Assisted living for seniors with disabilities

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Assisted living for disabled seniors

Disabled seniors often need specialized services and housing, as provided by assisted living facilities. However, when it comes to choosing a particular senior living community, the number of available options might seem overwhelming. There are various factors to be considered as well, including how much assistance one needs, the available budget, and personal requirements. In the following paragraphs, you can read all about this topic. As you will see, there are different types of assisted living facilities, so you might need to take some time and think about the best option for you. We will also show you how to choose the best community for your needs.

A short overview of assisted living

Assisted living communities offer residential living options for seniors, including those who are disabled, with assistance for ADLs, such as bathing, dressing, or eating. Depending on their disability, seniors can live in private or semi-private housing units, maintaining their independence for as long as it is possible. Tailored supportive services are available, in accordance with one's abilities and challenges experienced on a daily basis.

As a general rule, assisted living might represent a good option for seniors with physical disabilities. Seniors might receive help with additional daily tasks, such as grooming, using the toilet, or taking medication. Aside from housing and assistance with ADLs, seniors might also benefit from meal plans, scheduled transportation, and social activities. Support services will often include hygiene, housekeeping, laundry and linen service, mobility assistance, fall prevention, etc. Additional medical care might be available at extra cost, with local healthcare providers covering the need for such services.

I am a disabled senior - is assisted living for me?

This is a question many disabled seniors ask themselves. Life with a disability has its own challenges, but seniors might still desire to live independently. Disabled older adults might want to have the same freedoms, choices, and opportunities as their non-disabled peers. Within an assisted living community, seniors might be able to find the right balance between independence and assistance. This is especially true for someone with a physical disability, who might maintain an independent living otherwise.

It is also worth mentioning that assisted living facilities offer an adapted environment, including when it comes to housing. Someone who has been in a wheelchair for most of his/her life will welcome such adjustments, finding it easier to live a fulfilling life. However, those with mental illness might benefit just as much from assisted living, providing the respective facility can handle their unique needs. The same goes for those dealing with sensory or intellectual disabilities.

When a disabled senior expresses interest in an assisted living facility, he/she will have the opportunity to visit the campus and ask questions about the services provided. Sometimes, the family might assume such responsibilities. An initial assessment will take place to determine whether the senior in question is suitable for assisted living or not. Aside from the physical status, the specialists will consider sensory issues, intellectual disabilities, and mental illness. Based on the results of the initial assessment, a recommendation will be made to proceed with the move into assisted living.

How are assisted living communities adapted to the needs of disabled seniors?

Assisted living communities often adapt both the living environment and the general spaces to meet the needs of disabled seniors. For instance, most facilities have both ramps and handrails to facilitate the access into the respective building. If there are multiple stories, an elevator with low-placed buttons will be available. Walkers and canes are offered for residents who can still walk, allowing them to remain independent and enjoy a suitable quality of life.

Technology has also helped assisted living facilities make life easier for disabled seniors. Many of them employ the use of voice recognition products, computerized assistance programs, or touch-free devices. Modified keyboards allow seniors to operate computers, large displays are chosen for those who are visually impaired, and door knock signalers are chosen for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Dressing is facilitated through adaptive and assisted clothing. Assisted technology devices might help seniors communicate and even become more independent.

Personalized care plans for disabled seniors

You might not be aware of this for a fact, but all the seniors moving into assisted living will benefit from a personalized care plan. This will be developed in accordance with the disability, health status, needs, and challenges. For instance, the personalized care plan will take into account one's level of mobility, thought pattern and behavior, sensory impairments, and intellectual impairments. The family might be involved in the development of the respective plan.

It can be difficult for a disabled senior to make the transition from his/her home to assisted living. These plans are meant to facilitate the transition, being updated on a regular basis. The most important thing is that the resident's needs are met at all times, with the challenges experienced minimized. It is even harder to create a plan for a senior who suffers from both physical and mental disabilities, but the staff working for assisted living communities will go at all lengths to ensure a sense of normalcy. In developing their plans, they will take into account the unique situation of each senior living in their community. The main goal will be to help seniors feel safe and secure, maintaining as much independence as possible.

Services and amenities in senior living for disabled older adults

As mentioned above, disabled seniors benefit from adapted housing and assistance with everyday activities, such as toileting, grooming, bathing, eating, and dressing. They might also have access to general services, such as: housekeeping, laundry and linen service, general maintenance, meal plans, scheduled transportation, Internet and telephone access, etc. Specialized care services might include: mobility assistance, diabetes care, wound care, and incontinence care. All residents have access to limited medical care and therapy for mental health issues.

Depending on the type of assisted living facility, you might expect certain amenities to be available on the premises. Nowadays, many communities have swimming pools, gyms, and physical therapy practices integrated. Residents might also have access to occupational and speech therapy, as well as pet therapy programs. Additional amenities might include: art classes, music classes, group therapy programs, crafts, etc. Assisted living centers offer ample opportunities for social interaction, both within the community and outside. Many of them have joint programs with schools, with kids of various ages visiting the seniors regularly.

