When is the Right Time to Make the Move to Assisted Living?
Aging is an imperfect science. We all age at different rates and face challenges in health and life that are unique to our lived experiences, so it stands to reason that navigating decisions about healthcare and senior living options is a challenge too.
Thanks to advances in medicine and technology, people are living longer, healthier lives, and the wide range of available senior living options reflects that reality. Independent living in 55 and over communities, aging at home with some assistance from family members or in-home caregivers, memory care communities, and assisted living communities with varied levels of care are some of the most popular options.
Are you wondering if assisted living might be right for you or a loved one? There is no one-size-fits-all formula for deciding when to make the move to assisted living. However, the following are some things to consider to help you determine if an assisted living community might be just what you or your family member need to thrive and live life to the fullest.
Assistance with Activities of Daily Living
When thinking about your senior loved one’s everyday needs, a good place to start is taking a look at activities of daily living (ADLs) or self-care tasks that people do daily.
Some common ADLs are:
- Grooming (brushing teeth or hair, hygiene, etc.)
- Getting dressed
- Functional mobility or transferring (walking, getting up and down, etc.)
Needing some assistance with ADLs is not necessarily a signal that it’s time to move to assisted living, but it can be an indicator of something to keep an eye on. Many seniors continue to live independently in their own homes or with a family member while receiving help from time to time from a nurse or other caregiver. Assisted living communities may be the right choice if your family member would feel more comfortable having access to this type of assistance day and night from trained and caring professionals.
Assisted living communities like BridgeWater Assisted Living in Avondale, Arizona, offer varying levels of care and assistance with ADLs to provide you with what you need when you need it, 24 hours a day at the touch of a button. This constant access alleviates any stress you might feel if your health or mobility creates challenges for you in accomplishing specific ADLs, giving you and your loved ones priceless peace of mind.
Stress from Instrumental Activities of Daily Living
In addition to ADLs, another measure healthcare professionals use to assess an individual’s quality of life is instrumental activities of daily living or IADLs. These life tasks are important to functioning independently in a community and living well. When thinking about yourself or a family member, some IADLs to look at include:
- Housekeeping (e.g., cleaning and laundry)
- Grocery and other shopping
- Medication management
- Managing finances
- Caring for pets
- Driving and getting from place to place
As with ADLs, if you or your loved one needs assistance with IADLs, many services can help, like Meals on Wheels or a housekeeping service. On the other hand, one of the many benefits seniors love about assisted living is the maintenance-free lifestyle, where you no longer have to stress about cooking, cleaning, traffic, and laundry daily. Instead, you have the luxury of focusing on things you love, like spending time with friends, golfing, shopping, nature walks, reading, watching movies, and more.
The outstanding amenities available at Avondale assisted living at BridgeWater, for instance, alleviate the burdens of IADLs like housekeeping, cooking, medication management, and driving. Residents enjoy restaurant-style dining, housekeeping, linen service, and chauffeured transportation to activities and appointments, to name just a few.
Changes in Health and Mobility
As we age, it’s natural to experience changes in our health and mobility. Although it’s possible to continue living well at home, even given those changes, assisted living communities offer access to programs, therapy, expertise, and equipment that make it easy to maintain the highest level of health and wellness.
For instance, many seniors experience some cognitive decline. They could benefit significantly from memory care programs like the one at BridgeWater Assisted Living in Avondale, which feature a variety of cognitive therapy and activities designed to stimulate the mind, body, and senses in a fun atmosphere.
Seniors experiencing limited mobility, perhaps due to rheumatoid arthritis or other health conditions, can also reap the rewards of what assisted living has to offer. The Avondale assisted living community of BridgeWater Assisted Living boasts a robust wellness and therapy center where residents can work individually with occupational, physical, and other therapists. We also have an exercise program where residents participate in a wide variety of classes tailored to meet all levels of ability and mobility.
Being able to seek specialized medical care, eat nutritious meals, and participate in exercise and therapy programs geared specifically for your needs all in one place means that seniors in assisted living have everything they need to live well right at their fingertips.
Opportunities to Pursue Social Activities
Finally, it’s essential not to overlook the emotional upside to calling an assisted living community home. It’s easy to maintain an active lifestyle and social calendar both within the community and the surrounding area, especially when you don’t have to worry about driving and parking! At BridgeWater Assisted Living in Avondale, our residents can often enjoy a movie together in our theater, play board games in the common areas, take interesting classes, or stroll in nature with friends. Transportation is also available to explore nearby shopping, restaurants, sports, and activities.
