It is a question often asked and seldom delivers a straight answer. The fact is Assisted Living has become the public’s number one choice for senior living options since the 1980s.
History of Senior Living Options
For a bit of history on this development, it was relatively long ago when nursing homes received the stigma they have today. Many seniors were passed off to “Poor Houses” from 1900 to the 1950s. These were not well-managed and hardly supported quality living standards. However, most people pass it off as a different time and frankly, the people who ended up in the poor houses were seniors who could no longer afford a home – which happened much more often than you’d think since it was a world without Medicare.
Following this, the next large improvement came with the county homes. Of course, this was around the 1950s when the baby boomers just started being born. While these were still semi-poor houses, they became started popping up in more suburban areas.
Then the following decade established some different options including rest homes and nursing homes. The rest homes were similar to independent living (retirement) communities and the nursing homes were for the people who needed additional care.
The 1980s was when Assisted Living (AL) came to the forefront providing a great deal of independence and some basic nursing care. ALs became highly sought after since they were elderly-friendly communities, meaning they were not physically demanding – very accessible. While they provide a community of peers, they also provide independence for seniors who still can take care of themselves.
Now, deep in the 2000s and 2010s, another option, Adult Family Homes (AFHs) have become more prevalent as well and the reason for this is because it provides everything ALs have to offer but on a smaller scale. They have some differences, but ultimately this is the direction the senior housing industry is moving in and it is a positive movement.
Why Choose Assisted Living?
So you may be wondering why you would choose Assisted Living for your loved one over the various other options. Well we’ve compiled a list of reasons why below:
One of the main reasons to choose AL is due to safety. This could mean that the house your loved one is currently living in is unsafe with a lot of hazardous areas around where they could hurt themselves or simply the neighborhood. FYI, this is one of the reason we’re such supporters of ALs over AFHs in some cases. Adult Family Homes are in neighborhoods, but chances are the price will be different depending on which neighborhood. ALs have 24-hour security, so you don’t need to worry, especially since all their neighbors are their peers.
- Closer to family
Often, the reason people choose senior housing (in general) is to have their seniors closer to friends and family. No surprise, the trend in the senior industry shows that people move to more suburban, less populated areas with a lot of things to do. This also makes travelling around the holidays a bit easier for everyone.
- Closer to friends/peers
It may seem repetitive, but truthfully this does deserve to be separated, especially since it continues to differentiate Assisted Living from Adult Family Homes. Many seniors may be perfectly capable of taking care of themselves in their own homes, but they may be lonely. Their neighbors may be decades younger (or older) and so they have very little in common or a sense of community. ALs are senior communities, so there’s a much higher chance of active socialization.
While Adult Family Homes do provide community (of no more than 6 residents), it does have the potential to be a grab-bag; in other words, if you don’t like the other residents, you’re stuck with them for a while.
If your loved one needs additional care, consider the Assisted Living facilities, they provide quality care and are quickly growing as the template for the future of senior housing.