Making the life-changing decision to move yourself or a loved one into an assisted living facility is a difficult one, it requires careful consideration of when and how this decision is made. As we continue to grow and thrive in our older years – and life expectancy continues to increase – seniors are having to decide where they want to spend their final years and decades.

Assisted living facilities are a happy medium between the community and comfort of a retirement village and the access and care of a nursing home. Seniors that are beginning to suffer from physical or mental decline may begin to find it difficult to take care of themselves or their homes. For these elderly members of society, an assisted living facility can offer the caregiving and medical attention a senior in this situation may need without constant supervision and assistance.

It is important for any family member considering an assisted living facility to consider all of the pros and cons of this option for our loved ones.

The Pros of Assisted Living

The greatest benefit of assisted living is in the name. The day-to-day assistance provided for those living in these communities is invaluable for an aging person who is struggling to take care of their homes or selves. These facilities have incredible caregivers who are there to help seniors live a fuller and more comfortable life.

Assisted living offers a level of care and support that is comparable to a nursing home with access to medical facilities and equipment, if any health incidences occur, and experienced carers who can assist as much as is needed. Seniors who are in need of help with medication, transportation, meals or other daily tasks can get the assistance they need while remaining independent and in a thriving community.

Assisted living facilities usually incorporate independent homes or apartments found in a larger retirement community. These communities are full of vibrant, active and thriving seniors who have so much life to live and experience. The home-like setting gives the elderly suffering from some mental or physical deterioration the personal freedom and privacy they deserve to enjoy while getting the daily help they may need.

Seniors are reassured that their social, mental and physical wellbeing is being taken care of, and they are able to build new routines and plans from the safety and comfort of a retirement community. The medical access and day-to-day assistance of an assisted living facility does not take away from the control, privacy and independence of this homely environment for our older population.

Being able to socialise is a critical part of any senior’s retirement years. Many older adults have suffered from loneliness and isolation when living on their own. In a retirement village – where most assisted living facilities can be found – there are hundreds of new people to meet, make friends with and do activities together.

A retirement community will often have a variety of scheduled programmes and activities, from dinners and exercise to games and outings – and there is so much more to fill the day with. All of these benefits are usually available for a lower monthly cost than an in-home caregiver, as well as some medical insurances providing significant financial assistance.

In short:

  • Assistance for all day-to-day activities like bathing, cleaning, cooking and taking medication
  • Retirement villages and assisted living facilities can adapt to individuals’ changing needs
  • Greater privacy and a home-like environment without the need to maintain a home yourself
  • Opportunity to socialise and remain active within your community with a variety of activities
  • Often more affordable than nursing homes or in-home caregiving alternatives

The Cons of Assisted Living

The reality is that an assisted living facility will never have the same level of medical care on the premises that a nursing home does. If a senior requires intensive or specialised healthcare because of physical or mental disability, they will likely require higher levels of care than an assisted living facility is be able to provide.

While many seniors at home are struggling with loneliness or to remain independent, there are many seniors who prefer to stay in their homes and find ways to adjust to their own changing needs. In-home caregivers can be expensive, but do afford older people the opportunity to stay in their homes for a few more years.

Those who enjoy their privacy and quiet may struggle with adjusting to a community setting or a semi-private apartment with a roommate for example. In order to adjust, our elderly loved ones need to feel confident and secure in their ability to settle in. Some are put off by the community and social interactions and others are not happy with community rules, such as no pets allowed, smoking bans or a late-night curfew.

While assisted living is almost always more affordable than a nursing home and an around-the-clock or in-home carer, the reality is that it can be expensive. Cost can be a major drawback to assisted living as medical aid does not always cover some of the costs. Personal care and medical access can be treated as add-ons and if not, are usually accounted for in total monthly costs.

In short:

  • Can become expensive or cost-prohibitive over time
  • Some seniors can struggle adjusting to a semi-private or community setting, with rules
  • Does not offer all the specialised care that may be required to treat advanced mental or physical decline or illness

Making the Decision to Move

Assisted living is not a perfect setup and nothing will ever be when trying to find what is best for our loved ones and older population. However, when it comes to those seniors who need a little extra care to help them through their day, an assisted living facility provides a safe, secure and social environment for them to continue enjoying their lives.

It is important to remember that while this has been a great choice for so many seniors, it is not always the best choice. Families and older people need to carefully consider which living situation keeps our loved ones and ourselves safest and happiest. After all, their wisdom, experience and life are so worth cherishing.

If you are considering an assisted living facility for you or a loved one, Manor Retirement is home to beautiful, dependable and affordable assisted living options in their Retirement Villages. Find out more, here.