Finding Assisted Living Solutions for Bariatric Patients
Finding the right assisted living community for your senior loved one can be a challenge. However, if you are looking for an assisted living solution for a bariatric senior, you may have a few different obstacles to overcome. Obesity has become a serious issue not only in the senior community, but across America as a whole. With more and more bariatric seniors in the U.S. today (as estimated 13 million) it is more important than ever that families and caregivers know how they can help these individuals get the care that they need.
Unfortunately, due to the challenges that obesity can bring, especially in terms of physical challenges, many bariatric seniors ultimately need assisted living service at a younger age than their peers who do not fall under the bariatric category. Finding the right type of care, the right services and the right accommodations can be a challenge and this is what you should be looking for as a caregiver:
Adequate Personal Living Space
This is especially important if you are relocating your senior loved one to an assisted living community, instead of someone’s home. You need to make sure that your loved one has plenty of living area, otherwise it may increase their chances of falling. Make sure there is plenty of space for your loved one to get around, and for any of their walking aides (such as wheelchairs or walkers) to get around as well. Seniors should be able to move comfortably around the home without bumping into something and falling.
This is something to look for not only in your loved one’s private quarters but in any community spaces as well.
Properly Trained Staff
The right staff can make all of the difference in any senior’s experience with assisted living. A properly trained staff is not only friendly and accommodating, but well-trained and familiar with working with bariatric seniors. Make sure that staff members know how to help a fallen bariatric senior and that there are staff members available who can help safely transfer obese training. There are many facilities that will provide additional training for staff members on bariatric transfers, it is important that you find a facility like this to ensure the safety of your loved one.
The Right Equipment
If your loved one is above a certain weight, there may be some equipment that cannot support them, such as hospital beds, wheelchairs or transfer chairs. Typically, if your loved one is 350 pounds or lighter, they will be fine with standard equipment, but heavier than that typically requires specialty items.
Other equipment to consider is lifts to help physically limited bariatric seniors as well as basic safety additions such as sturdy handrailing and safety rails in the bathrooms.
With this information in mind, make sure that you take your time to really find bariatric-friendly assisted living services. They can make all of the difference in your loved one’s quality of life and how they are able to enjoy their golden years.
Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..