Advantages of assisted living for disabled seniors

If you were to ask any senior living with a disability about the challenges experienced, you would discover that many of them relate to him/her being alone. This is the main reason why disabled seniors might consider moving into an assisted living facility. Here, they have access to specialized staff, adapted living environments, and targeted care. Keep on reading to discover the other advantages of assisted living.

Perhaps the most important advantage worth mentioning is the assistance with ADLs. While disabled seniors might still retain some of their independence, they will experience a lot of stress in not being able to handle the tasks of everyday living. Having help can make all the difference in the world. Assisted living facilities have friendly staff, people who have been properly trained to offer their service. They are patient and understanding, taking their time with each senior. In addition, they have both the knowledge and actual experience to handle people with various disabilities.

The environment of an assisted living community is another advantage that must be highlighted. Disabled seniors have unique needs and challenges, doing best in an adapted environment. As you have seen, technology has also facilitated the assistance such facilities are able to offer. Moreover, assisted living centers are often located in beautiful locations, away from the hustle and bustle of urban areas. Seniors are encouraged to enjoy the scenic landscape, with many of the planned activities taking place in the open outdoors. In some facilities, trips to nearby towns might be organized, so as to encourage seniors to lead active social lives, despite their disabilities.

For family members, it can be comforting to know that their loved ones are doing well, living in a safe and secure environment. Assisted living facilities make the safety of their residents a top priority, employing a number of safety features to minimize accidents and reduce the risk of confusion or wandering. Elderly people with physical disabilities benefit from handrails, ramps, and other supportive elements. As for those dealing with mental illness or cognitive decline, safety features might include coded doors and elevators, color-coded hallways, and monitoring bracelets. The outdoor space might be enclosed, with the staff monitoring the residents at all times.

To ensure the security of the seniors, such facilities have guarded gates and high walls. These are simple measures to prevent certain residents from wandering, but they are also meant to prevent the access to vulnerable seniors. Special plans are developed in case of emergencies, such as fires or floods. Of course, the layout of the respective community is designed to meet the needs of disabled seniors as well. Many senior living facilities have Braille descriptions or a design that seniors can easily memorize. There is a low staff-to-resident ratio, wheelchair access, and other adapted elements to make navigating the environment less difficult.

Questions to ask prospective senior living facilities

As previously stated, disabled seniors can visit different assisted living facilities and check out their services. During the campus tour, they might be invited to ask questions, with the staff being more than happy to answer these in detail.

Here are some of the most important questions worth asking:

  • What is the acceptance policy whereas disability is concerned?
  • Does the senior living center accept seniors with both physical and mental disabilities? How about sensory and intellectual disabilities?
  • What kind of services and amenities does the ALF offer?
  • How is socialization between residents encouraged?
  • What ADLs do you offer assistance with? Are there any limitations?
  • What are some of the common reasons for which an application might be refused?
  • Does the senior living home offer specialized care? If yes, what kind?
  • What kind of assisted technology do you use?
  • How are the living quarters adjusted to the needs of the resident?
  • What kind of safety features do you employ? Can you provide several examples?
  • Does the senior living center offer additional services? If yes, are these available at extra cost?
  • Does the ALF guarantee around-the-clock care? Has the staff been trained to handle those with disabilities?

Here is why you should move into assisted living

Let's go through all the reasons why moving into assisted living is a good idea. First and foremost, assisted living communities offer around-the-clock care. The staff will provide assistance with activities of daily living and other tasks, in accordance with one's disability. For instance, those with intellectual or mental disabilities might benefit from medication management. Meal preparation services are offered, with the staff going at all lengths to make sure all residents adhere to dietary restrictions. All seniors benefit from a well-balanced and health diet.

Scheduled transportation is provided to ALF residents, so they can visit their family, go shopping, or meet the doctor appointments. Socialization is a top priority, with many of the activities organized on campus targeting social interaction. In this way, disabled seniors present a lower risk of depression and anxiety. The living quarters are adapted to their needs and challenges, with privacy being respected without exception. Safety features are employed to keep everyone safe, and all the seniors have access to medical and emergency services. In some communities, the living quarters might even have an emergency response system, which the resident can use in case of serious health events.

While it might not be easy to move into assisted living and leave your home, you have to think of the advantages gained. Assisted living facilities offer exactly the kind of care you need, along with dedicated staff, adapted living quarters, and safety features. ALFs ensure a comfortable life, with the challenges of your disability being minimized. Many seniors appreciate the fact that they are able to maintain both their independence and privacy, with ample opportunities for engagement and social interaction. The assisted living staff is friendly and caring, and there are many activities planned to keep one active.

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