Traditional lifestyles have evolved greatly in America over the past several decades; perhaps nowhere is this more evident in than in the senior living industry where the old stereotypes of senior communities have been replaced with model lifestyle and care environments.
“Life expectancy in America is now at an all time high, says” Kelly Foley, Executive Director at Brookdale Senior Living in Lutz, FL. “Now seniors and families have new questions about where and how seniors can find the best lifestyles and care options. But really, it’s all about knowing where to turn for help, because the services are all out there and available.”
Take, for example, activities. There are many places where senior centers offer daily programs and meals to older adults, along with a calendar of activities that include exercise, discussion groups, arts and crafts, health information and social events. For those with physical or other issues which preclude them from remaining unsupervised, there are also adult day care programs.
Many hospitals provide wellness centers, and those who have loved ones with specific senior diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s can usually find an association that provides help and answers for them.
“Beyond the traditional care outlets, today there are home health agencies, in-home and care companions and hospice care,” says Foley. “And if full time senior living is an option there is every kind of lifestyle and care option available, from independent living, to assisted living and Alzheimer’s care, skilled nursing and communities that offer continuing care within a Life Care Plan.”
The move to pursue senior living with or without care services at a rate the senior or their family can afford is often triggered by life-changing events when a decision must be made quickly. The biggest problem is– knowing where to turn for a quick education about the choices and options in the senior living network, especially where the health of the individual is an issue.
“There is no substitute for planning ahead,” says Foley. “But the good news is that there is help available for anyone who needs it. At our community we probably spend more time getting to know and advising individuals and families who are making this decision for the first time than we do working with those actively seeking to move into our community.
“It can be difficult to navigate through all the options, especially where old stereotypes exist,” says Foley. “But we’ve found that many people are just happy to get the information they need to make the right decision – and we’re happy to help them chart the best course for their families.”