Assisted Living Communities Put Uneasy Minds to Rest

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mature couple living together in assisted livingJean Ann Yocum sums up how she felt when her elderly parents became increasingly frail and housebound: “I was a basket case.” Her mother, Jennie, 84, suffered from severe arthritis. Her father, Frank, 83, was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney failure. At one point, her mother fell and broke her nose. It was then Yocum realized that her parents could no longer continue to live safely at home.

“I was constantly worried about them,” says Yocum. “I worried that my Mom would fall again, that my Dad would have trouble breathing. I worried about them when I was at work, while I was on vacation, basically all the time.”

Carebridge Eldercare Specialist Joanne McManus says that many families are in the same stressful situation. “As baby boomers hit middle age, as people live longer, and as adult children pursue employment and move away, there will be more and more people in search of appropriate housing for their older relatives,” says McManus.

When considering a move from home to senior housing, she recommends that family members honestly assess the older adult’s physical and cognitive functioning, including their ability to perform the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and preparing meals. “Basically, ask yourself if it safe for them to continue to live in their particular situation,” says McManus.

If older adults and their families decide that a new living situation is appropriate, one option to consider is assisted living. An assisted living facility typically provides seniors with a small living suite and personal care services, medical supervision and amenities such as social activities, beauty shops, outings and transportation services. Many assisted living facilities also provide various levels of care as an older adult’s needs increase.

How do families know where to find an appropriate assisted living community?

“For a lot of families, it’s unchartered territory. There is so much information about senior care that it can prove confusing, so the local area office on aging is a good place to start,” McManus says.

Jean Ann Yocum found a number of assisted living residences located near her parents’ home in New Jersey. She and her family narrowed them down to two and decided on a NewSeasons Assisted Living Community . There are 14 NewSeasons Assisted Living Communities located throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“It is a very nice environment here and the staff is wonderful,” says Yocum. “This was a big decision for us, but the minute we walked in the door and looked at the beautiful surroundings, we knew that this was the right place for my Mom and Dad.”

At NewSeasons, Yocum’s parents, Jennie and Frank, enjoy meals in an elegant dining room, participate in activities and exercises, watch entertainment, attend church services and go on day trips with other residents. Yocum visits her parents frequently, and every month a group of extended family members gather for a festive brunch at NewSeasons. “The family brunch really means a lot to my parents,” says Yocum.

Best of all, Yocum says she no longer worries about her parents’ safety or well being. “It’s a good feeling, knowing that your parents are well taken care of,” says Yocum. “It’s also comforting to know that, instead of sitting at home on a couch watching TV, they are in a stimulating environment with plenty of activity and companionship. Now I can go to work or on vacation without worrying about them every minute.”

McManus says that assisted living can provide relief for families who are constantly trying to juggle their own lives while coordinating care for elderly family members who live at home. “Families walk a real tightrope in terms of deciding whether or not their loved ones can remain at home or need assisted living,” says McManus.

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