Senior Health News: Freedom is where you find it | PostIndependent.com

Senior Health News: Freedom is where you find it

Michael Farrell
Senior Health
Michael Farrell
Staff Photo |

A common comment we hear from new residents at Mesa Vista is: “I should have done this a long time ago.” So, why didn’t they?

People often have a clichéd view of what moving into an assisted living facility will be like. It will be a loss of independence, admitting a loss of vitality or a lowering of their quality of life. We’ve all seen old movies that portray some nursing homes as awful places. Much has changed. The care provided in modern skilled nursing facilities is often excellent.

It is important to remember that assisted living residences are not nursing homes. The goal of assisted living is to foster independence, encourage mental and physical activity and enhance quality of life. Assistance is given when needed, but if there is a chance you can do something yourself, you will be encouraged to do so. It is not a place to come to in order to sit back and be served.

Many seniors will hang on to living at home as long as possible. In some cases, the result can actually be a lessening of the quality of life over time. Living alone can lead to increasing social isolation and depression. Self-administration of multiple medications may become a challenge, as can eating regular, well-rounded healthy meals. If you perceive the scope of your world shrinking, it may be time to consider a change.

In an assisted living residence you have the security of knowing there will be someone around at all times if you need help. All of your medications can be administered by staff members who have completed a state-approved training course. Also, no more cooking — all of your meals will be prepared for you — and a new world of stimulating social interaction and activities will be available.

Of course, variety and quality of services provided will vary with each assisted living residence. So it is important to take some time and look around at what is available in your area. Visit each place. Stop and have a meal to make sure you will like the food. Check the activities schedule to see what’s going on. Meet some of the staff.

It’s not always a matter of one place being “better” than another. It’s often a matter of which residence best fits your needs and lifestyle. Assisted living residences in Colorado are licensed by the state. You can check http://www.colorado.gov for more information about selecting an assisted living.

Residing at an assisted living residence, one has many of life’s chores taken care of. This allows you to pursue your interests and passions, whether it might be painting, photography, learning a musical instrument or writing that book you’ve always been thinking about. Now you have the time and the freedom to do it.

Michael Farrell is the activity director and adult day program director at Mesa Vista Assisted Living in Battlement Mesa. He can be reached at mfarrell@seniorhousingoptions.org.


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