assisted living webThere is living — and there is senior living. As we travel our life’s journey, our needs and situations change. As we advance into advanced adulthood, we need more care and attention, and often need to set aside some responsibilities. When that time comes, it could be time to enter the world of senior living, and here are some signs our family may notice.


Personal care This can range from appearing disheveled and unkempt to not bathing, or wearing dirty clothes or the same thing all the time.

Chores You may notice things like clutter, piles of laundry, spoiled food, dying plants, dirty dishes, overflowing trash, or pets that appear neglected.

Personality Is your loved one is withdrawing from friends and social activities or giving up hobbies? Do they feel isolated, lonely, or depressed? Do they rarely leave the house? Do they lack interest in things they used to enjoy?

Safety issues include worsening mobility, falls and accidents, inability to manage medications, difficulty rising from a seated position, forgetting to turn off the stove, and struggling with stairs.

Eating habits Skipping meals can be a sign of struggling with shopping or preparing meals. Do you find stale, expired, or spoiled foods, or multiples of items (more cereal or juice than they need)? Are they losing weight (lack of interest in food) or gaining weight (forgetting they ate and eating again)?

Cognitive decline This can include lack of judgment, difficulty following directions, increased confusion, or requiring lots of reminders.

Driving Do they drive erratically? Have you seen unexplained dents or scratches on the car? In addition to being a candidate for assisted living, your loved one may have to relinquish their keys!

Finances Are bills piling up or bank accounts overdrawn? Are there final notices or calls from creditors? Are there receipts or thank-you letters from suspicious organizations, or bills that were paid multiple times?

The search for a senior community can be overwhelming, so here is some plain and simple help!

Independent Living (IL) communities are for seniors who do not need any assistance in their daily living. They generally offer rental cottages or apartments, and may offer no activities or a full range of games, trips, crafts, etc. Some offer meal plans while others do not. The combination of options will affect the rental fees.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) offer long-term contracts that guarantee lifelong shelter and access to specified health services. A medical staff provides different levels of care, from independent living to skilled nursing care. A lump-sum entrance fee is usually paid upon admission and residents move in while they’re independent and wish to age in place. The contract covers shelter and residential services (meals, activities, amenities) in addition to long-term nursing care.

Personal Care (PC) communities provide assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL) such as eating, toileting, transferring (walking), meals, bathing, and continence, as well as supervised activities. Monthly rental costs are based on the size of the accommodations and level of care needed. Communities will assess the potential resident to determine the level of required care. If the resident needs assistance with more ADLs, their cost will be higher.

Assisted Living (AL) communities provide assistance with ADLs. Assisted living residences have private living spaces with kitchen and bathroom. ALs allow a resident to advance to a nursing home level of care if necessary. If one’s health needs become too great, they may be transferred to a skilled nursing community, because a personal care home is prohibited from providing acute medical care.

Memory Care (MC) communities care for people with moderate to severe dementia. They offer all the amenities of AL and PC communities, along with a secured living environment that prohibits residents from wandering away.

The key word in this life decision is “care.” The following chart can help you find the community that offers you or your loved one the best care in senior living. Readers are encouraged to call communities and schedule a tour. If you do not know where to start then call the Lifestyles over 50 Care Team at 855-233-7034 to help you navigate the journey.

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