In the age of choices, it can be difficult to make decisions these days. Doug Higgins, R.N., Assisted Living Nurse Manager at Friendship Manor, has some pointers for figuring out whether your loved one is in need of assisted living or independent living services.
According to Higgins, the main deciding factor is the extent to which someone can accomplish activities of daily living. These include meal preparation, feeding, dressing and bathing oneself, ambulation (moving from place to place), and otherwise being able to take care of personal needs.
While services are available to help with these activities at a certain level in independent living situations, Higgins says, “There will be a point where that level exceeds what staff can provide with those services.”
For example, residents may need to be cued to eat or take medication. “There are times when patients really don’t have the ability to deliver medication to themselves in a way that is safe and consistent,” says Higgins.
In an assisted living situation, residents can be checked on as often as every two hours, providing a level of monitoring and safety that is not available in independent living.
So really, the choice between assisted living and independent living depends on how able a person is to take care of themselves with limited additional services.
“Someone may be able to ambulate with a walker, but going to meals and such might be beyond their ability,” says Higgins. “Bathing is the same thing.”
In order to help figure out exactly how much independence someone can really manage, Friendship Manor provides formal assessments, in which health professionals go into a resident’s apartment home and score their daily activities in order to find out which level of assistance is most appropriate.
“If there are any doubts [about a family member living at home],” says Higgins, “contact a facility—or multiple facilities—to have them do a formal assessment to help make those decisions.”
While seniors should exercise as much independence as possible—“use it or lose it”—safety should always be the top concern. For questions about assisted or independent living at Friendship Manor, contact Doug Higgins at (309) 794-4171 or visit our website.