Assisted living is very different than a nursing home because the lifestyle is independent yet monitored, for the best of both worlds.
Many people confuse assisted living with nursing homes when in fact the two are worlds apart. Nursing homes focus on the care of those unable to live without constant care, while assisted living communities are basically an independent lifestyle, with onsite help from professional staff always available.
In an assisted living community, residents have their own apartment with all the privacy they want. The staff is on hand to make sure their medications are taken on time and to help with scheduling appointments and exams as needed. There is transportation available for appointments and other excursions such as shopping trips, and each senior is looked after without intrusive oversight.
The emphasis is on a community, and a quality assisted living campus will have a wide variety of activities to participate in. Physical fitness is emphasized, and usually, there are exercise and wellness classes daily or several times a week. While privacy is given to each senior in their apartment they are also encouraged to join in the social events such as trips to museums and entertainment venues, shopping trips, and on-site entertainment and activities. The family is encouraged to visit and join in the activities, and overnight visits from children and grandchildren are allowed.
While apartments are equipped with a refrigerator and stove, all meals are provided in the common dining room. This is an important point, as seniors who socialize and interact with others stay healthy longer than those who are isolated in an empty house. Meals are nutritious, appetizing, and have a wider variety of menu items than the fare one finds in nursing homes and hospitals. Family and friends are welcome, too, so you can be comfortable sharing a meal just as you would in your own home or at a restaurant.
Depending on the community, there may be barber and hairdressing services, laundry and housekeeping services, and onsite physical and occupational therapy in case of an injury that needs rehabilitation. Most communities help each resident stay healthy by setting their own fitness goals and routine and helping them monitor their progress weekly.
Activities at an assisted living campus can be as varied as the residents, so if you want a book club, gardening club, or knitting group and it’s not available the staff will most likely start one of there’s enough interest from other residents. Computer classes, art sessions, museum trips, and other activities will vary from community to community, so make sure the one you choose as your home has the activities you’ll enjoy or is open to starting new ones!