Independent vs. Assisted Living

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slm25052By Joann Baucom

Change, according to Webster’s New Compact Dictionary, means to give up one thing for the other. We all know change is difficult for most people, we enjoy our routine. With that said, deciding it’s time to move from your home – that you’ve lived in for 30 years or better — is HUGE and does not happen overnight in most cases. It may take months or a year to realize the yard is too big to mow, it costs so much to have things fixed or replaced, and you’re too tired to worrying about it. What can you do??

The answer is to start looking at retirement communities in your neighborhood or town. Ask people you know that live there how they like it; is it really what they wanted and expected?  Make an appointment with the retirement community manager; sit down with a list of questions and don’t leave until you are satisfied you have the information you need to help with the decision.

When your decision is made, the thoughts of selling the house, getting rid of some of the “stuff” you have collected over the years, and a million other thoughts start going through your mind.  It can be overwhelming, so take a breath, ask for help from friends and family, and work toward your goal of downsizing and living a more stress free life.

When the dust settles and you are finally in your new cottage, apartment, or townhouse, you will begin to appreciate your decision to change and enjoy your life to its fullest. Who knows, you might even enjoy the exercise class they offer that you would never have attended when you lived in your old home. Life is sweet and to be cherished every day, so enjoys it carefree.

Change from living independently, whether at home or in a retirement setting, to needing support with everyday living, is another HUGE change. One reason it is such a change is because you no longer have a need to cook, as meals are served in a dining room. Your apartment is cleaned every week and laundry is done weekly as well. It is not that you don’t want to do these activities any longer, usually a health issue comes along and for your safety and a chance to improve, having support with these activities is certainly a good idea.

Living alone and eating alone is difficult because we all need other people in our lives. Having your meals prepared and served to you is a sure way of getting the nutrition your body needs to function daily. If you take medication daily, food is essential to help with interactions of medication and how that medication is absorbed in your body.

Speaking of medication, have you ever taken your pills and 30 minutes later wonder if you had taken them yet? It happens and if you need some help with dispensing your medication this is done in assisted living setting.

A huge benefit of living in an assisted living is the new friendships you will make. Living in close proximity of one another you will make new friends and everyone is just like you – they’ve left their independent life because they needed additional help.

These two types of living arrangements are so totally different but they both require change. The best gift you can give to your family is to make these important decisions on your own while you can, don’t force them to make the choice when you cannot.

Joann Baucom is the Director of Retirement and Assisted Living Services for Lutheran Sunset Ministries in Clifton, Texas.

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