*This post is sponsored by Brookdale Senior Living. The information and opinions presented here are all mines.
It’s only natural to want our parents to live a long and healthy life. But even if we’re lucky enough to have them with us for many years to come, you may notice that their mobility is starting to fade, and they’re not able to keep up with the house like they used to.
There also may come a time when you realize they need more care than you’re able to give. That’s why having a discussion about a long-term care solution like Assisted Living, sooner rather than later, can be an important way to help relieve stress for you and your parent down the road.
Unfortunately, likely, older parents won’t plan for this kind of care independently. A 2014 survey found that 43% of adults, ages 40-70, believed there was no more than a one-in-five chance of needing long-term services and support (LTSS) at some point (Wiener et al., 2015). But the reality is quite different. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, it’s estimated that 69% of those over the age of 65 will need some type of long-term care service. (1) The AARP reports that more than 70 million Americans over the age of 50 have at least one chronic medical condition. All this means is that Assisted Living is something many of us will most definitely have to plan for and discuss.
What is Assisted Living?
Often when we hear the term Assisted Living, it can conjure up thoughts of our loved one stuck in a dark room alone or stuck watching TV all day with nothing else to do. But today’s Assisted Living Communities have evolved way beyond the institutionalized setting of the “old folk’s homes” of the 1960s and 1970s that have fostered these stereotypes.
According to the American Health Care Association:
“The goal of Assisted Living is to maximize and maintain resident independence for as long as possible. Assisted Living offers residents a unique mix of companionship, freedom, privacy, and security in a home-like setting. “
Assisted Living Communities are ideal for seniors who may not need 24-hour intensive care and skilled nursing like a nursing home can provide but could use extra help with day-to-day activities like grooming, bathing, eating, dressing, and managing medications. They also help with mobility and escort assistance, cognitive and ongoing health support. But more than that, Assisted Living facilities can offer a better quality of life and provide a variety of daily activities and amenities like game rooms, gardens, fitness centers, classes, and even on-site hair salons.
Right now, approximately one in three Americans is willing to have discussions about long-term care planning for both their parents and for themselves. But most families are unprepared for what experts say is one of the most significant decisions seniors, and their adult children will make in their lives.