February is National Senior Independence Month which was established to not only help seniors maintain control over their own decisions, but also to encourage them to look at their living situation and decide if they need to make lifestyle changes.
While staying in one’s own home is considered to be a key part of maintaining independence, many seniors are rethinking what independent living really means and how best to maintain a better quality of life going forward.
Independence remains an important consideration for older adults, yet over the past year during the pandemic, it is clear that what seniors may need and want to maintain their independence has changed. As we move forward into 2021, this is an especially good time to consider that in some cases, there is more independence for a senior in a rest home than living alone in the home.
Consider these top ten reasons why a rest home may actually enhance independence for seniors.
Less isolation or boredom
Many rest homes offer activities that appeal to all that are hard to ‘schedule’ consistently for a senior on one’s own. The chance, in good weather, for older adults to spend time outside in our garden or taking short walks to the nearby coffee shop or the national park across the street can become a healthy and social habit. Additionally, book clubs and knitting groups and activities or games that promote discussions and help keep the mind sharp are part of a daily or weekly schedule, and not just an occasional thing as it might be in the home.
Activities and brain games slow cognitive decline
Communities have access to “brain training” resources and brain games designed to slow cognitive decline. These kinds of brain games are a favorite of our residents. The Brookhouse Home also has a full-time activities director who arranges for a number of visitors from dance groups to musicians to speakers on topics from current events to discussing Salem’s history.
Minimizing fall dangers and maximizing senior safety
Keeping seniors healthy and safe is a priority for assisted living communities. In particular, senior living minimizes fall dangers. In fact, falls remain the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Rest Homes like ours are designed for accessibility and mobility, with ramps, flat thresholds, and hallway hand railings. Raised toilets, especially designed walk-in showers, and grab bars in bathrooms also reduce the likelihood of falls.
Preventative and healthy medical attention
If an adult is independent when they move in, but needs more care as they age, that assistance can be arranged in house or with outside agencies. Health-related benefits include some caregiver aid, and medication management to keep track of prescriptions. Assisting with telemedicine or off-site doctor’s appointments, as well as 24 hour on-call trained staff on site, helps with preventative care as well.
Security is always available
Elderly people aging in their homes bear the responsibility for checking smoke detectors, installing carbon monoxide alarms, and replacing fire extinguishers. In the event of an emergency — like a tornado, earthquake, or fire — they might have to find safety on their own. Rest Homes like the Brookhouse have disaster plans and staff prepared to help seniors in case of emergency.
On-call staff provides rapid response in medical emergencies
Emergency call buttons in senior communities like ours are used to notify staff in case of falls or injuries. This means seniors don’t have to worry about struggling to contact help or waiting to be found after a medical event at home. With designated caregivers available 24/7, someone’s always there in case of an emergency.
A remedy for loneliness
Loneliness can lead to depression, high blood pressure, and early mortality in seniors, according to research from University of Chicago. It is increasingly clear, especially after this past year’s pandemic, that we have all been lonely and isolated. Assisted living communities and rest homes offer social outlets for all personalities.
Healthier habits and routines
Elderly adults have unique fitness and nutrition needs. Living at home, the task of preparing healthy, balanced meals and organizing transportation to fitness classes or physical therapy falls to seniors or their family members. At a rest home exercise classes are factored in to maintaining a good quality of life.
Dining services provide variety and nutrition
All-inclusive dining takes the guesswork out of cooking healthy meals, and it saves seniors and family members from the stress of specialized diets. Assisted living communities and rest homes offer dietitian-approved meals for diabetic diets, high cholesterol, and more.
On-site exercise classes offer a fitness routine
Rest Homes like ours offer supervised, safe exercise programs for seniors of all abilities. Physical activity keeps aging adults healthy longer, improves cognitive function, and is a great social outlet.