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Posted on August 31st, 2015 [permalink]]

Fact: Some Seniors live 3-5 years longer when living in a long term care setting.

Most seniors, as they are aging, are convinced that they will retire and die at home and may say, “I’m only leaving my home feet first.” This is simply a denial of the mind, as most people do not have this experience in their golden years.

The statistics show that 70% of Americans 65 years and older will require help with the activities of daily living (ADL’s) at some future point in time. There are six basic ADL’s: eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (walking) and continence.

Studies have shown seniors that have chosen a healthcare center for themselves, either prior to a need or during, have a much better transition emotionally, a lower anxiety rate, and an extended life expectancy of an additional 3-5 years.

Some seniors have the means and desire to stay at home with private duty caregivers or a relative. However, with the decline in the market recently, many seniors that had this as their main plan suddenly may need to make adjustments, especially when they realize home health doesn’t always encourage socialization, which is a key component to aging gracefully.

For instance, some who are living in their home and declining may have family arrive from out of town on a visit. The family suddenly realizes how much care their loved one actually requires and begin the process of choosing a center for them, usually in panic mode and much against their will. Given the personalities involved, this can result in a much more difficult transition than if a senior is able to choose for themselves their new place to live.

In some states, there are advanced assisted living licenses that allow them to perform more assistance, such as a “Limited Nursing” or “Extended Congregate Care” (ECC) licenses. These licenses allow them to manage diabetes, and provide more assistance with a resident’s activities of daily living. These centers are best as they allow a senior to “Age in Place”, and most likely NOT need to go to a nursing home.

Many Assisted living centers also offer day care or respite care usually costing around $100– $350.00 per day which is a nice way for a senior to get familiar with their activities and other residents living in the community.

Some also offer short term respite stays, which is another way of exposing a senior to the center without actually having to move in. The cost for assisted living centers vary based on the area and the amenities they offer.

Many are pet friendly, and will allow a dog or cat to be less than 25 to 35 pounds. Of course, they usually require that the resident be able to care for their pet, however, some places offer pet care at a nominal charge.


To start, many seniors that need more care than they can have or afford at home refuse to accept any changes in their environment. Some seniors are in
denial of their own care needs, forcing the adult child to become the parent. You wouldn’t allow a child to determine their care needs and although it’s very difficult to do, an unreasonable senior, especially with any kind of safety issues, should not be making these decisions either.

One way to get a senior to try a long term care center is to go on vacation, and have them stay at a center on a short term / respite basis. It sounds selfish, but this is one way to allow them to try an active retirement center without forcing an actual move.

Most places offer a respite package, and this can be either a weekend or longer. Many times when a senior is moving into a long term care setting, their house may need repair. I’ve recommended tenting the house, renovating bathrooms or kitchens if needed to motivate them to stay at a preferred center, on a trial basis.

Most seniors comment after moving into a center they now realize that they should have done this a long time prior, and have reported they feel more energetic than before. The “tough love” approach, while not easy, is still in their best interests.

Sometimes involving a Physician, Religious Leader, Physical Therapist or Social Worker can assist in this transition process, and reassure them that it is time for a change. Keeping them safe has to be the chief priority as a loved one needs more care.

By Karyn Rizzo, Business Development, Author

“AGING in AMERICA Navigating our Healthcare System”
(Excerpt from Chapter 2)

*** To Order Copies of “AGING in AMERICA Navigating our Healthcare System” website: or Amazon & Kindle ***