the house less and less, due to mobility problems, weather or other issues – and social distancing guidelines aren’t helping. According to a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015, two million seniors are homebound with an additional six million being “semi-homebound,” meaning that leaving home is difficult and requires assistance from someone else. In 2021, we can only imagine that the number of homebound and semi-homebound individuals has increased.
Staying in one’s home for long stretches isn’t just boring. It’s also hazardous to our health. One of the signs of healthy aging is staying socially and physically active, and that’s hard to do when you never leave your house. Boredom and being isolated can lead to depression, anxiety, stress, poor nutrition and other factors that can cause seniors to live a poor quality of life.
In assisted living, on the other hand, getting out of the “house” is incredibly easy. Staff is available around-the-clock, and there’s always someone available to provide a helping hand, transportation or social interaction. Assisted living communities often provide convenient transportation for individuals as well as for arranged group outings. This makes it easy to get out and enjoy everything the community has to offer without having doubts about mobility or arranging anything.
Assisted living makes you more social.
Moving to an assisted living community can be a little bit like moving to a college campus. You find yourself suddenly surrounded by a large group of your peers who are ready to explore the opportunities that are available. While many older adults may fear that living in a community will interfere with their social life, the fact of the matter is that assisted living can actually increase your social circle tenfold. Not only are you surrounded by a group of “instant friends,” but you also have lots more time to pursue meaningful activities and try your hand at new things. Since assisted living communities are all-inclusive – meaning they are maintenance-free and provide three meals a day – you no longer have to concern yourself with chores or other tasks that can fill your time.
Staying social improves mental health, which has the benefit of improving physical and emotional health as we age. Older adults who have a large group of friends and who remain active and connected report better health, mobility and cognition than peers who are more socially isolated.
Assisted living increases well-being.
A home can, sadly, be a dangerous place. Millions of people will fall in the safety of their homes each year, and the majority of those will be seniors. This can be due to a number of things – but on the highest level, family homes simply aren’t set up to accommodate the needs of an aging senior. Stairs, tripping hazards and other small inconveniences can add up to a huge safety problem. Plus, if something happens at home, a senior will have to call for help if it’s needed, which can take up valuable time.
Moving to an assisted living community, on the other hand, means that help is never far away. While communities are designed to help seniors achieve optimum mobility (think of things like emergency call systems, pull bars and wide, easy-to-navigate hallways), they also are equipped with highly trained and responsive staff day and night. If a senor loved one does fall or require assistance at any time of the day, they’ll receive a quick and often life-saving response from the staff. That comfort and happiness can be priceless for both seniors and their loved ones.
Assisted living improves overall health.
Seniors who live by themselves are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition. This can be for a variety of reasons, ranging from the inability to go to the grocery and buy fresh food to simply not wanting to spend the effort cooking for just one or two people. Unfortunately, this can lead to frailty, decreased cognitive and physical function and – you guessed it – loss of independence. Older adults require a specific nutritional diet in order to remain healthy, and oftentimes the nuances aren’t met when cooking for oneself.
That’s not the case at an assisted living community. These days, communities have a professional chef overseeing the kitchen, as well as a nutritionist who collaborates to create varied, interesting and nutritionally-dense meals that are both delicious and healthy. Not only that, but communities also have a focus on overall “wellness,” which includes offering fitness opportunities, learning opportunities and social opportunities. Eating right, getting enough exercise and staying interested and active all result in a higher quality of life, a happier senior – and a more independent person overall.
While a senior may feel that they’re “losing” something by moving to assisted living, they actually can be “gaining” quite a bit … such as happiness, health and independence. Many seniors who move to The Orchards at Bartley Assisted Living say they wish they’d made the move sooner! If that’s not a rousing recommendation, we don’t know what is.
Empowering Lifestyle. Trusted Care.
The Orchards at Bartley Assisted Living is our assisted living community conveniently located on the Bartley Healthcare campus.
At The Orchards at Bartley Assisted Living, residents can embrace a fulfilling, independent lifestyle in an elegant setting while experiencing the security and comfort of a qualified, compassionate team. We take care of it all – housekeeping and delicious dining, scheduled transportation, programming to meet varying interests and more.
And if your care needs change down the road, we offer our Cedar Spring Memory Care program, as well as transitional care and respite stays featuring our Step By Step program and Bartley at Home home care services.
For more information or to schedule a tour, contact our team today at 732-372-4055.