What’s it like in an assisted living community?
By Patricia Laugavitz, MSM, Executive Director at The Inverness at Spartanburg
Because it’s natural to feel uncertain about a new environment — especially if you’ve never lived in an assisted living community before — I’d like to give you an insider’s view of what it’s really like.
I often hear three concerns from prospective residents. First, many are apprehensive about making new friends. Second, many think that their days might be overly regimented and scheduled. Third, downsizing from a private home to a 300-square-foot apartment can be quite a transition.
While it’s true that downsizing requires some adjustments, our residents tend to grow accustomed to the huge upsides that come with moving into an assisted living community far more quickly than they thought they would.
One pleasant surprise for many is how much they enjoy the social aspects of living among peers of the same age. Loneliness is a hardship that too often goes undiscussed, but it can absolutely erodes our quality of life.
At The Inverness at Spartanburg our activities director always makes sure our residents have plenty of fun activities planned every day. From arts and crafts to bingo and exercise classes, there’s always something fun to do.
According to Consumer Affairs Magazine, more than 14.7million people over the age of 65 live alone, and 9.7 million of those are women. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation can increase the risk of dementia by 50%. Other health risks related to loneliness include:
- Stroke: Risk increases by 32%
- Heart disease: Risk increases by 29%
- Mental health disorders: Risk increases by 26%
- Premature mortality: Risk increases by 26%
As far as your daily schedule is concerned, assisted living isn’t as regimented as some may believe. Daily meals in the dining room are scheduled, and there are optional scheduled activities that many enjoy, but most of your day is yours to spend how you like.
Many of our residents’ days begin with a visit from our med tech who dispenses their medications as required by their doctor, although medications will also be administered throughout the day depending on your doctor’s orders. The community receives your doctor’s medication orders and the pharmacy fills your prescriptions, which are administered by our med techs. The same is true of over-the-counter medications. They’re also ordered by your doctor and kept in our medication cart, which ensures that the proper dosage comes at the correct time every day.
Some residents prefer to administer their own medications. If your doctor signs off on it, you’ll be allowed to keep your own over-the-counter medications in your room in a lock box so you can make sure it’s secured when you’re not in your room.
Care associates also come to you in the morning, during the day and when you’re ready to go to bed to assist you with bathing, dressing and toileting as needed. Each of our apartments are equipped with pull cords and many of our residents wear pendants equipped with an electronic button. If you need assistance at any time, you simply pull the cord or press the button.
Our Life Enrichment Directors schedule activities every day. Activity programs are a great way to find likeminded people who enjoy the same activities you do. The programs include art and craft classes, entertainment and games, exercise, and religious services. One of our residents’ favorite activities is taking our community bus on shopping trips and meal outings. But not all our activities are organized. We offer self-led activities like surfing the web on your laptop, card games, reading and puzzles.
Our activity department also leads Resident Council, which focuses on resident rights, safety concerns, meal concerns and the overall state of the community.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily in our dining room. Our dietary manager plans these meals two weeks in advance with input and menu chats with residents because we want to make sure you enjoy your meals. Mealtimes and weekly menus are posted. Residents are encouraged to eat in the dining room, but you can choose to have your meals brought to your room. There is a delivery fee for this service unless.
Our staff can accommodate your dietary requirements. If you find yourself struggling to use utensils or chew your food our occupational and speech therapist will work with you to determine the best course of action. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate tube feeding.
Our community partners with physician groups to meet your needs including issuing orders for rehabilitation services including physical, occupational and speech therapies. Our nurse practitioner visits the community at least once week for residents who have signed up for this service. We also have our own pharmacy although you can choose to use another pharmacy to fill your prescriptions if you choose. Other services offered include mobile podiatry services, mobile dental services, hair stylists and manicurists as well.
Having these services onsite allows you the convenience to spend time doing what you want rather than driving to medical appointments.
You can live however you’d like. Your apartment can be furnished or unfurnished. If you’d like it furnished, we’ll provide a bed, nightstand and dresser. Of course, you’ll need to bring your own sheets, towels, toiletries, television and any medical equipment you need.
Our onsite maintenance department is available for repairs, paint and upkeep. Housekeeping and laundry services are also provided once a week for each resident.
The fact is moving into an assisted living community’s a lot like being on a permanent vacation. We’ll take care of everything from meals and entertainment to medical care and maintenance so that you can live your best years with quality.
It’s a great feeling knowing that our amenities allow you to spend time with friends and family while doing what you like in a home environment. Drop by for a tour, we’d love to show you around!