The Evolution of Assisted Living/Residential Care
Pioneering institutions across the country are emphasizing the "living" in assisted living/residential care facilities, and are focusing on personalized accommodations and services as they pursue the goal of greater client satisfaction. Common assisted living/residential care services may include such amenities as: 24-hour emergency response services; three daily meals; personal care; transportation; housekeeping; and laundry services. However, an increasing number of assisted living/residential care facilities also aim to provide seniors with a living situation that caters to their active lifestyle. Adopting the motto "no two people are exactly alike," they are offering an ever-increasing variety of choices in accommodations, activities, and personalized services.
Although assisted living/residential care facilities originated in private organization-based homes, today, the emergence of chain companies allows clients to choose a facility from a range of locations while being offered a consistent level of service. These facilities offer prospective residents the choice of buying or renting apartments or villas, with extra options of reserving guest suites and seasonal rentals. In addition, clients may select the type and size of accommodation--some offer spacious layouts that may include two bedrooms, two bathrooms, living room, dining room, den, and deck.
Apart from the individualized choice of residence, assisted living/residential care communities are focusing on independence and freedom by offering a diverse roster of activities and services. Residents are encouraged to remain physically active through swimming, yoga, and other fitness classes, and are also offered a range of educational programs that may include courses in computers, investing, nutrition, or bird watching. Entertainment is often provided on-site with movies, concerts, and even concierge services.
In terms of health care, many facilities offer assistance with daily activities as required in order to enhance independence as much as possible. The resident can choose the level of care that he or she may need with the option of adding more services, as an increasing number of institutions embrace the concept of "aging in place," providing additional medical services as the client ages and requires them. As an example, basic help with medications and dressing are common services, however, if the client discovers he or she needs more skilled and personalized attention due to a medical condition, he or she may have the option of moving to the nursing wing of the residence. Some facilities even offer medical and check-in services through "at home" assisted living/residential care.
Today's seniors are more active and healthy than ever before. As our population ages, the need and desire for more personalized services will increase. Changes in assisted living/residential care facilities that promote an active and independent lifestyle are a positive indicator of the future of senior health care.