Pros and Cons of Elder Care Assisted Living Facilities

There are many types of old-age care facilities available such as nursing homes and standalone assisted living facilities. Assisted living facilities have grown in popularity in the last few decades because of their amenities, which include services like housekeeping and meals, on-site medical care, and 24-hour supervision. Senior care facilities designed for the elderly offer assisted living services to people who can no longer live alone. Here are some pros and cons of these senior care facilities for seniors.

Benefits of Elder Care Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities have quite a few advantages. As a person ages, he or she may find that caring for oneself may become difficult due to chronic or acute health conditions. Sometimes the care needed does not warrant living in a nursing home, but home care may not be a viable option either.

Friends and family members may assist many seniors with various activities of daily living while they live at home, but those who are helping may become overwhelmed with multiple responsibilities or they may be unable to assist due to other reasons. Some seniors prefer not to ask friends or family members to help them with daily care or do not have anyone living near them that is able to assist.

Older adults who live at home may find the responsibilities of maintaining a home, cooking meals, managing multiple medications, keeping a yard, and finding adequate transportation to be exhausting. They may also feel isolated and lonely, particularly after the death of a spouse. Older adults who live at home alone may be frequent targets of scams to solicit money. Some seniors who live at home alone may be in an unsafe situation, such as the case of an elder who takes narcotics and another person who is addicted seeks those drugs.

Below are a few services that are offered by many assisted living facilities, although each facility may offer more or less services than those listed:

  • help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, mobility, and using the bathroom
  • meals at predictable times in a common area
  • transportation to appointments, shopping, entertainment, etc. (some assisted living facilities have on-site medical care options)
  • management of medications
  • housekeeping and laundry services
  • access to health, exercise, and wellness programs and equipment
  • socialization by living near others and through scheduled programs
  • secure environment

Here are some other benefits from elder care assisted facilities living that should be part of any family’s considerations about senior caregiving.

  • Community living
  • Professional healthcare providers
  • Ensured Safety
  • More Active Life

Disadvantages of Assisted Living Facilities

Despite the advantages, assisted living facilities may not be the best choice for every senior. Many seniors prefer to live in their own homes. They may have lived in the house since childhood and find their current living situation comfortable, friendly, and do not wish to move in late stages of life. They may find unknown environments difficult to navigate, dread parting with most of their possessions, fear further isolation from family and friends, and look at any facility as a step away from independence.

Different facilities offer different levels of care, and it is important to look at what services are offered to ensure that needs are properly met. For example, someone who has moderate dementia or Alzheimer’s disease will typically require more specialized care that may be provided at some facilities but not at others. Those who required certain medications or specialized medical care may also require a higher level of care than that offered at an assisted living facility.

Seniors who have lived alone for many years may not relish the idea of living in a facility that houses many other people. Some facilities offer semi-private rooms, and elders may find it difficult to live with a roommate. Some assisted living facilities may have certain rules that might be bothersome to a senior, such as smoking and pet policies. Schedules for meals and other activities may differ from the ones typically kept by a senior living at home.

One of the biggest drawbacks of an assisted living facility is the cost. Most assisted living facilities charge a monthly rent with fees added for additional services. At the writing of this article, Medicare does not cover the costs of assisted living facilities, and many seniors find the cost of such a facility is prohibitive. The senior may have saved money all his or her life planning to leave a legacy to children but may discover that funds can quickly dwindle when paying for care such as this.

Although assisted living facilities offer a secure environment, some employees, guests, and other residents may attempt to take items that do not belong to them. Many seniors who reside in assisted living facilities have few personal items, but they often carry a heavy sentimental value. Although infection control is a priority in any facility, seniors may be vulnerable to illness, such as influenza or MRSA, due to facility-acquired infections.

Although assisted living facilities may offer different services in different locations, many seniors find this type of living arrangement to be convenient, safe, and a welcome way to keep from being isolated that encourages their independence as much as possible.

Assisted living may not be the best fit for everyone as these facilities tend to be costly, are not covered by Medicare, and may not provide the level of care needed. Elders who have lived alone for years may be used to a routine developed over many years and prefer to stay in their own home rather than to live in a setting near others with different rules and regulations.