Assisted Living Homes have become very common in the United States. Even though, a few schools of thought in our society are highly critical of this way of living, elders who are unable to take care of themselves have no other option but to choose an assisted living facility to fulfill their needs.
What exactly does such a facility do? Even if you have never heard of assisted living, the term itself gives away the idea. Say, for instance, you have a relative who needs constant help to do even the basic personal tasks like changing clothes, bathing, washing hands, taking medications etc. If this relative has no one to aid him with these chores, he can choose to live in an assisted facility. This facility hires helpers who then give a hand to these elders in bathing, changing and doing most of their personal work.
However, these facilities and their administrations tend to create an impression that they are providing care and help round the clock when that is hardly the case. In fact, in most facilities, help is minimized to a few hours a day only, during which the resident is told to cram all their tasks that they want done.
With limited staff on duty and with a motto to only ‘assist and not nurse’, assisted living homes have recently been criticized for not showing enough and adequate care for residents.
Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes
By the sound of them, assisted living and nursing homes both seem the same i.e. homes for elderly residents who need help. However, there is a wide difference in the kind of care they provide, which is unknown to most family members who decide to leave their elders in one of these facilities without pondering over the best one.
The same mistake was made by a son who wanted to leave his mother in an elderly home so she could get some help with her chores. However, he failed to realize that it was important to match the kind of care his old mother needed with the level of attention and care each of these facilities was ready to provide. The documentary that told his story went on to elaborate the guilt and regret the son feels even today for not making the best possible decision for his mother.
The only way to ensure one does make the right decision is to have a thorough understanding of what each facility does and what is suitable for the elder under your care. For instance, if the elder does not only need care and assistance but also requires 24/7 medical help, a nursing home is a better fit because qualified nurses are on regular duty. Unlike an assisted living home where only physical help is given, a nursing home is required to carry out regular checkups and report any signs and symptoms of illnesses or delayed response.
Therefore, had this individual’s mother been in a nursing home, he and the doctors on duty would have been informed of the pressure ulcers forming on her back, which went unnoticed at the assisted living home and later became the cause of her death.
The economic pressure to work at maximum capacity and have all beds full plagues every nursing home and assisted living center. Therefore, the owners of these facilities always want to take in patients and residents without caring much of the criteria needed to be followed for resident’s admission. Nonetheless, the responsibility of making the right choice of living for your loved ones falls on your shoulders and so does the regret for failing to do so.