Our population is rapidly aging. In fact, as much as 20% of the United States could be over the age of 65. What does this mean for you and your family?
Fear of aging is one of the most common out there, exceeded stage fright and even the fear of dying. People aren’t just worried about loss of mobility or loss of their job, either, but primarily becoming a burden on their families. As a result these important conversations about assisted living and dementia symptoms are swept under the rug until the last minute, putting both sides of the fence in a bad position when time is up. Rather than cross your fingers and wish for the best, learn more about memory care homes and what they can potentially offer your loved one in the future.
Although the term ‘nursing home’ is still used, it’s becoming more common to refer to these communities as assisted living homes or memory care homes. This is due to a few different reasons, with a major one being the misconceptions surrounding nursing homes popularized by mainstream media. Many people, both elderly and younger, find themselves fearing these settings for perceived isolation and drudgery. When the United States will see one out of every five residents being retirement age in the very near future, there just isn’t any more time for these misconceptions.
First thing first — an assisted living home promotes independence and a high quality of life. The average age of retirement is around 63 years old, though personal health and financial stability can make this number shift quite a bit. A 2012 study saw around 22,200 assisted living homes and similar residences (such as memory care homes) spanning the United States. These facilities are just as varied as their residents and come in different specialties, sizes and locations to better accommodate as many needs as possible. Contrary to popular belief, assisted living homes are not just for elderly populations. They can also provide steady housing for disabled, recovering and chronically ill individuals.
Assisted living facilities can be as small as providing 10 beds to more than 100. By the time 2010 arrived the number of available beds in assisted living facilities had exceeded 10 million, a nearly 20% increase from just a few years prior. It’s estimated nearly half of all assisted living facilities will provide a form of skilled care for its residents, such as memory care for dementia. No matter what your loved one needs, rest easy knowing your options are only getting larger and larger from here. Retirement is a process that can seem daunting for all parties, but one that’s becoming better understood over time.
Loneliness, isolation and fear are very real issues many elderly people face when in need of the skill set of nursing homes. Studies, however, have shown the exact opposite over the years. A recent study saw physically active people in their 70s and 80s reporting a much slower onset of loneliness at 12%. Compare this to their more sedentary counterparts, where this number was much higher at 22%. Another survey about retirement saw nearly half of all respondents reporting being much happier in retirement than they expected. It’s important to keep in mind that, at the end of the day, assisted living homes are communities first and foremost.
Providing around-the-clock medical care, transportation resources and community activities, the transition from one home to another only gets better from here. Talk with your loved one about the possibility of a memory care facility and share with them what you’ve learned — you may find this conversation much easier than you expected.