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Davis Journal

Assisted living centers on the rise

May 06, 2021 11:55AM ● By Jackie Kartchner

A new assisted living center is under construction in Farmington. Facilities for older adults are in demand as that population grows. Photo by Jackie Kartchner

Assisted living centers are popping up all over. Why is there an increase assisted living centers?

The baby boomer generation is turning 65 and older. According to an article put out by HUD, titled “Housing for Seniors: Challenges and Solutions,” this population will almost double in the next 20 years. “One of every three households will be headed by someone age 65 or older.”

This presents challenges because many of these older adults will have disabilities which will limit their abilities for self-care, household tasks, and mobility. Many households will have no one who is able to drive. This will limit their ability for getting services, such as a haircut, buying groceries, obtaining medications, and receiving healthcare services.

Also, many homes will need repairs and modifications to meet their physical challenges. With many seniors living on fixed incomes, these will be unaffordable. They will also find it difficult to pay for health services, especially as the costs increase. 

Communities for 55+ are an option, as well as assisted living centers. Senior citizens are typically waiting longer to move into senior and assisted living communities. This means that more of them will become frail and require assisted living.

Many advantages exist for seniors in assisted living. One is that it is less expensive than hiring a home health aide, along with all the expenses of operating a home such as utilities and food. Three meals a day are provided, along with housekeeping and laundry options. They can live in their own apartment with a small kitchenette, but share common areas. Residents can also participate in social and recreational activities, along with transportation for appointments and shopping. 

Assisted living can be a wonderful option over nursing homes, which may not be as appropriate. Patients can pay privately or qualify for a Medicaid-waiver for assisted living.

Help is given with medications and personal needs, such as dressing, grooming, and bathing. However, they can still maintain their independence. It is a comfort to families knowing that their loved one is receiving the care and help they need. 

Assisted living is significantly less expensive than nursing home care. It can also be as affordable as living in one’s own home. Home owners may be paying for maintenance services, such as cleaning and yard care. These are no longer needed when a person moves into assisted living or senior living. 

The decision to place a loved one in assisted living can be difficult, but family and friends can look for signs of readiness. Things like needing help beyond outside services, such as grocery delivery or a sloppy medicine cabinet, with pills in the wrong containers. Taking multiple medications as many seniors do, managing them becomes a challenge.

Watch for signs of depression, such as loss of appetite and weight. This can affect their performance of daily activities. They also may be withdrawing socially and showing lack of interest in things they used to find enjoyable. 

Loved ones may have trouble feeding themselves. Their hair may become dry or brittle, and their nails ridged. This can be caused by poor nutrition, with a lack of the proteins that make up hair and nails.

A senior will often have difficulty driving, shown up by dents and scratches on the car from fender benders. They also get lost more easily. Passengers in the car may see them drifting out of the lane, or straddling the lane line.

And it is important to notice the stress on the caregiver. Many of them suffer from depression themselves. assisted living can help take that stress away.

Assisted living in Utah is overseen by the Department of Health, Facility Licensing and Certification, which licenses two types of assisted living facilities (ALFs) in the state. These ALFs are classified as residences where the elderly can receive 24-hour care that maximizes their independence, dignity, choice, privacy and individuality.

A type I assisted living facility is an ALF that provides care and assistance with the activities of daily living to two or more residents who have retained enough mobility that they are able to leave the facility without help.

An assisted living facility type II is an ALF that delivers coordinated personal and health care services 24 hours per day to residents who may suffer from a cognitive impairment or a physical disability but do not require the assistance of more than one person to exit the facility.