Independent or Assisted Living Planning Attorneys in Hot Springs, Arkansas Assisting Seniors
As we age, there may come a time when we need to leave our homes and move into a place that is more manageable, and we may need some assistance with the tasks of daily living. There are many options for seniors to improve their living conditions to be more appropriate for their current circumstances. Often there is a transitional period between living at home without help and needing full residential care. Independent living with support and assisted living can fill those gaps.
Making the transition to a new way of living can be stressful and emotional for seniors. The compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys at Dudeck Law Firm stand ready to discuss your options and help in this often tumultuous time.
Call us today at 501-327-3527 to speak with one of our experienced elder law attorneys from Hot Springs.
How Can I Continue to Live Independently as I Age?
Once you reach a certain age, the demands of home maintenance, lawn care, home repairs, and even cleaning a large home can become a burden. If this is the case, but you are still able to perform the daily tasks of living on a smaller scale, independent living situations other than remaining in the family home may be appropriate. Some independent living options for seniors include:
- Your Own Home: Sometimes, even seniors who have reduced capacity for daily activities may be able to stay in the home with assistance from those hired to provide home maintenance and in-home health care through private companies or government agencies. This can be a good option if a senior is still driving or has other ways of getting out to socialize and do errands. For seniors without transportation options or friends and family nearby, staying at home alone can be isolating.
- Senior Apartments or Retirement Communities: There are many apartment complexes or retirement communities that cater to seniors who are capable of living independently but who may benefit from smaller spaces to manage, less maintenance, and increased social interaction. While these options do not usually offer direct services, they often have options like transportation and cleaning help available for a small fee. Regular maintenance tasks such as snow removal, lawn care, and repairs are usually provided. These communities may include businesses such as hair salons and gift shops that can be helpful to seniors who are less able to get out. The social opportunities in these communities include special interest clubs such as card-playing groups, sewing circles, and book clubs, for example. Entertainment programming such as concerts, educational presentations, and special events like movie nights are often featured.
What is Assisted Living?
For those who need various levels of medical and personal care but who do not need full-time skilled nursing care, assisted living can be a good option. As the name suggests, assisted living provides seniors with services they may need, such as meals, medication monitoring, housekeeping, and laundry services, personal care such as dressing and bathing, limited medical care, 24-hour access to emergency care, and many of the same social and recreational opportunities as senior apartment complexes or retirement communities, listed above.
Assisted living arrangements can include apartments, small freestanding units, or individual rooms, and these may be private or shared with a roommate. The facilities are designed to encourage residents to live as independently as possible while still receiving needed assistance.
How Can I Determine the Right Living Situation for Me or for an Elderly Loved One?
There are two scales that can be used to determine the appropriate living situation and level of care for seniors or disabled people. The first is the Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), which includes six essential skills:
- Hygiene — the ability to maintain personal hygiene, including things like bathing or showering, brushing teeth, combing hair, and nail care
- Continence — having complete control of bowels and bladder
- Dressing — the ability to get dressed and undressed independently and to choose appropriate clothing
- Mobility — the ability to walk or transfer from one place to another, especially to get in and out of a chair or bed.
- Feeding— the ability to get food into the mouth and to chew and swallow (does not include food preparation or cooking)
- Toileting — the ability to use the toilet without help and clean one’s self without assistance
The second scale to consider is the Lawton-Brody scale of Instrumental Activities of Daily Living or IADLs. These include:
- Housekeeping including maintenance, laundry, and other home-care chores
- Managing finances
- Managing medications and taking medicines as directed
- Preparing meals
- Shopping necessities, such as groceries
- Using transportation, whether driving or taking public transportation
- Using communication devices like a telephone or computer
When trying to decide on an appropriate level of care, it is useful to keep track of which IADLs and ADLs the senior is and isn’t capable of. Take this list to a doctor and discuss what level of care might be most appropriate for you or your loved one. A person who is capable of all ADLs and IADLs is likely to be living independently. A person who can perform ADLs but not IADLs might be a good candidate for assisted living, and a person who can perform none of the tasks listed above may need full-time skilled nursing care.
How Can Dudeck Law Firm Help With Independent or Assisted Living?
At Dudeck Law Firm, one focus of our practice is elder law. We have vast experience helping families not only determine the best living situation for their elderly loved ones but also how to cover the costs of any care that might be needed. We are dedicated to helping seniors with the life transitions that will benefit them most. Call Dudeck Law Firm today at 501-327-3527 to speak with one of our skilled elder law attorneys to discuss independent and assisted living options.