Retirement should be a time for relaxation and enjoyment, a time of rest after the working years, and time to spend with family and friends. Most seniors do not want to consider, though, that it can also be a time when they might need some form of care, particularly if they are diagnosed with a form of dementia. Dementia is never something you want to think about, yet it is one of the top ten causes of death in the United States and it currently has no cure or treatment and cannot be prevented. Caring for someone with dementia such as Alzheimer’s is difficult and often impossible with out specialist help; dementia care units play a very valuable role in helping the sufferer and the family to deal with the disease while still maintaining good quality of life an some form of independence.
Admitting the need for some form of care is not easy for most people, even after diagnosis. Research has found that twice as many seniors need long-term care as those who admit they may need it. Dementia care units and other assisted living facilities offer round the clock supervision with meals and snacks provided and other services to enhance quality of living and encourage independence. These may include managing medications, offering personal care services such as hairdressing, doing laundry and offering healthcare services. Dementia care units can help work out a care plan for dementia sufferers and ensure that family remains involved in the care of the family member even after they move into residential care.
Two of the most common chronic conditions impacting assisted living residents are Alzheimer’s and high blood pressure, with as much as three quarters having at least two of the top 10 most common conditions.In fact, Alzheimer’s is ranked sixth on the list of causes of death in the United States, with two-thirds of sufferers being female. with an increasingly raging population, the need for assisted living facilities with specialist dementia care units is growing. Options vary greatly with independent living apartments for seniors on offer along with more specialist residential care homes. Almost three-quarters of all residents in assisted living are women.
Despite the often negative perceptions of such residential care facilities, the truth is that being part of an independent living retirement community means you are more likely to try new things and make new friends, both of which result in a better quality of life and a more positive overall experience, according to ProMatura Group’s 2009 Independent Living Report. In reality, most residents are very happy in their residential communities, with close to 90% of all residents in such independent living facilities rating them as excellent or good, and almost 85% indicating they would recommend it to other people.
Given the fact that the greatest fear most (55%) seniors have is being a burden to their family should they become ill long-term or suffer some kind of health event, according to a study by Genworth Financial, talking about assisted care facilities should be easier than it actually is. The fear of being a burden is five times greater than that of dying, yet many family members feel guilty even suggesting such options. In many cases, though, there are few alternatives.
Caring for a loved one, especially with an illness such as Alzheimer’s, is extremely difficult and stressful and has been found to cause tension within other relationships such as between spouses. While financial costs are often high in a long-term care situation — one study found that an average of $8,800 in out of pocket expenses was spent by primary care givers — the emotional and psychological costs of trying to care for a loved one should not be underestimated. Close to 45% of primary caregivers noted that they had experienced increased stress with their spouse as a result of having to care for another loved one. Assisted senior living facilities offer peace of mind and the knowledge that not only is a loved one cared for, but they are also safe.
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