The United States has a rapidly aging population. In fact, projections have suggested it could be as high as 20% within the next few decades. Due to this rapid incline in elderly numbers assisted living amenities have been gradually expanding across the country to accommodate these social changes, ranging from long-term skilled nursing care to independent living facilities. Unfortunately, there are still prevelant misconceptions about the nature of assisted living and what it provides for elderly and disabled populations. While it can be a nervewracking process exploring retirement options, a little knowledge will go a long way. Let’s take a look at just how exactly assisted living facilities work and what they can do for your family.
How Common Is Retirement?
More and more Americans retire every year. The average age of retirement is around 63 years old and nearly 75% of all assisted living residents are women. While some families are financially able to support their elderly members, some struggle to meet the demands of reduced motor control, dementia and related illnesses that come with age.
Why Do People Seek Out Assisted Living?
Although a significant portion of assisted living residents are elderly, a notable part of the population are younger individuals with debilitating physical or mental conditions. More than three-fourths of assisted living residents have at least two of the 10 most common chronic conditions — the highest still remain Alzheimer’s disease and various forms of dementia.
What Do People Do In Assisted Living Facilities?
Assisted living is a resource meant to support older populations when age starts to show debilitating side-effects. Almost four out of 10 assisted living residents received assistance with three or more activities of day-to-day living, with bathing and dressing being the most common. Contrary to popular belief, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not solely hospitals — they are extensive communities that provide residents with the means of living their life to the fullest. Common everyday activities include, but are not limited to, yoga, painting, reading, golfing, knitting and fishing.
How Happy Are Assisted Living Residents?
Assisted living residents have reported a consistently high rate of satisfaction. A recent survey of MONEY readers reported half of all retirees being happier than expected in retirement. Another survey saw 81% of retirees citing good health as the most important ingredient for a happy and healthy retirement. According to the 2009 Independent Living Report by the ProMature Group, living in an independent living retirement community will encourage an individual to be more likely to make new friend and try new things.
Should I Consider Assisted Living?
If you have a loved one who is starting to show signs of needing day-to-day support, an assisted living facility can help. A study by Genworth Financial showed more than half of all respondents reporting their greatest fear regarding age, illness or an accident was becoming a burden on their family — in fact, they reported being five times more concerned about this than dying. A senior care community has around-the-clock healthcare to slow down the rate of debilitating conditions like dementia while offering transportation, community activities and mental healthcare. Consider exploring your elder care options next time your family is thinking about retirement. An assisted lifestyle, after all, is a happy lifestyle.