Moving into a new home is usually exciting, but it can sometimes prove emotionally challenging. The process involves abandoning parts of your past—and leaving a place where you made countless memories. Moving to an assisted living facility can be additionally tricky because it means acknowledging that we're getting older and that we might require help with certain activities.
By 2020, the national average cost for a private room in a nursing home is projected to be approximately $9,000 per month. At that rate, an extended stay in a long-term care facility could drain a person’s savings in a hurry. There are insurance products that help pay long-term care costs. But premiums can be expensive, and the policies often limit the types of care covered.
In the early 1990s, Bill and Julie Thomas began developing a new approach to elder care. Their cutting-edge method, now known as The Eden Alternative, gave nursing home residents greater privacy, independence, and control over their lives. With the goal to improve the wellbeing of older adults, The Eden Alternative aims to eliminate what Bill Thomas calls the “three plagues” commonly found in senior living facilities: loneliness, helplessness, and boredom.
Providing care for an aging family member is almost always a difficult task. The challenge is often intensified when you must be a long-distance caregiver.
Are residents of assisted living facilities forced to leave their homes when they run out of money? Are a facility’s policy decisions based on bottom-line financial results or what’s best for the residents? Answers to those questions could depend on whether the assisted living community is a for-profit or nonprofit organization.
Most senior care facilities set and follow strict itineraries, with prescribed regimens for everything from bedtime to mealtimes. But Sunset Communities subscribes to The Eden Alternative, an approach that actually encourages residents to make their own choices about their daily lives.
As many people know, animals are capable of incredible things. Whether they are saving lives as integral members of a police force, guiding the visually impaired through their daily routines, or showering those around them with unconditional affection, animals positively impact their human companions in ways that we often overlook.
So it should come as no surprise that there are many benefits to allowing care community residents to have pets reside with them. Clinical studies have shown that elders living in residential facilities with animals exhibit less stress than those who do not have a companion pet. Overall wellness is heightened for dog and cat owners, and their quality of life improves as a result.
Human contact with animals triggers an increase in serotonin production, causing a "feel-good" effect and making heart rate and stress levels drop. Lower blood pressure, increased physical activity, and reduced cholesterol have also been linked to pet ownership.
Here’s an interesting quandary: while experts estimate that today’s retirees face a 69 percent future risk of needing long-term care, six in 10 middle-aged adults consider themselves unlikely to ever require assistance living their lives. Those numbers indicate that aging adults are overly optimistic about their future living needs—and their confidence is causing many to postpone or forgo planning for long-term care.