What Is the Difference between Assisted Living and Independent Living?

What Is the Difference between Assisted Living and Independent Living?

Dear Donna,

I am trying to help my parents find a senior living community. I am not sure if I should be looking for an independent living community or an assisted living community.

Can you please explain the difference between independent living and assisted living?

Sincerely,

Vanessa from Holland, MI

 

Understanding the Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living

 

Dear Vanessa,

It’s common to have trouble understanding the difference between independent living and assisted living. Having so many senior living options available can be overwhelming for families. However, it’s crucial to fully understand your options if you want to ensure you help your senior parents make the right decision.

In the simplest terms, independent living is for healthy seniors who want to maintain an active lifestyle. Assisted living is for seniors who need support to maintain their independence.

Amount of Assistance Needed

The primary difference between assisted living communities and independent living communities is the amount of care provided to their residents.

Assisted living communities usually have around-the-clock assistance available. Professional caregivers are available 24/7 to support seniors with everyday activities like preparing meals and managing medications. If your senior parents can’t spend more than a few days alone without jeopardizing their health or safety, then assisted living is likely for them.

Independent living communities, on the other hand, are more suitable for healthy seniors who don’t need much assistance. Many communities offer amenities that can significantly improve their quality of life. A few common services include meal plans, cleaning services, and maintenance.

Reasons for Moving

The reasons for moving are also different between seniors who choose assisted living versus those who select independent living.

Seniors who move to an assisted living community usually do so because they need some form of assistance to remain independent. A few common reasons seniors choose assisted living include:

  • Needing help with activities of daily living.
  • Having trouble maintaining their home.
  • Struggling to meet their nutritional requirements.
  • Having a health condition that requires supervision.
  • Wanting to give their families peace of mind that they are safe.

Seniors who choose independent living often move to have their desired lifestyle. A few common reasons seniors move to independent living communities include:

  • Being a part of a community with people who are their age and share similar interests.
  • Enjoying their retirement years without many of the responsibilities that come with home ownership.
  • Having easy access to the services and amenities offered at that particular community.

Financing Options Available

Another factor that varies between assisted living and independent living is the financing options available.

Because seniors usually choose assisted living for health and safety reasons, they are often able to find resources to lower their out-of-pocket expenses. A few common resources include long-term care insurance, employee benefits programs, VA benefits, and Medicaid.

The cost of independent living varies due to multiple factors including the type of housing, the amenities offered, and the services provided. Because it’s considered a choice to live there, it usually doesn’t qualify for any financial assistance.

I hope this helps you decide which senior living option is best for your parents.

Regards,

Donna

 

Heritage Senior Communities Helps Families Understand Their Options

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Appledorn Assisted Living location, provide support to help families decide which senior living option is best for their loved ones. If you are an adult children or family member who is having trouble understanding the difference between assisted living and independent living, please feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to help!

 

What Causes Wandering in Adults with Alzheimer’s?

What Causes Wandering in Adults with Alzheimer’s?

Wandering is a common behavior among people with Alzheimer’s disease. An estimated 6 in 10 people with dementia will wander. This behavior is dangerous regardless of what stage of the disease they are in. The longer they are missing, the greater their risk for serious injury. This makes wandering a concern for families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

While no one knows for sure what causes adults with Alzheimer’s to wander, there are a few common triggers. Here are some scenarios that can lead to wandering, along with a few ways Michigan caregivers can prevent it.

Why Adults with Alzheimer’s Wander

  1. Disorientation

Feeling disoriented is one of the most common reasons why people with Alzheimer’s wander. Their cognitive impairment can make them forget where they are and what they are doing. Wandering is their way of dealing with the anxiety caused by feeling displaced.

Here are a few ways you can reduce feelings of disorientation:

  • Stick to a routine to reduce the likelihood they will forget what they are doing.
  • Limit the amount of stimuli to prevent them from getting distracted.
  • Keep them in familiar settings to prevent them from feeling displaced.
  1. Boredom

Another common reason why adults with Alzheimer’s wander is because they are bored. When adults with Alzheimer’s don’t get enough stimulation, they get the urge to get up and move. Wandering is just a way of finding relief.

To prevent boredom, try:

  • Having them help you with simple household chores like folding laundry or organizing papers.
  • Finding activities to keep them busy like knitting or coloring.
  • Keeping them engaged through conversation.
  1. Lack of Physical Activity

Sometimes, people with dementia wander because they don’t get enough exercise. Wandering is their way of burning excess energy.

Here are few ways you can help your loved one burn extra energy:

  • Incorporate a walk into their daily routine.
  • Accommodate their desire to move by having them sit in a rocking chair.
  • Introduce them to a stationary bike where they can exercise in place.
  1. Trying to Fulfill Basic Needs

Adults with Alzheimer’s can also wander in efforts to fulfill their basic needs. The need to eat, drink, or use the bathroom can be triggers.

A simple way to reduce this reason for wandering is to check that their basic needs are met periodically throughout the day.

  • Occasionally ask them if they need to use the bathroom.
  • Bring them a snack if you notice they haven’t eaten in a while.
  • Make sure they always have a glass of water nearby.
  1. Unfamiliar Environments

A change in environment can also trigger wandering. Many families notice their loved ones wander after they move to a new home or visit a new location.

Here are a few tips to prevent wandering in new environments:

  • Try to plan short day trips as opposed to overnight stays.
  • When going out to eat, go to familiar restaurants.
  • Make sure someone they are comfortable with is around at all times.

Memory Care at Heritage Senior Communities

If you are concerned about your ability to prevent your loved ones from wandering, you may want to consider assisted living. Many communities, including Heritage, have specialized dementia care communities that are designed to prevent residents from wandering. Contact us to learn more about how we help keep seniors with dementia safe.