Helping Seniors Transition to Assisted Living: How Health Care Assistants Help

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Assisted living facilities across the country do a fantastic job of allowing the elderly to retain their independence while also making sure help is just a short distance away. While nursing homes and assisted living facilities offer support services like personal hygiene, food preparation, and medical oversight, residents live in their own studio apartments (or something similar) with plenty of freedom.

But despite the amenities, elderly individuals aren’t always interested in moving into assisted living facilities and may feel isolated and uncomfortable in the new environment. Graduates of nursing courses and health care assistant programs can be a big help in making this transition easier – and showing elderly residents the ways in which assisted living facilities can truly improve their quality of life.

Encourage Social Participation

Like the first day of school, or the first day at a new job, the first few weeks in assisted living may make new residents feel hesitant to participate in daily activities. Socializing after dinner, music concerts, and card games are common activities in assisted living facilities. Some organizations also have regular exercise classes, led by an expert with atherapeutic recreation diploma. But all of these options are quite useless if residents don’t feel inclined to take part.

Health care assistant training helps graduates understand the mental and emotional changes elderly patients with disabilities go through, in order to effectively support their transition to assisted living. An important part of that transition is getting involved in locally hosted games, activities and social events, which helps residents feel more at home in their new environment. Dementia patients in particular benefit from mental games and maintaining social interaction, even as their disease develops. HCAs play an important role in helping residents find the activities that appeal most to them, and develop a thriving social world at the assisted living or long-term care facility.

Support Residents’ Independence

Assisted living facilities provide residents with a range of services, including laundry, housekeeping, food, emergency 24 hour care, medication management and personal care assistance. That being said, it is important for a health care assistant to encourage the resident to complete tasks they’re capable of performing on their own. Not only does this help the resident maintain their independence, it encourages activity and self-sufficiency.

HCAs can also invite residents to help with tasks like grocery shopping and preparing meals as a way to promote independence through active involvement. Residents may also take up a volunteer position at the assisted living facility, such as helping with laundry, answering phones or organizing activities.

Keep in Close Contact with Family

Many assisted living residents will be transitioning from living with family members – perhaps their children or grandchildren – and therefore will feel a sense of loss after moving away. During this challenging time, health care assistants ensure that the patient’s mental health and physical well-being are taken care of. Checking in with the family and updating them on their relative’s health helps the connection stay strong while providing peace of mind. If the elderly resident cannot do so themselves, HCAs can also schedule regular visits with family and friends to help encourage ties to important support systems.

In what other ways do you think HCAs help enhance quality of life for residents of assisted living facilities?

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