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Assisted Living Facilities ? What Are They?

Assisted Living facilities are generally for person's 60 years of age and older. Typical candidates need assistance with "Activities of Daily Living" (ADLs), but wish to live as independently as possible. Assisted Living communities exist to bridge the gap between seniors that can live independently and skilled nursing homes.

Assisted living facilities provide helpful services such as:

1. Eating,

2. Bathing,

3. Dressing,

4. Grooming,

5. Laundry,

6. Housekeeping,

7. Assistance with medications.

While Board and Care facilities are usually in a private residential home, Assisted Living facilities are larger structures often arranged as senior living communities. These communities can contain as many as 400 residents or as few as 25 seniors. Residents of assisted living communities usually meet in a dining room together with other residents for meals.

A person designated as the 'Activities Director' oversees a key area in the assisted living community - Social activities. The Activities Director typically arranges daily options for residents including outings, crafts, dances, music, educational classes, seminars, and other opportunities. All activities are designed to encourage physical and mental stimulation.

Assisted Living facilities create a care plan for each individual resident upon admission. The care plan details the agreed upon personalized services required by the resident and guaranteed to be provided by the facility. The plan is updated regularly to assure that the resident receives the appropriate care as his or her condition changes.

Assisted Living communities are closely involved in the health needs of their residents. They often have a person designated to oversee this called a 'Health Care Director'. They coordinate the monitoring of health related issues involving medication, diet, personal hygiene, socialization and mental acuity to assist the senior and their family as they interact with health care professionals. If a decline is noted in a specific area, family and health care professionals are consulted by the Health Care Director to resolve issues. Often, because of their experience, unexpected emergency health issues are avoided, as signs of a decline recognized and acted upon early.

Residents can live at 'Assisted Living' communities for many years, even as their health declines considerably. Many offer hospice care and end of life assistance. If you are considering senior care options, assisted living facilities are definitely an option worth looking into.

Alex Jensen is with http://www.careplacement.com - a free placement service for Southern California. Care Placement's staff can review your care requirements to determine whether skilled nursing care, assisted living facilities or board and care homes are a viable option for seniors.

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