Report highlights importance of assisted living decision

Housing is one of the biggest decisions facing older adults. Deciding whether to age in place or move to a retirement community is a big choice, and there are often many factors to consider. A recent report from the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics offered some insight into what choices seniors are making.

The report, Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being, found that many older adults choose to live at home as they age. However, researchers also found the use of assisted living facilities increases as seniors get older and about 8 percent of Medicare enrollees over 85 live in some sort of community setting.

The study also revealed what services older adults used when they lived in an assisted living community. The most frequently used was meal preparation services, with 84 percent of respondents taking advantage of the assistance. Additionally, 80 percent used housekeeping services while 48 percent requested help with medications.

Assisted living is a suitable option for seniors who may need help with activities of daily living but want to maintain their independence. Specifically, it is ideal for older adults who need help but do not require extensive medical treatment. Most facilities offer recreational and social opportunities to improve the quality of life among their residents.

While assisted living communities can be beneficial, there are a number of things seniors and their family members should take into consideration when choosing a location. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, location often plays a significant role. Many families choose a facility that is nearby so their loved ones are close.

Furthermore, seniors and their families should inspect the facility more than once while also asking about things like memory care, meal times and interactions between patients and staff.