According to the 2013 report by the U.S. Administration on Aging, approximately 14% of the American population is over age 65; by 2060, about 98 million Americans will be 65+. With advances in modern medicine and improvements in health care, we are living longer and enjoying life more. Nonetheless, many elderly individuals need a little help with daily activities?in fact, nearly 7 out of 10 elderly Americans need long-term care. Eldercare is a growing issue that affects all of us.
What are your options for assistance? Many elders choose an adult day care facility. Adult day care is for older people who need some help with daily activities, but who go home in the evenings. These facilities differ?some are focused on social activities; others provide medical care?some do both. In general, though, an adult day care provides an opportunity for older people to socialize, and for the primary caregiver to have a respite from those duties.
Sometimes, though, senior day care isn?t enough, making assisted living a good option. Assisted living is mid-point between adult day care and a nursing home; it’s perfect for those who can?t live alone, or whose needs can?t be met by family members, but don?t need intensive round-the-clock medical supervision. Assisted living ? also called senior housing?is for residents who are mostly independent but require some assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, cooking,housekeeping, as well as physical therapy and administering medicines. Even for the most independent senior, support is available 24/7.
Living quarters in assisted living facilities vary. Usually, seniors will have their own private apartment, usually semi-furnished so that residents can bring their own possessions. Meals are usually taken in a central dining room, prepared by professional staff. Music, movies, art, and games can be enjoyed with the rest of the community. Residents enjoy an active, healthy social life in a positive atmosphere. In addition, security features and personnel make for a safe, protected environment. Many seniors are choosing assisted living; a recent report by the National Investment Center for the Senior Housing and Care Industry states that the average occupancy rate for senior housing properties was over 88% in 2011, and that number is climbing.
Remember, though, that no two eldercare communities are the same. Different services may be offered, and the cost of assisted living facilities can vary as well, depending on your needs, but averages around $3000 per month. Keep in mind that each state has its own regulations and standards for eldercare. You will certainly need to do plenty of research, and visit individual facilities, to find the one that?s right for you.
Making the decision to participate in adult day care, or to move to an assisted living facility is not easy, but it may be the key to extending and enhancing the life of senior citizens.