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As we age, we can acquire health and physical issues that can impact our ability to live independently. In such situations, living at home—especially alone—might not be the safest option. Fortunately, planning ahead for a more suitable living environment can boost their overall quality of life. Read on to learn more about how various forms of senior living can fit positively into a balanced future and the importance of assisted living planning for a smart and healthy aging plan.
What Is Senior Living?
Senior living is a common, albeit outdated, term used to describe living environments designed for the specific needs of older adults. “Senior living allows older adults to continue to live and prosper in the safest, most appropriate environment based on their medical and physical capabilities and/or limitations,” says Ben Mandelbaum, CEO of Senior Planning Services in Lakewood, New Jersey. Some examples of specialized care housing options and facilities for older adults include (but aren’t limited to):
  • 55+ residential communities for people ages 55 and older who have the option to live in separate apartments and typically have access to community activities and other amenities
  • Home care, which includes health care or supportive care from a professional caregiver in the space in which the older adult already lives
  • Assisted living facilities, which offer housing alternatives for those who may need help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, dressing or bathing, but don’t need the type of intensive medical care that a nursing home can provide. (Sometimes assisted living facilities are part of a retirement community and other types of senior housing complexes.)
  • Nursing homes that provide more intensive skilled nursing and medical care

What Is Healthy Aging?

Healthy aging is the ability to maintain an active, healthy, independent and purposeful life over the course of your lifetime. “To stay independent, you have to be proactive at home,” says Stephen Quaning, M.D., a geriatric medicine specialist with MetroHealth in Orlando, Florida. Such proactive behaviors include taking the necessary medications you’re prescribed to control chronic conditions, exercising regularly, eating a balanced dietminimizing alcohol consumption, not smoking, getting enough sleep at night and staying socially active, all of which promote overall well-being and good health. Chronic and progressive diseases, such as diabetes and dementia, can impact activities of daily living, making it unsafe to remain at home, which is when senior living options can come into play. “Senior living can provide many benefits to a person who is dependent on care, from taking care of the daily chores of life to providing quality care and health services onsite,” says Kim Elliot, chief nursing officer at Brookdale Senior Living in Brentwood, Tennessee. “One of the biggest aspects that helps improve the quality of a resident’s life is the social aspect senior living communities can offer.”
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