For many adults today, a moment comes when they need to make a decision about their future living arrangements. This typically means choosing between staying in their current home or moving to a new home, such as an assisted living facility. Today's assisted living facilities are entirely different than their earlier predecessors and more and more senior adults are choosing to move to these facilities on their own at a younger age. There are other seniors who need a little coaxing from family and friends to transition to a senior living facility.
No matter whose idea it may be, there are millions of families that discuss the idea of assisted living each and every day and one of the biggest questions that parents tend to have is when the right age for assisted living may be. The truth of the matter is there is no one right age to transition to assisted living. Every person and every situation is different. There are some adults who choose to transition at a younger age around the time when they retire, while others may wait until they are in their 80s or 90s. There is not a right or wrong time.
Looking at recent statistics from the American Health Care Association, it shows that while over half of assisted living residents are 85 years or older, approximately 27 percent are between the ages of 75-84. There is also an increasing number of individuals under the age of 65 with 11 percent of the total population being younger than the average retirement age, and the percentages of this demographic are only growing. The bottom line is, there is no one magical number that represents the right time to enter into assisted living.
However, when it comes to answering this rather complex question about the right age to move into assisted living, there are some resources about making this transition that can help families and seniors make the right choice for them.
Why More Seniors Are Moving to Assisted Living at a Younger Age
While some seniors may be hesitant to move to an assisted living facility, there are others that are making the decision to move at a younger age and they are making the decision on their own. This is because the entire atmosphere of many assisted living facilities has changed, and the stigma surrounding these assisted living facilities has changed with it.
Seniors are seeing first-hand that transitioning to an assisted living facility can provide them with a great opportunity to enjoy many social activities, plenty of activities, opportunities to take fitness classes, help with their daily living activities, assistance with tasks such as cooking and cleaning, all while still having the ability to maintain some independence. The bottom line is, many seniors are moving at a younger age, because assisted living can be fun and it can bring value to their lives. Take a step on to some of the assisted living properties available today and you will see facilities that look more like resorts, posh gated neighborhoods and spa-like retreats instead of what many people perceive to be a "home."
Many of these new facilities are not only offering more and more options for seniors and transitional communities that grow with seniors, but they are also specialty assisted living facilities designed specifically to fit the needs of today's seniors. New specialty communities such as LGBT assisted living facilities are now popping up in cities and towns across the country, specifically so seniors can live the lives they want in comfort during this new stage of their lives.
Signs It May Be Time for Assisted Living
There are some seniors that will make the decision to transition to assisted living on their own, while there are others that need a push from their friends and family members. Senior loved ones may need to be on the lookout for different signs that it is time to transition to this type of care. Here are some of the most common signs that it may be time for assisted living.
- Experiencing aggression or agitation in the evening. This is sometimes also called sundowning.
- Showing signs of being unable to cook or clean without assistance.
- Exhibiting home safety concerns or signs of dangerous home habits such as setting fires in the kitchen or leaving candles on when leaving the home.
- Unexplained wandering both inside and outside of the home.
- An inability to shower or groom without assistance, or signs that the senior has not bathed in days.
- Signs of struggle with dressing or changing clothing.
- Showing an interest in assisted living.
- Exhibiting signs of depression, loneliness or isolation.
- An inability to drive a car safely that keeps seniors in their home for days at a time.
- Early signs of dementia or severe memory loss.
Loved ones should keep these signs in mind as they can be signals that it is time to consider the move to an assisted living facility.
Making the Choice
There is no one right age to transition to assisted living and no matter who is making the choice or how old the senior in question may be, making the move is a difficult one. It can be a tough choice for any senior and their family, but it is one that many seniors need to make at one point or another.
No matter whose choice it was, when it comes time to move to assisted living, it can be a difficult move for any senior. Routines change, way of life changes, friends change, everything is different in assisted living. Some changes are very positive and easy to adapt to and others can be more difficult. However, in the end no matter what age seniors are when they move to assisted living, it is important to recognize the great benefits that come with moving to one of these facilities. They can help keep seniors safe and healthy and help them maintain an active social life. Most importantly, these communities are designed with seniors' best interests in mind and are a very positive step forward as older adults enter into a new phase of their lives.
Take the time to discuss the idea of assisted living and make sure to remember what to look for when touring an assisted living facility to ensure it is the right place. When you do, you can be confident your loved one will enjoy a smooth transition to life in assisted living, no matter what age they may be.