What is Assisted Living?

“Assisted Living” Means a coordinated array of supportive personal and health services available 24 hours per day, to residents who have been assessed to need these services, including residents who require formal long-term care. Assisted living promotes resident self direction and participation in decisions that emphasize:
  • Independence
  • Individuality
  • Privacy
  • Dignity
  • Homelike Surroundings
Here are two definitions that are often recognized in the Assisted Living industry.

The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) defines Assisted Living as: A special combination of housing, supportive services, personal assistance, and health care designed to respond to the individual needs of those who need help with activities of daily living. Supportive services are available, 24 hours a day, to meet scheduled and unscheduled needs, in a way that promotes maximum dignity and independence for each resident and involves the resident’s family, neighbors, and friends

Victor Regnier, author of Assisted Living for the Aged and Frail, defined Assisted Living as: Assisted Living housing represents a model of residential long-term care. It is a housing alternative based on the concept of outfitting a residential environment with professionally delivered personal-care services in a way that avoids institutionalization and keeps older, frail individuals independent for as long as possible.

What is an Assisted Living Home?

Nine Essential Characteristics of an Assisted Living Home:
  1. Appear residential in character. Assisted Living facilities have the look and feel of a home. Designs are based on residential models, not hospital models.
  2. Be perceived as small in scale and size. The actual size of Assisted Living homes varies widely; however, the feel is of a small rather than large institutional setting.
  3. Provide residential privacy and completeness. Living units provide privacy, including a full bathroom and sometimes a cooking area, in keeping with the residential character.
  4. Recognize the uniqueness of each resident. Each resident is regarded and treated as a unique individual with respect to programming and services.
  5. Foster independence, interdependence, and individuality. Residents’ existing functional abilities are maximized, and dependency is minimized. Residents are provided with only the help they need.
  6. Focus on health maintenance, physical movement, and mental stimulation. Homes focus on maintaining health, encouraging appropriate exercise and stretching, and providing residents with mental stimulation in the form of activities, involvement, and activities in the home.
  7. Support family involvement. Families are involved with resident care, sharing responsibility with the assisted living home.
  8. Maintain connections with the surrounding community. Assisted Living homes strive to maintain connection with the surrounding community, rather than isolating residents from it.
  9. Serve the frail. Assisted Living serves the aged and frail, especially those in danger of institutionalization. These residents may need help only with certain activities of daily living.

Is Assisted Living Here to Stay?

Yes! Two factors support Assisted living’s secure position in the long-term-care industry:
  1. The over-85 population will dramatically increase over the next several decades.
  2. The over-85 population will need more and more assistance.
Assisted Living will evolve over the next few decades-the needs of frail seniors make that a certainty. New providers will continue to enter the marketplace and current providers will find new ways to attract residents.

Alzheimer’s – Warning Signs

Alzheimer’s disease is not just memory loss. People with Alzheimer’s disease experience a decline in cognitive abilities, such as thinking and understanding, and changes in behavior. To help you determine if you have any of these symptoms, the Alzheimer’s Association has developed a list of warning signs that include common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (some also apply to other dementia). If you have several of these symptoms, you should see a physician for a complete examination.

  1. Memory loss that affects job skills. It’s normal to occasionally forget an assignment, deadline, or colleague’s name, but frequent forgetfulness or unexplainable confusion at home or in the workplace may signal that something’s wrong.
  2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks. Busy people get distracted from time to time. For example, you might leave something on the stove too long or not remember to serve part of a meal. People with Alzheimer’s might prepare a meal and not only forget to serve it but also forget they made it.
  3. Problems with language. Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer’s disease may forget simple words or substitute inappropriate words, making his or her sentences difficult to understand.
  4. Disorientation to time and place. It’s normal to momentarily forget the day of the week or what you need from the store. But people with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost on their own street, not knowing where they are, how they got there, or how to get back home.
  5. Poor or decreased judgment. Choosing not to bring a sweater or coat along on a chilly night is a common mistake. A person with Alzheimer’s, however, may dress inappropriately in more noticeable ways, wearing a bathrobe to the store or several blouses on a hot day.
  6. Problems with abstract thinking. Balancing a checkbook can be challenging for many people, but for someone with Alzheimer’s, recognizing numbers or performing basic calculation may be impossible.
  7. Misplacing things. Everyone temporarily misplaces a wallet or keys from time to time. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put these and other items in inappropriate places — such as an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl — and then not recall how they got there.
  8. Changes in mood or behavior. Everyone experiences a broad range of emotions — it’s part of being human. People with Alzheimer’s tend to exhibit more rapid mood swings for no apparent reason.
  9. Changes in personality. People’s personalities may change somewhat as they age. But a person with Alzheimer’s can change dramatically, either suddenly or over a period of time. Someone who is generally easygoing may become angry, suspicious, or fearful.
  10. Loss of initiative. It’s normal to tire of housework, business activities, or social obligations, but most people retain or eventually regain their interest. The person with Alzheimer’s disease may remain uninterested and uninvolved in many or all of his usual pursuits.