Moving to assisted living is a big decision that is usually taken after months or even years of deliberation. Seniors often face challenges that most younger people don’t even consider. Aside from the regular challenges that come with simply being a senior, some elderly adults also have to deal with mental or physical disabilities.
Seniors who are handicapped, disabled, or mentally disabled have spent their lives facing unique challenges that most people don’t think about or even understand. In spite of these challenges, most seniors with disabilities still want to live as independently as possible for as long as they can. It might surprise you to know that more than a quarter of seniors over the age of retirement have some form of disability and that percentage jumps to 50% after the age of 75.
The most common disabilities seen in seniors tend to revolve around their mobility. This can be as simple as trouble walking on their own or as serious as being bound to a wheelchair. Mental disability is also found in seniors, though perhaps less common than physical impairments. This can include mild or partial retardation, slow mental facilities due to a condition or even an accident suffered at some point in their lives, or other forms of mental disability. There are many other disabilities that affect the elderly, and while many are able to remain at home as they age, sometimes moving to an assisted living community is a safer choice.
Assisted living facilities are long term care homes for adults who have special needs. In most cases, these types of homes house elderly residents, though, any adult may enroll in an assisted living facility if their needs qualify them for care. Many assisted living communities cater to seniors who suffer from memory conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and some go as far as being called memory care facilities due to the fact that they provide only care for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Assisted living provides non-skilled care such as help with cleaning, bathing, medication administration, and meals. There are facilities that also cater to adults who are mentally disabled, physically disabled, or both.
Assisted living communities in general offer supportive care for elderly adults who can no longer live safely on their own. These communities have many different layouts, some are dorm-style, while others may be private and semi-private senior living apartments. Regardless of the setup, caregivers provide dedicated assistance to each resident as well as prepared meals and other community services.
The United States Census Bureau categorizes a disabled senior as a person who has trouble performing activities of daily living on their own. While this is a government definition, there are many who don’t conform to the mold. For example, a person who is wheelchair-bound has an obvious disability, while there may be other seniors who have chronic pain as a disability, which is not readily visible.
Mental disability comes in various forms and severities, in fact, there are no two seniors who will experience their disability in the same way. Seniors who need special modifications or very specific arrangements in order to live a full life are technically disabled. In the past, it may have been hard for seniors with mental or physical disabilities to find a spot in an assisted living community. Ever since the American Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, state and local cities have been obligated to make housing available for all who are considered to have a disability. Since Title II of the ADA passed, the number and variety of senior living homes for elderly people with mental and physical disabilities have increased.
Disabilities are impacting seniors in a wide variety of ways and they also have different degrees and stages. There are four main categories that can be used to classify senior disability. These are general and do not define all types, degrees, or variation of senior disability that exists.
While all categories present a challenge for seniors, only two of them affect enrollment in an assisted living community. Seniors who suffer from a physical disability or a sensory disability will need to choose a specific type of assisted living home that is properly set up to accommodate their needs.
The vast majority of assisted living facilities are able to accommodate seniors with impaired mental facilities, and there are even whole communities dedicated to their care. Some assisted living arrangements for seniors with disabilities include; handrails, wider walkways and ramps, tensile stimulation for the visually impaired, and text and flashing lighting for deaf or hearing impaired.
Assisted living communities are created to care for the seniors in our lives who require dedicated assistance with their regular routine. This can be as simple as help taking medications on time or even intermittent nursing care. For seniors who suffer from a mental or physical disability, the transition from home to an assisted living facility can be difficult. A facility that is staffed by patient caregivers and those set up to meet their specific needs can ease the transition and help them return to a sense of normalcy much quicker.
There is a lot of information out there that deals with senior living, but not very much that addresses assisted living for both physically disabled adults and mentally disabled adults. A disabled senior may have behavioral, physical, or mental limitations that classify them as being afflicted with a disability. In general, seniors will face more restrictions as they age in relation to mobility, caring for themselves, or even attending to their health. Assisted living communities are the support structure disabled seniors need when they are no longer able to live alone.
