Dear Donna:

My mother will soon celebrate her 88th birthday. Believe it or not, she still lives alone in her home near Grand Haven, Michigan. We are a few hours away but visit her often.

So far we have been able to help her maintain her independence with the use of a private home care aide. I think it might be time for something different now though.

While I think the aide can help her with bathing and dressing just fine, two things I’m most concerned about are that she is alone all night long and also that she is stuck in her house the majority of the time. She has difficulty navigating the steps on the front of her house and getting in and out of the car safely. Between her aide and myself, we do all of her errands and shopping. I think she feels very isolated, but we are afraid she will fall and hurt herself if we try to take her along with us.

I’m a little confused about what an assisted living community can offer that is different from the home care she already uses. Can you help clarify things for me?

Alison in Ann Arbor

Dear Alison:

Thank you for your note! We talk with families visiting our senior living communities across Michigan about this very issue every day. For many adult children, enlisting the services of a home care aide can be a good short-term solution. But when a parent needs a little more care or around the clock supervision, the cost of in-home care can quickly add up.

Here are a few of the benefits an assisted living community can offer residents:

  • The privacy of their own apartment or suite in an environment designed to support elder safety. Grab bars, handrails, step-free showers and emergency call systems are standard.
  • On-site life enrichment programs to help promote socialization and companionship.
  • Caregivers on-site and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Three well-balanced meals and snacks each day.
  • Support with personal care needs such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.
  • Medication management assistance.
  • Housekeeping, laundry and maintenance services to allow for worry-free apartment living.
  • Transportation services provided in an accessible bus.

As you can see, assisted living is a balance of independence and support.

We invite you to call us or stop in for a tour so you can learn more about assisted living as a solution for your mother!