The face of older adulthood is changing. With a rapidly aging population (there will soon be more seniors than children living in America), our perspective on life after 65 is evolving in important ways. ‘Assisted living’, once synonymous with white walls, meagre meals and sparse amenities, is gradually changing for the better.
These are a few of the outdated assisted living trends we’re glad to finally leave behind.
1. Inflexible Living Quarters
Aging doesn’t unfold the same way for everyone. Today, more assisted living communities are being built to enable seniors with varying needs to live independently for as long as possible.
There is a wider range of housing options, from full apartments to smaller suites for both assisted and semi-assisted living. Communities incorporate universal design principles to welcome adults of all abilities. Amenities like the MicroFridge offer safety and convenience for seniors who wish to dine alone or with guests in their own space.
2. Few Activities
In the past, assisted living facilities focused mainly on providing the necessities, with little thought towards recreation or personal development. That’s finally beginning to change. The desire to live, learn and explore doesn’t end at 65, and more people are recognizing the benefits of discovering new skills and hobbies well into the later years.
Nowadays, many senior communities offer classes on things like yoga, painting, dance, music, and exercise.
Moving to an assisted living community used to mean stepping away from community life. Fortunately, organizations and communities are beginning to work together to ensure that older adults remain part of the cultural fabric.
Location plays a big part in this. Senior communities of the past were often built on the outskirts, where land is cheaper and more widely available. Now, there’s a welcome shift towards incorporating assisted living into existing neighbourhoods with parks, libraries, stores and transportation services.
4. Unappetizing Meals
Meal planning has always been a challenge in senior communities. How do you satisfy so many different dietary preferences and needs all at once? The result was typically a limited menu of bland, low-fat, low-cholesterol meals.
Today’s assisted living providers have found a better solution. Rather than the old cafeteria-style model, more communities are taking a restaurant-style approach to dining, offering custom-made meals drawn from a variety of cuisines. Many also offer suites with kitchenettes and safe appliances to allow seniors to cook and dine independently.
5. Language of Aging
As assisted living trends have progressed, so has the language we use to discuss it.
The term assisted living is itself a step forward from clinical words like nursing home and senior facility, which painted aging as a condition rather than a natural branch of life. Instead of beds or units in a senior community, we use words like suite or apartment to acknowledge these spaces as somebody’s home.
Language is powerful. Although words alone won’t change assisted living trends, they play a big part in shaping our views, and they help promote dignity and respect for the aging process.
Safe Appliances for Assisted Living
Moving to an assisted living community isn’t the end of a life story – it’s just another chapter. We’re proud to make appliances that help to empower independent living at all stages of life.