It’s not easy having to admit that a loved one may need to apply for assisted living soon. As much as you want to take care of them yourself, daily obligations such as taking care of your children and attending your full-time job makes it extraordinarily difficult. Adding disabilities, mental illness or chronic pain to the mix? It can feel like you and your family member are all alone in this journey. The fact of the matter, however, is quite different. America’s population is rapidly aging and, in just a handful of years, as much as 20% of the country will be aged 65 or older. What does this mean for nursing homes?
Keep reading below to learn about the options available, from memory care and assisted living. Rather than fearing the transition to new homes, look forward to the increased freedom and comfort everyone will be provided for years to come.
Perhaps you’re thinking of nursing homes as lifeless and unappealing communities that the elderly and those with disabilities are sentenced to. The reality? Assisted living is the middle ground between additional care and a new life, providing millions of Americans of all shapes and sizes the resources they need. Rather than reducing independence, the combination of around-the-clock nursing staff and accessible day-to-day resources will help your loved one better manage their chronic illness and the difficulties that come with age.
The leading illness affecting the elderly in the United States is that of Alzheimer’s. It’s the sixth leading cause of death and nearly five million are living with this condition as we know it. It’s even estimated this number could rise to nearly 16 million over the next few decades. This particular form of dementia is notable for a few reasons, the most prominent being that it’s unable to be cured. It also can’t be prevented or slowed down. It can, however, be managed in the day-to-day with the support of caring staff and a comfortable living environment.
Although there are well over 100 different types of dementia, Alzheimer’s is by far the most common and the most difficult. The American government continues to expend significant time and resources toward combating this illness, with 2011 boasting an impressive $450 to Alzheimer’s research alone. When around 65% of people over the age of 65 in nursing homes have either Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia, it stands to reason assisted living homes will only become more widespread in the future.
How is the healthcare industry faring with this change in the population? According to data provided by the American Health Care Association, there are nearly 16,000 skilled nursing care centers available throughout the country. The nursing field is also in high demand, meaning you won’t have to look very far to find the ideal memory care homes to look after your family. The most common tasks that require assistance are bathing, eating, dressing and driving, though these aren’t the only things an assisted living home can provide.
Community homes are thriving collectives of like-minded individuals moving to the next stage in their life. Not only will they have regular access to nurses and healthy food, mentally and physically invigorating activities are encouraged on a regular basis. From painting to reading to golf, a nursing home is less of a change than you may think. When you and your family member are ready to consider what the future holds, take a simple tour and see for yourself what assisted living can do.
The process may not be easy, but with the changes America is already seeing it’s only getting easier.