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August 4, 2023

Maintaining Independence in an Assisted Living Residence: Balancing Support and Autonomy

By: Country Meadows | Assisted Living

Staying independent at an assisted living residence is essential for maintaining a sense of control and dignity in life. While there may be some adjustments and considerations, co-workers strive to support residents to continue their lifestyle.

There are several ways an assisted living residence can support individuality.

Personalized care plans at an assisted living residence

The primary goal of a personalized care plan is to improve the quality of care and health outcomes by taking into account the individual’s medical history, current health status, lifestyle and social factors. It considers the whole person, not just their medical conditions and aims to create a holistic, patient-centered approach to care.

Assisted living staff develop personalized care plans based on each individual’s needs and preferences. Plans support each person’s unique lifestyle and can include assistance with daily activities, healthcare needs and social engagement.

Choice of activities

An assisted living residence offers a variety of activities, outings, entertainment and events to cater to residents’ varied interests. Whether art classes, fitness programs, book clubs, gardening, happy hour or trips to local parks, each individual can choose items that align with lifestyle and hobbies. At Country Meadows, the “vibe” program provides a quarterly overview of happenings at every campus.

Access to amenities

Amenities are common at an assisted living residence and often include libraries, fitness centers, gaming rooms, outdoor spaces, gardens and gathering spaces. These amenities allow residents to continue pursuing hobbies and facilitate opportunities to make new friends.

Privacy and autonomy

An assisted living residence often provides private living apartments for residents to maintain independence and privacy. Seniors can maintain personal routines including waking up, going to bed and enjoying meals while living in a safe, secure environment.

Residents come and go as they please. If an individual gets lonely, they can step outside the door to find neighbors and friends, if they opt to do so.

Transportation services

Moving to assisted living doesn’t mean you have to give up lifelong community activities. Transportation often is provided for residents to go shopping, attend events, go to appointments and religious services and visit places of interest. This enables individuals to maintain the preferred lifestyle while maintaining connections in the community.

Maintaining relationships

Living at an assisted living residence can be a busy, fun lifestyle. While they are making new friends, residents are encouraged to maintain relationships with family and lifelong friends. Visitors are welcome at most times and are often encouraged to join in activities.

Honoring varied traditions

An assisted living residence respects the cultural, religious and spiritual preferences of each individual. This includes providing religious services and opportunities to learn about and participate in different religious customs honoring traditions of varied faiths.

It’s essential for seniors to take ownership of their needs by clearly expressing preferences with assisted living facility staff. By doing so, staff can work to support lifestyle choices, providing a more comfortable and enjoyable living experience.

Here are some tips to help you or your loved one be proactive to maintain independence at an assisted living residence.

Communicate preferences

Clearly share preferences needs and goals to staff and caregivers. Be sure to express your wishes and lifestyle choices in an assertive yet respectful way.

Stay engaged in decision-making

Individuals can participate in discussions about individual care and activities. The senior should stay informed about options and be involved in making decisions that affect daily life.

Maintain a daily routine

Having a routine can provide a sense of stability and control over day-to-day activities. Sticking to a schedule that works for each individual provides a sense of control in an assisted living residence.

Learn new hobbies

At an assisted living residence, many opportunities for lifelong learning help seniors learn new skills. These might include art, crafts, music, technology, education or anything that interests each individual. Being proactive in learning will boost confidence and independence.

Stay physically active

Seniors should engage in regular physical activity suitable to individual abilities and health status. An assisted living residence often has in-house fitness centers that offer classes and equipment for seniors to be active.

Personalize the living space

Just as people decorate homes and apartments, seniors living at an assisted living residence should decorate living spaces with personal items that bring comfort and joy. Surrounding oneself with familiar belongings can make the space feel more like home.

Seek assistance when needed

While it’s important to maintain independence, it’s also crucial for seniors to recognize when a little help is needed. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance when it is required, whether from the assisted living staff or family members.

Remember that assisted living is designed to provide support while promoting independence. By actively participating in care choices and engaging in the community, seniors can maintain a sense of autonomy while enjoying a fulfilling life.

We’re here to help.

Country Meadows Retirement Communities offers numerous amenities, activities and opportunities for engagement for residents to lead enriching lives at our nine campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Seniors and their family members are welcome to pay us a visit and see first-hand the many opportunities offered to residents to keep them engaged and involved. Please contact us today for more information about our communities. We’re here to help.


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