happy old man smiling to young woman

Why Individualized Care Is Critical in Assisted Living Communities

No two individuals are the same.

Each and every one of us and our loved ones have our own preferences, needs, and interests.

For this reason, assisted living communities have an imperative to provide customized care suited to each resident.

In fact, the movement toward personalized care in assisted living communities has gained increased traction over the last few years.

Within this model of care, the goal is to provide the appropriate level of care based on the specific needs of the resident.

In this post, we’re highlighting three specific benefits that come with this type of personalized care.

#1: Individualized care provides stability for the resident.

Consistency, structure, and safety are all important elements of healthy aging.

If your loved one lives in an environment that does not provide these elements, he or she is more likely to feel overwhelmed, confused, and unhappy.

On the other hand, with personalized care, caregivers have a deep understanding of how to meet your loved one’s unique needs and create a daily routine and environment of ease.

Whether it be the knowledge that the same caregiver will be there every morning to assist with dressing, bathing, and other activities of daily living, or having consistent assistance at mealtime–personalized care makes a huge difference in your loved one’s daily life.

#2: Individualized care gives assisted living staff a deeper understanding of resident needs.

elderly lady laughing with caregiver

When assisted living caregivers have the opportunity to spend more time with individual residents, there is a natural process of learning that occurs.

Individualized care enables caregivers to take note of the intricacies of each and every resident’s needs, such as…

  • Knowing what a resident does or doesn’t like to eat.
  • Understanding what is most comfortable for the resident when it comes to helping him or her get dressed for the day.
  • Comprehending which social activities he or she wishes to attend.

From there, a caregiver can deliver quality care that helps the resident feel comfortable and at home in the assisted living community.

#3: Individualized care helps avoid social isolation.

Naturally, with an emphasis on personalized care comes increased social engagement between residents and caregivers.

For example, at The Ashford on Broad and The Ashford of Mt. Washington, one caregiver tends to the same resident throughout the day, including mealtime.

This allows for customized care and focused attention, as well as meaningful and lasting social engagement and bonding between resident and staff.

Whether recounting intriguing stories from the past or discussing similar interests and hobbies, the caregiver-resident relationship creates a dynamic for meaningful engagement.

Since isolation and loneliness are directly connected to a decline in the physical and mental well-being of individuals, taking steps to ensure that a resident has various opportunities for social engagement is an imperative.

If you’d like to see individualized care in action, contact us to schedule a tour of one of our Ashford communities.

We’re happy to answer any and all questions you have and look forward to meeting you in person!

pensive elderly woman on the background of autumn leaves

4 Facts About Senior Isolation That Will Surprise You

As your loved one ages, your concern for his or her physical safety and wellness may increase.

Whether it be preventing falls or ensuring that your loved one has a balanced diet, there are plenty of factors that affect his or her health.

One factor that has more impact than you may think is senior isolation and loneliness.

Aside from negatively affecting one’s mental well-being, senior isolation has also been linked to a decline in physical health.

Unfortunately, as people age, their likelihood of living alone only increases.

Whether it be the passing of friends and spouses, retirement, or an increasing lack of mobility, there are a variety of reasons why your parent may be at risk for loneliness.

Here are four surprising facts about senior isolation that demonstrate how detrimental living alone can be–even with hired help or family members that make regular visits.

#1: Suffering from loneliness elevates one’s risk of developing dementia.

From quickly recalling the names of friends from college to remembering where we’ve placed our reading glasses, losing long- and short-term memory is often a natural part of aging.

However, there’s a point where memory loss becomes more of a serious matter.

According to a Dutch study that appears in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, those who suffer from loneliness have a 64% greater risk of developing dementia.

A diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s often results in a higher safety risk and lower quality of life in general.

Being in the company of others is critical when it comes to preserving life memories, personality, and other important characteristics that dementia can deteriorate.

#2: Illnesses and conditions that increase mortality are linked to senior isolation.

Taking vitamins, following a healthy diet, and incorporating a healthy dose of physical exercise in a daily routine may not be enough if your loved one is living alone.

Environment and opportunities for social engagement are just as important when it comes to preventing disease and illness.

According to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, social isolation has been linked to a higher risk of mortality in adults ages 52 and up.

Often, this is due to a correlation between social isolation and serious illnesses–such as chronic lung disease, arthritis, impaired mobility, and depression.

In the interest of maintaining optimal health and a longer lifespan, it’s important to create conditions for social engagement and interactions.

Living among others and having easy opportunities to participate in social activities make it easy to ward off loneliness and stay healthy.

#3: People who are socially isolated or lonely are more likely to report risky health behaviors.

older lady smoking

Preparing meals and conducting other activities of daily living are an important aspect of living a high-quality and healthy life.

The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing found that people who are socially isolated or lonely are more likely to engage in behaviors such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, and smoking.

On the other hand, when people live in a community with lots of activity, they are more likely to follow healthy habits–especially when meals are prepared by others and exercise programs are just a few steps away.

#4: Socially isolated seniors are more pessimistic about the future.

Friends, family members, and acquaintances we interact with on a regular basis can easily be taken for granted.

When our social interactions are diminished, our quality of life decreases, and so does our outlook on life.

The National Council on Aging has found that seniors experiencing social isolation are “More likely to predict their quality of life will get worse over the next 5-10 years, are more concerned about needing help from community programs as they get older, and are more likely to express concerns about aging in place.”

Finding aging solutions that enable seniors to easily access a social community of peers ensures that their quality of life will only improve as time passes.

One may think that regular visits from family or caregivers at home will suffice and an assisted living community isn’t necessary, but evidence suggests otherwise.

According to T. Byram Karasu, MD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, even when a senior is being taken care of by family caregivers, there is often little attention paid to deep, engaging communication between a senior and the rest of the family.

Caregivers are often so busy and overwhelmed from their daily responsibilities that they don’t have the capacity to meet a senior’s emotional and social needs.

At The Ashford communities, residents have numerous opportunities to engage with others.

Whether it be joining their fellow residents for an exercise class or engaging in meaningful conversation with his or her caregiver over lunch, there’s minimized risk of senior isolation.

Contact us today to schedule a tour for you and/or your loved one!