Like many aging related issues, assisted living is a topic many families avoid talking about until an aging loved one experiences a medical emergency. Then they struggle to make decisions when stress and emotions are at their peak. This week, we have assembled a facts about assisted living for readers who may be struggling to accept their aging parent or loved one with a disability needs more care than they can provide.

1. An assisted living community is not the same thing as a nursing home.

Families often mistakenly believe nursing homes and assisted living communities are the same thing. Residents in a nursing home typically require higher levels of medical care than assisted living residents. An assisted living community provides assistance with what is known as the activities of daily living or ADLs.  Those are tasks that  can include bathing, grooming, assistance transferring to the bathroom and other personal care.

2.  Most assisted living communities are more affordable than you think.

First time visitors to an assisted living community often say that it reminds them of an upscale condominium community. They are generally very attractive and place a heavy emphasis on service and life enrichment. Because of those factors, families sometimes think they are more expensive than they really are. The truth is assisted living is significantly less expensive than a nursing home. If your loved one requires significant care (AL in MO and IL ), and it is not provided, they can even be more cost-effective than in-home care.

3. Assisted living communities are state regulated.

One popular misconception is that senior living communities are largely unregulated and that consumers should be wary. In fact, assisted living is licensed at the state level and communities undergo regular inspections to determine if they are complying with those regulations. In most states, the Department of Health is responsible for overseeing compliance.

4. Residents can decorate their own apartments.

Leaving their home of many years can be a tough transition for seniors to make. One benefit of an assisted living community is that residents can decorate their apartments to their own taste. That means they are free to bring their antique dresser or favorite recliner. A growing number of assisted living communities will also allow them to bring their small pet with them.

5. A move to assisted living community can improve quality of life.

An elderly loved one living at home alone may feel isolated and depressed, especially if they no longer drive. Moving to an assisted living community can help enrich their life. Community activities are designed to meet a variety of interests from woodworking to knitting and watercolor painting. The socialization that comes from having close neighbors of similar age and circumstances can also help to improve emotional well-being. Furthermore with a balanced healthy meal they can see improvements in overall health both physically and mentally.

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