“It won’t happen to me. I’m strong and healthy — I don’t think I’ll ever need senior assisted living.” Before you commit to these common statements, consider this:
- According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and support in their remaining years.”
- About two-thirds of older adults rely on family members to provide assistance, “often resulting in great strain on the family.”
- About 80% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 68% have at least two.
We share this not to overwhelm you, but to help you figure out your options and come up with a plan. Keeping these statistics in mind, here are some of your options:
- Do nothing and hope for the best when it comes to your health. This often leads to option two.
- Rely on your kids to take care of you by either moving in with them or having them become your personal caregiver in your residence.
- Take a calculated look at a home health care plan (the most expensive option) and decide if it’s an affordable option for you.
- Purchase long-term care insurance.
- Research communities with assisted living and other services.
What Is Assisted Living?
The National Center for Assisted Living offers this definition:
“Assisted living is part of a continuum of long-term care services that provides a combination of housing, personal services, and health care designed for people who need assistance with normal daily activities in a way that promotes maximum independence.”
Normal daily activities can include personal care typically includes the following:
- Personal device care
- Medication management
Some people require only one or two of these services, the most common being medication management. Still, it’s reassuring to know that various types of support are immediately available if you or your loved one needs them.
While most communities refer to this continuum of care as “assisted living,” at Friendsview, we call it enhanced living — available to all residents with a life care contract. One resident, Rita W., shared that “enhanced living allows for the freedom of an independent lifestyle with optional care available as needed. It carries a great sense of home and ownership.” Other residents have renamed it enchanted living because of how greatly appreciative they are of the care that enhanced living has provided them!
What Kinds of Services Does Enhanced Living Provide?
Enhanced living in our first floor Creekside neighborhood is considered light assisted living, offering licensed residential care support for some, but not all, of a resident’s daily care needs. This can include medication management, assistance with laundry and other services. The goal is to provide residents with support while they remain active and independent. When we asked residents what they liked most about enhanced living, one resident said, “The best part of living at Friendsview is the feeling of independence and having optional and available care as needed.” Here are just a few of those additional care options:
- Weekly housekeeping
- Laundry services
- Assistance with personal care
- Nurse call pendant
- Basic medication management
- Access to all of Friendsview’s educational, travel, recreational and fitness programs and amenities
- 24-hour emergency response with certified charge nurse
- Easily accessible staff such as Wellness Partners and caregivers
- On-site independent providers on a fee-for-service basis: foot care nurse, audiology services, dental cleaning and eyeglass care
- Spiritual Care Team resources
Of the eight values we strive to uphold in our community, two stand out when it comes to enhanced living. The first is excellence: Friendsview promotes the physical, social and spiritual well-being of each person. Our goal is to serve at the highest level, to continually improve, and to glorify God. Second is dignity. Friendsview affirms the dignity and worth of all persons before God. We provide opportunities to maintain or improve one’s quality of life through activities that engage the mind and body, and through creative pursuits. We promote self-direction, freedom and fulfillment.
What Services Are Available in Residential Care?
In our Manor second- and third-floor residential care neighborhood, we also offer supportive care for those who need assistance with the tasks of daily living so they can remain as independent as possible. In this assisted living neighborhood, the staff provides personalized services to match individual needs in addition to the following:
- All of the amenities listed in the Enhanced Living services above are also available in Residential Care.
- Additional medication management, including distribution, ordering and delivery from pharmacy
- Private studios and one-bedroom apartments
- Personalized assistance from staff for activities of daily living (such as personal hygiene)
- Mobility/movement assistance
- Weekly nail care
- Specialized recreation and fitness programs led by the therapeutic recreation coordinator
Enhanced Living Floor Plan Options
The approach to assisted living in America has evolved so much in the last 50 years, when there was little privacy, a lack of dignity, and almost no choices in size of living space. Today, options are plentiful and dignity is a priority. Enhanced living at Friendsview includes a resident-centric lifestyle with five floor plans to choose from:
- Alcove Studio, 553 sq. ft.
- One-Bedroom, 622 sq. ft.
- Two-Bedroom, 825 sq. ft.
- Two-Bedroom, 915 sq. ft.
- Two-Bedroom, 986 sq. ft.
These apartments are conveniently located to promote easy access to all amenities and team members. To quote Rita again, a Friendsview resident in the Creekside Enhanced Living neighborhood, “Enhanced living is really the best of two worlds. You get the feeling of independence and living in your own home, with the great aspect of having a health services member aid you as needed. The care, security and private home are some of enhanced living’s quality features.”
It’s confidence for the whole family
Have you noticed a theme in what enhanced living at Friendsview offers? Independence. As a Life Plan Community, Friendsview seeks to promote resident autonomy and maximum independence while providing the highest-quality care.
Planning for assisted living doesn’t mean you have to stop living your best life. Your dreams and goals are still valued and worthy of pursuit. Just ask a member of our Bucket List Club or any of the other 30+ resident-led interest groups. Perhaps that’s why some residents call it “enchanted living!”
But it’s not just about you. If you go back to the statistic shared earlier where two-thirds of caregivers are family members, it shows that your decisions concerning your future care greatly affect your children’s lives too. Resident Harold B. recently shared this about the stress from unexpected health concerns:
“A simple bump or scrape and nurses are there to help, clean and provide care. There’s a comfort level in knowing help is there if you need it. Currently, my wife has serious health needs … she desires very much to remain in our apartment … there’s the knowledge that help and support are always there at times when we need it. I cannot express the amount of stress that this removes during this stage of our lives.”
Every bump and scrape Friendsview team members attend to is one less concern your children and other family members have to worry over. By researching and planning for your future care you’re handing them a priceless gift — peace of mind.
Nikki Deckon has been on staff at Friendsview since 2018 in various roles and in long term care for several years. Before working with seniors, she wrote/produced hundreds of talk radio programs and vignettes; was published in a couple of editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul and other print publications including The Oregonian, Kids NW, The Sun and more. After twenty years of marriage she feels that she’s still in the “honeymoon” phase and is enjoying raising her teenage boys in Newberg, a mere two miles from Friendsview.