During the last four years that I have been blogging, I always had to hunt out articles on aging and aging in place. In the last couple months I have noticed more prominent articles – right out there so to speak. Last week a piece in the New York Times stood out more than usual, How Not to Grow Old in America.
The subject is more specifically why assisted living is not really all that assisted sometimes. But it also hits on many of the more important facts about the aging and its impact on staying independent. The author points out that the number of facilities build in the last few year has tripled. A 15 percent profit margin is what the builders of assisted living facilities are looking for. Yet the reality is still that assisted living facilities are not regulated like nursing homes. So personal supervision and care levels can not be assumed.
These newer facilities compete in their offerings of nice if not luxury features that encourage health and wellness and combat isolation. They also have add on prices for individuals as they lose the ability to do some activities of daily living bathing etc. What the article is highlighting is that 40 percent of those in assisted living can have dementia and with the looser supervision structure bad things can happen. Realistically many facilities actually separate those residents for the purposes of different therapies and security. In situations where dementia is debilitating, specific arrangements must be made…it is called memory care not assisted living.
The article ends on a note that Japan makes people pay into a public fund that will basically help them afford in home care. That is kind of a leap to a limited conclusion. There are many solutions along the way to keeping independence at home. Smaller assisted living homes (6-10 residents) are becoming more popular. Shared co living also helps with the situation to a certain extent. There is what I call Geri tech. Communication and monitoring system can help as well.
I think what the article does not miss is that if you put too much faith in these facilities you are bound to be disappointed. Sometimes the more complex work it out at home solution is the best one.
For the full read at NYT: https:///2019/08/29/opinion/sunday/dementia-assisted-living.html?searchResultPosition=1