Ask any well-intentioned adult child what exactly they want out of their search for assisted living and they will almost always respond in some form that they just want their loved one “to be happy”. That is the ultimate goal isn’t it? Unfortunately, many do not know exactly how to go about finding that perfect assisted living location for mom or dad. Transitions Assisted Living is happy to reveal to you their winning formula for resident placement and happiness.
Though it’s difficult to determine their origin, medical professionals overwhelmingly agree on the following “6 dimensions of wellness”:
If the happiness of your loved one is paramount, you would do well to keep each of these in mind during your assisted living search. These are your roadmap to finding the perfect assisted living location. Let’s take a closer look at them.
There isn’t a medical professional worth their weight in salt that believes physical activity is not a major contributor to health and wellness. Take stock of what your loved one enjoys doing and the extent to which they can be active. What motivates them to move? Maybe they like to go for walks. There are facilities and locations that have ample room to walk around and even outdoor walking tracks. Maybe they enjoy putting. There are locations with putting greens as well. Remaining active cannot be understated for both physical and mental health so make sure the location you choose has active opportunities that your loved one shows interest in.
Brain stimulation is extremely important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Consider your loved one’s creative outlets or interests as it relates to their mind. Do they like learning new crafts or painting? There are facilities that offer related classes. Do they enjoy games or stimulating conversation? Consider a location that has like-minded residents. Simple conversation alone promotes critical thinking and creativity skills. Does the facility you are considering look as though your loved one would get the intellectual wellness they need?
The move to assisted living can be an emotional time of change. As a result, your loved one’s emotional wellness has much to do with you as a family and the caregivers/administrators of your assisted living facility of choice. That being said, be discerning in your facility consideration. Ask yourself, “Are these caregivers smiling?” And “Do these residents appear happy?”. Ultimately you want caregivers who consider the feelings of their residents and treat them with respect and dignity. The family’s role cannot be understated here either. Your frequent visits can accomplish more for your loved one’s emotional health than any other single thing. So, provide your loved one an emotional outlet and commit to visiting as often as possible.
The resounding sentiment in the medical and psychological community is that people who have more meaningful social relationships are healthier, happier, and even live longer. This reality makes a strong case for the popularity of modern assisted living. If your loved one’s mobility is declining, it is safe to say their opportunities for social interaction are as well. Many of our elderly wish to stay in their homes alone but isolation from social opportunities is detrimental to their health. Their resistance could most likely be characterized as a smoke screen to avoid change. Consider your loved one’s social health. What type of people do they gravitate towards or connect with? Are the residents in this assisted living facility mostly lower-functioning or can my loved one connect here socially? These are great questions to ponder in your search.
Spiritual Wellness can mean many things to many people but everyone has the need to feel as though their life has meaning and purpose. As it relates to your loved one, be sensitive to what fulfills this need in life. Certainly religious faith can be categorized here and there are many assisted living facilities that are predominately Catholic, Jewish, etc. Even locations of no religious affiliation may offer on-site church services or pastoral ministry. If faith-based activities are important to your loved one, see what the assisted living property offers. Perhaps personal meditation is important to your loved one. Then try to make an effort to get them a more private room. Opportunities for your loved one to experience nature can provide spiritual healing as well. The bottom line is to be aware of what your loved one needs to be spiritually well.
Environmental Wellness refers to our understanding that our surroundings have a direct impact on personal well-being. A cramped living space, for instance, with an obstructed window view can cramp one’s environmental wellness. More modern assisted living properties incorporate large great rooms, shaded patios, or community centers for this very reason – so that their residents have that sense of comfort in their environment. A feeling of connection to nature can go a long way in improving your loved one’s environmental wellness too. Things such as meditation gardens, elevated vegetable gardens, or even bird watching opportunities from a shaded patio can be found at select assisted living locations.
There you have it – the Transitions formula for senior placement success. These 6 points of wellness are not easy to achieve for your loved one but, they are determining factors for a successful assisted living placement. Their complex interaction can ultimately make or break one’s quality of life. And a great quality of life is what your loved one deserves!
(Learn more here about what Transitions can do to place your loved one free of charge!)