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What Senior Community is Right for Your Parents?

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Understanding levels of care will help you and your parents make the best choice.

Mom took a fall. Thank goodness she’s fine! But now you’re thinking about whether or not she should be alone anymore. Or maybe dad is still enjoying his golf game but needs more opportunities to socialize and be around people his age. If either of these situations sounds familiar, it’s time to consider alternative living options for your parents. But what is the right choice to meet their needs?

Making this decision can be confusing because of the variety of senior living options. Knowing the specific differences between assisted and independent living can help you decide where your mom and dad will be most comfortable. 

Independent Living

Even if your parents are able to complete their daily activities — such as driving, taking medication, preparing meals, maintaining finances and a host of other activities — with relative ease, it can still be beneficial for them to enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle. No more worrying about lawn care, home renovations or dealing with utility and other home-related bills — for them or you!

In addition to alleviating household responsibilities, independent living communities offer your parents access to first-class services such as fine dining, wellness classes, activities such as painting and crafts and scheduled transportation for shopping and more.

Assisted Living

Assisted living communities are designed for residents who struggle to complete daily activities and who require help taking care of themselves. Maybe you’ve noticed that mom is wearing the same clothes when you visit, it could be a sign that she isn’t able to bathe herself properly or do the laundry. Is dad telling you that he’s eating, but food is going bad in the refrigerator? Have you noticed any bruises that might indicate a fall? One if the more frightening considerations: Do you know that your parent is properly taking her medications? Keeping track of a variety of small pills can be a big challenge for seniors.

Before mom commits to an assisted living community, be sure to share all your concerns regarding her abilities with a care member. Measuring your parent’s ability to complete daily activities helps the staff and care members decide the level of care she needs and provide assistance tailored to meet her specific needs. Assisted living communities still offer seniors amazing living situations and uncompromising service; however, they also provide your parent with the assistance they need to live a happy and healthy life.

Memory Care

Memory Care is a highly specialized form of care for residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. If you see any symptoms of failing memory, it’s best to get a diagnosis as soon as possible. If your parent will need to move to a memory care community, it’s often best to do it sooner rather than later to save him from additional aggravation and confusion. To learn more about recognizing the signs of dementia, read this post.

When choosing a Memory Care community, it’s important to know to what extent your loved one will be encouraged to continue caring for himself. Ideally, the more active and involved he is in his own care, the better. Living areas designed specifically to meet the needs of those with dementia, activities designed to enhance your parent’s cognitive abilities and around-the-clock care will ensure your parent is safe and secure.


Making the Right Choice for Your Parent

Some senior communities offer all levels of care. This option is optimal to get your parents settled into one community where they can remain for the rest of their lives. In addition to levels of care, senior living communities can offer a variety of perks such as wellness programs, fun activities and clubs — all designed to keep your parents active and engaged. Keep the lines of communication open with your parents regarding what’s important to them in a senior living community. Next, take your parents to visit several communities, interview staff and find the right mix and levels of care to suit your parents’ needs for today and the future.