Schedule a Tour Today
If you or a loved one think assisted living might be the right choice for your family, please contact us here at Avondale Assisted Living to learn more or schedule a tour to see what we offer. We are proud of the affordable, exceptional care we provide to families just like yours and think you’ll like what you see!
Moving from a full-size house to an apartment will require patience and forethought, so here are our favorite tips for seniors who are downsizing into a smaller living space:
1. Start Early
Even if your senior has only been in their home for a few years, clutter and possessions tend to build up. They say that a goldfish will grow to the right size for its bowl – so too will furniture, collectibles, art, books, and other objects. Not all of these are worth keeping, but not all of these should be tossed, either. Therefore, you have to go through it bit by bit. Not knowing where to start can overwhelm your senior, so it’s important to do a little bit at a time without getting paralyzed or bogged down. Take a look at this checklist for some ideas on items you can start to declutter.
The process may move very slowly. As your senior handles each item, they’re probably thinking about not only whether they have space for it in their future but all the memories they have of this particular thing. Try to make your decluttering sessions no longer than about three hours. That’s a good morning’s or afternoon’s work. Trying for a longer session might lead to decision fatigue, and something might be lost in the shuffle.
This is emotional work, and recovery time is important. Otherwise, the whole process may stall.
2. The One-Year Rule
This is a way to tell if you’ll need that specific object in your new apartment. Ask yourself: have you used it in the last year, or has it languished in a closet or a cabinet where you can’t see it and never used it?
If it’s a kitchen tool such as a baking dish, you may not even need it in your new senior living community if meals are provided. If it’s a novel you read once, maybe you know of someone who would like to read it so you can pass it along instead of just “getting rid of it.” For some, the thought of trashing items that can still be used and enjoyed makes the process of decluttering much more difficult, so having a “donate” or “give away” pile (instead of a “trash” pile) can help move things along. Make a plan and stick to it.
Keepsakes are a bit different, but they can take up a lot of space too. Maybe you have a closet full of home videotapes going back twenty or thirty years. Same with shelves of negatives or books full of snapshots – what do you do with them? In order to take them all and still save space, consider looking into having these items digitized. Do you have a lot of wall art? Maybe you can scan those items and load them onto a digital picture frame, which will scroll through them all day. You’ll be able to enjoy the art while also saving on space!
3. The New Dimensions
Before you start moving, you’ll want to know the shape of your new apartment. If you’re able to view a vacant apartment, you should go to get floor plans and get measurements for the dimensions of closets or if there are unusually shaped alcoves. There’s nothing worse than showing up and having furniture that doesn’t fit in the space.
You can also make sure to ask here about common differences between apartments. Will the walls be painted white? Is it possible to paint them another color, or does the community encourage art and wall hangings instead? What if your senior wants to bring their favorite light fixture; can they bring it and get assistance installing it? Can they get help mounting their TV or computer screen on the wall?
Logistics will also be important for moving in. How big is the elevator, and how big are the doorways? If you’ve resolved to bring one dresser that’s longer than typical and it doesn’t fit in the elevator or the door, you could be out of luck!
4. Make It Feel Like Home
In the old space, there may have been a lot more space and many more rooms than where they’re moving to. Your senior may have spent a lot of time decorating a sitting room or formal dining room that they don’t use very often. This may be a space that they’re proud of, but it doesn’t really feel like home. Where did they spend most of their time in their old home? Where do they feel safest and most comfortable? You should try to help them make their new space feel as comfortable as possible. If they have a favorite comfy chair by a window, aim to put that same chair by a window in the new space.
If these familiar chairs and other pieces of furniture could also use a facelift, this is a good time to do it. Maybe the favorite chair has some wear and tear – could it use a slipcover or a cheerful new blanket? The dresser is an old, familiar piece of furniture, but maybe it could use a coat of varnish (or even a coat of paint).
5. Design a Labeling System
No matter how organized you think you are, there’s going to be some kind of chaos during the actual move. While you’re packing, make sure you create a labeling system so you know where your important things are. There’s nothing worse than having to open fifteen boxes in order to find your bedding so you can go to sleep! An easy system would be to label each moving box with the contents and the room where it belongs.
At Mission at Agua Fria, residents receive comprehensive and respectful care, including a wide variety of programs and amenities. Everything is designed to help the senior in your life age in place with dignity. Our brand-new assisted living community is located in Peoria, AZ – contact us today to take a tour!