Transitioning from a residence to an assisted living or long-term care facility can be a dramatic change for residents. When you are considering ways to improve the environment for residents, there are several amenities that will make your facility more intriguing than the next, while giving residents the best possible experience.
Incorporate More Physical Activity
Since many seniors continue to participate in an exercise regimen well into their advanced age, you want to encourage physical activity and make it easier to access. Part of encouraging physical activity may include features, such as attractive landscaping and plenty of sidewalks, so residents can enjoy the outdoors at their leisure. Additional amenities may include an onsite gym and exercise classes. Even residents who are not physically active may benefit from the occasional class to improve coordination, balance, and minimize any joint ailments.
Do not overlook the benefits of strength training for seniors. Some residents may want easy access to weights or resistance training to maintain lean body mass and strength. With the guidance of a physical therapist, residents who are new to strength training or have physical limitations can participate in limited strength-building exercises.
Create An Accommodating Facility
In addition to accommodating physical needs you should consider ways to accommodate the emotional needs of your residents, such as the need to maintain current companions. It may be difficult for prospective residents to find a facility that will allow a long-term romantic partner to live with them if they are unmarried or if the partner does not have physical or medical needs that warrant living in the facility. Prospective residents can be reluctant to make the transition, even when they need significant help, if they must sacrifice a meaningful relationship. Pets also play an important companionship role and many facilities do not allow them. Relinquishing a companion, whether human or animal, can be detrimental to the emotional well-being of a resident.
Incorporate Educational Aspects
Staying mentally active is especially important to reduce age-related cognitive decline, making classes and lectures an ideal addition to your facility. If hiring instructors for various subjects is not feasible, you may have employees or other people in the area who are willing to volunteer their time and skills. Some popular classes include art, music, photography, and writing. You may want to offer lectures in the fields of psychology or sociology, because these topics are often interesting to many people, especially if you can relate the subject matter to social interactions, learning, memory, or overall well-being.
Use Unique Approaches For Tougher Cases
Many assisted living facilities will have special wings dedicated to residents with Alzheimer's or dementia. More facilities are integrating unique approaches for these residents to improve their quality of life. One example is the use of relevant items to encourage the recall of long-term memories in dementia patients. When the resident is lucid, you may ask them about fond memories or a family member can give you an idea of something from their past that may trigger their memory.
For example, a resident may have spent much of their life working in a bakery and have pleasant memories associated with their experience. The smell of fresh bread might temporarily help with their memory or calm them during an agitated state. Other examples include the use of music therapy for residents who have dementia or experience episodes of catatonia. Familiar music from back in their childhood or young adulthood may temporarily increase lucidness.
The topic of assisted living and long-term care will always be a delicate subject for prospective residents and their families. By addressing the unique needs of residents and finding ways to make the facility feel more like home, your facility can make the transition easier for residents.
If you're a senior looking and you would rather receive at-home care, reach out to local places like In Your Home Care for more information on how they can accommodate you or help you transition to a facility.