Mentally and physically disabled seniors are often cared for by their family members, but there are times when it is no longer the best option. Taking care of a loved one who is aging can be difficult, and caring for one who also has a disability can be exhausting. At times, this can lead to stress, ill feelings, burnout or other undesirable outcomes. Many times, families will forgo their own happiness to ensure that their senior loved one is given the full support they need to thrive. Assisted living homes for the mentally or physically disabled can provide a lifeline to families in need of respite.
Specialized assisted living communities for disabled seniors will give them the care and attention they deserve. Despite being an assisted living community, the caregivers will work to help seniors maintain as much independence as possible while remaining in a safe and secure setting.
Assisted living communities come in all sizes, configurations, and even denominations. If you are looking for a senior living facility that matches your faith, or the faith of your loved one, you can check faith-based assisted living for more information. All assisted living homes are intended to be happy places that are socially engaging for seniors while still offering them a wealth of supportive features. Homes that offer specific care for disabled seniors should also offer the same services, but more refined to meet the specific needs of seniors with disabilities.
Staff, security, and caregivers should be trained in the proper care of seniors who suffer from disabilities. Assisted living homes do not offer skilled nursing care, but taking care of an aging senior and caring for a senior with a disability are vastly different. Ask about certifications and training during your visit and make a point to stop by unannounced to observe resident and staff interaction. The caregivers should be very patient, understanding and gentle with seniors, and even more so with those who suffer from disabilities.
Disabled seniors often are faced with more health concerns than typical seniors. It is a good idea to choose a location that is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Assisted living homes that are located in safe areas that feature scenic landscapes and lower levels of pollution are ideal. Many seniors lead active social lives, even those who have disabilities. Moving into an assisted living community should not mean giving up their social life. Look for an assisted living location that is not too far away from the senior’s friends as well as one that is nearby other businesses and shops.
It is important that your loved transition well into their new home. In order to do so, they will need to be able to mesh with their fellow community members. Take some time to get a feel for the location and its residents to better understand the views and the atmosphere of the community. Ask about social events, planned activities and other planned programs that residents are able to attend. Even though your loved one may have a disability, they will still want to enjoy their time in their new home.
Security is also important. Any home for disabled seniors should offer high-quality security for all of their residents. This may be in the form of security staff on-site or guarded gates and high walls. This not only will prevent residents from wandering, but it will also prevent unauthorized people from gaining access to vulnerable seniors. Security also extends to resident safety. There should be handrails, guided directions around the facility, smoke detectors, and more.
The design of the assisted living home should be suitable for the needs of the residents who will enroll. Seniors who have mobility issues will benefit from larger walkways, handrails, and elevators. Those who suffer from an issue with their vision will benefit from simply laid out locations that have a design that is easy to memorize and one that features Braille throughout the facility. Seniors who suffer from cognitive or mental disabilities will best be served in locations that are quiet, have soft round corners, and also offer a lower staff to resident ratio. The look of the facility should be attractive and well thought out. Wheelchair access, strong security, and aesthetics should all work together without making the residents feel institutionalized.
It is common for families to ask: “What is the best way to find disabled seniors assisted living near me?” The first part of your journey on the road to locating reliable assisted living facilities for disabled seniors is making a list of locations nearby. When searching for senior living communities, make sure to search specifically for those that offer care for disabled seniors.
You can find a list of homes by searching online, through your local yellow pages, or even by reviewing retirement guides. Most cities will have an Area Agency on Aging office. This is a great resource for families and seniors who are looking for information about long term senior care.
In many states, assisted living communities that care for disable seniors must be licensed. The state licensing agency will be able to give you a list of locations that hold valid documentation and who are also in good standing. Never underestimate the benefits of taking advice from your friends, co-workers, or even people in your religious circles. Chances are they either have a loved one who is living in an assisted living home already or they have already started researching locations themselves. The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging is another amazing resource for locating senior care for disabled people.
Any time you are considering moving into a senior living facility, it is important to visit the location in person. It is especially important when the community will be caring for your loved one who suffers from a disability. Seniors are a vulnerable group in society, as are those who are disabled. It is important to make sure that the location you choose is able to offer safety, quality care, and compassion for their residents. The right atmosphere can greatly improve your loved one's quality of life regardless of their disability.
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