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Safe and Supportive Lodging
Assisted Living Offers more than a Roof over the Head

Assisted living facilities' purpose is to give older adults a safe, secure and supportive environment while addressing the daily needs of the resident. The home or place and its importance is well documented, especially for older adults. Residents develop deep ties to assisted living residences over time. As health declines and independence become less, older adults count on these ties and bonds to help control and predict their environment when other areas are increasingly out of their control.

Housing change seems like a loss of independence for older adults. Assisted living is more about making life easier than giving up independence, plus it adds the safety and security features that living alone loses. Acknowledging limitations like the decline of health, the weakening of dexterity and mobility, the inability to manage upkeep of a house and driving; accepting assistance enhances the regular independent routines longer.

Senior Safety and Security

Physical care is important for seniors' safety, security, and well-being. Assisted living gives the level of care and supervision for older adults who are unable to live alone, yet who do not need 24-hour health care.

They're designed to provide peace of mind and quality of life. The safety and security benefits are integral to the overall satisfaction of a resident's experience. The staff ensures an older adult's safety.

Technology installed at the facility, in the apartments and rooms, gives seniors the extra secure feeling for overall well-being. Examples of this technology may include:

  • Emergency call systems in each resident's living space
  • Automated medication management
  • Round-the-clock security
  • Nurse call systems for unexpected issues
  • Fire detection and protection equipment, including visual signals with alarms

Senior Housing Addresses Loneliness and Isolation

Assisted Living offers inclusion for lonely seniors
Assisted Living offers Inclusion

As people age, getting out of the house due to mobility issues becomes difficult. The result is isolation, putting seniors at risk for depression and other mental health problems. Friends, family, and neighbors are busy with work or family commitments, or the neighborhood is not equipped with ease of mobility like public transit. Face-to-face human connection diminishes, and depression increases.

Late-life depression affects about 6 million Americans age 65 and older. But only 10% receive treatment for depression. The reason is that the elderly often display symptoms of depression differently and it is confused with the effects of multiple illnesses and the medicines.

A study conducted at Harvard Medical School followed nearly 45,000 people who had heart disease or were at high risk of developing it. Over four years, the researchers tracked the participants' health and found that those who lived alone were more likely to die from heart attack, stroke or other heart-related problems than those who lived with others.

Loneliness is detrimental and affects the body physically and a person's behavior. Feeling isolated triggers brain chemicals and hormones that increase inflammation in the body, for example, which exacerbates heart disease and arthritis. Loneliness leads to poor sleep, depression, a disinterest in one's own health care which contributes to disability and early death. Read the full article on How Feeling Lonely Can Shorten Your Life.

Living Spaces

Assisted living facilities address the distinctive needs of residents. Every community helps residents enjoy a full life through a variety of living options. Apartments, rooms, and individual units provide privacy, allowing a resident solitude.

They vary in sizes from 100+ beds, 16+ beds to smaller care homes with 4 to 6 beds. Most are non-medical facilities that provide private or shared rooms, private or shared bathrooms, one, and two-bedroom apartments, couples apartments, condominiums, studios, and cottages. They serve persons 55 years of age and older.

How Assisted Living Creates Inclusion

Peer networking - Senior housing gives a built-in social network while providing structured activities like fitness classes, arts, book clubs, field trips, cooking classes, theaters, concerts and more.

Transportation - If driving becomes uncomfortable and limited public transit exists, it's harder to have a social life and visit others, go to activities, or make doctors' appointments.

Accessibility - Most residents feel safe coming and going at different hours of the day. It's ideal if the facility has good access to the larger community or at least close enough to walk. Outside places frequently visited are the library, a local college, concerts, theater, shopping and medical services.

On-site amenities - People require close friendships to thrive. Having a sense of belonging and companionship is imperative. Assisted living facilities build camaraderie and fellowship through on-site group activities like swimming and aquatic classes, golf, Jazzercise and Zumba, concerts, and social events.

Evolving Senior Housing

Today's seniors want more than just a place to feel safe and secure which is the traditional definition of assisted living. Senior housing caters to the G.I. and Silent Generation but they're pressed to cater to discriminating adults wanting more than just three meals a day.

Some senior housing developers keep a close watch on the younger senior market. They're finding new opportunities and insights into growing possibilities. College campus housing, urban living, new wellness facilities, and even plastic surgery clinics host the future of amenities that cater to the younger market.

Boomers and younger seniors want every option, whether it's home care or assisted living, and they want to design and customize care, their way. They want their Starbucks and to drink it too.

Carol Marak
Carol Marak

After seven years of helping her aging parents, Carol Marak has become a dedicated senior care writer. Since 2007, she has been doing the research to find answers to common concerns: housing, aging and health, staying safe and independent, and planning long-term.