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What is the benefit of living in an Assisted Living Facility vs Living at home?

Senior man sitting on the wheelchair, laughing and holding his nurse’s hand

During the pandemic, some have expressed that “ it was especially helpful to have staff and other residents to be together with my loved one, when we couldn’t be with them….they weren’t alone”.  

Despite what many people may think, assisted living communities today are not like residences of the past.  They serve as an independent option focusing on the independency of the senior but offering the assistance as needed. 

What are some of the reasons people decide to research options of Assisted Living?

Often, a change of medical condition or cognition changes, increased number of falls, overall frailty, and nutrition are top reasons people start the research for Assisted Living communities. Sometimes, difficulty managing domestic finances or other money problems may attribute to the search.  

1. Socialization

Loneliness and social isolation have been linked to poor health outcomes and many seniors suffer from isolation for the following reasons:

  • They are retired and no longer have socialization in the work environment
  • They can no longer easily attend social events because of physical ailments or transportation issues
  • Their friends and spouse may have passed away
  • They often feel like they are missing a purpose in their life

In assisted living, seniors can easily socialize with peers, not only in common areas but also through planned, structured activities like cultural events and field trips.  Seniors can feel comfort and companionship in knowing that their peers are going through similar aging difficulties.

2. A safer living environment.

Families often must make home modifications and hire in-home care to make the home safe for seniors. From medical alert systems to shower grab-bars, wheelchair-accessible ramps and more — these expenses can add up. Assisted living communities, however, are designed for accessibility and increased senior mobility, helping seniors avoid falls and accidents and providing access to medical assistance, whether it is medical staff within the community or accessibility to a nearby hospital. The medical oversight is peace of mind.

3. Daily fitness.

Many seniors are likely to engage when they have other seniors to engage with in Activities.  Assisted living communities offer fitness and physical therapy programs to keep seniors active, this includes cardio drumming, endurance and strength-building workouts, interactive movement for fitness.   Opportunities for physical fitness in assisted living go far beyond what family caregivers can easily provide at home when there are possibly no other seniors to interact with.

4.  Dining

Seniors often choose not to cook for themselves. This may be due to lack of physical incentive to cook, the taste buds are altered for various reasons, eating alone is not appealing to them, access to food supply may be limited.  As an alternative, they lose nutritional value or even forget to eat which can lead to health issues.

 In assisted living, residents are served three meals daily and snacks which may be tailored to their specific medical conditions, such as difficulty swallowing, diabetes or heart health.

5. Help with activities of daily living (ADLs).

Activities of daily living (ADLs), housekeeping and yard work can often be a burden to seniors. Having the details of living taken care of in an assisted living community allows seniors the freedom to enjoy aging while taking advantage of assisted living activities and amenities. Assisted living provides expert help with ADLs to allow seniors more independence for the activities that make them happy, which in turn offers a better quality of life.

6.  Cost 

The expense to allow a family member to remain at home, who needs assistance, socialization and/or meals, often comes with a cost:

  • Counting on hired help can leave you stranded….even if you use a company, if caregiver does not show up or your loved one tells the they don’t need them to come, families are left to find caregiver replacement.
  • The average cost to have someone come into the home can run $18.00-$25.00 per hour
  • Often, when someone needs to come in the home, they are often needed for longer than planned hours because of the need for interaction as well as medical or domestic needs. 
  • If you hire an outside source from 12-24 hours per day, the average cost runs between $6,696.00 per month to 18,600.00.  Assisted Livings average $4,500-$8,500.00 per month.
  • Cost of food is also not included in the caregiver cost for in home care but it is included in your monthly base rate cost for an Assisted Living
  • The cost to upkeep the house is still necessary but included as base rate in an Assisted Living