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Level of Care Series: When Assisted Living Makes Sense

As a wise person once said, “Getting older ain’t for sissies.” Things you used to be able to do with no problem may start becoming a little difficult. You may start slowing down and feeling less confident as you navigate through tasks and activities that are exhausting, or confusing or simply overwhelming. But here’s the good news: you don’t have to do it all by yourself.

Say the words “assisted living”, and some people will balk and dig in their heels. “I don’t need that!” they’ll say. “I’m not decrepit or a shuffling old person!” And yes, that’s probably true. But that doesn’t mean that assisted living is the wrong choice, even if you’re still relatively independent. In fact, moving to assisted living may very well be the best proactive decision you could make.

What makes assisted living different from independent living? Well, first let’s start with the similarities between the two care levels. They’re both focused on choice. They’re both about clearing obstacles that are keeping you from living an active and independent lifestyle. And they’re both about providing a maintenance-free, worry-free and socially rich lifestyle that makes your senior years simply sublime.

The difference between these two care levels can be a lot – or just a little. Assisted living is the level of care “above” independent living, and is characterized by providing 24/7 care for seniors, particularly with what are known as “activities of daily living” (ADLs for short). These tasks include bathing, dressing, grooming, mobility assistance, medication management and others.

What it isn’t? A nursing home. A lot of people confuse the two, but assisted living is its own level of care with its own set of rules – which can differ state to state. But in most cases, people who are bedbound, require maximum assistance with ADLs or round-the-clock medical attention or supervision are beyond the assisted living level of care, and that’s when it’s time to look into a nursing home. If you’ve never been to an assisted living community, you owe it to yourself to check it out in person – from fitness centers to fine dining to indoor pools, it might be very different than what you’re imagining.

But again – it’s all about choice. At Melrose, our goal for assisted living residents is to help you maintain as much independence as possible

. The amount of assistance you get is your choice, and you don’t have to meet a certain “level” of need in order to live happily as an assisted living resident. You can move into assisted living even if you’re completely independent! (That’s one solution for individuals who want a place where they can age in place and have care available if and when they need it.)

So when does assisted living make the most sense? Here are some things to look for:

– You’re finding it increasingly difficult to do daily tasks like getting dressed or bathing.

– You have medical conditions that require vigilance and attention, like diabetes or a heart condition.

– Keeping up with bills, home repairs and other tasks has become overwhelming.

– You worry about what will happen if you have a fall and can’t get to the phone.

– You’re tired of worrying about having a fall or incident that will force you to move away from your home and into a “nursing home.”

– You’re socially withdrawn from friends and family and are lonely – it’s just too much work to get out of the house.

– You want the peace of mind of knowing that someone is available 24/7 if you ever need anything.

-You have a long-term-care insurance policy that will kick in for assisted living – potentially saving lots of money compared to home health care or independent living.

We get it. Getting older is tough, but it doesn’t have to be a struggle. Melrose believes that just because you need a little extra help doesn’t mean you should slow down. Assisted Living is there to make it easier for you to do the things you want to do, whether that’s make friends, enjoy a favorite activity or relax with a delicious meal that you didn’t have to cook. As we said before … it’s all about choice!

Intrigued? Melrose Meadows is an award-winning Independent and Assisted Living community in the heart of Iowa City. Give us a call at 319-341-7893 or email to chat about your needs and how we can help!

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