DuCharme Estates Assisted Living facility

What is Assisted Living:


What is Assisted Living & How can it help the ones I Love?


By Marcia DuCharme - Dos Santos

An Assisted Living residence is a special combination of housing for the elderly and or handicapped with the continuous personalized care that they need to lead a respectful dignified life with as much independence as possible.
Assisted Living is an enhanced form of congregated housing, fitting somewhere between conventional housing and 24 hours nursing care facilities. Care can consist of assistance with activities of daily living, housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, transportation as well as supervision with minor medical and or management behavioral problems such as early stages of dementia supervision is provided 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, specializing in supportive and loving care.
While many models of Assisted Living residences have evolved the original idea was for a small residential type home that would provide the supervision and care needed for individuals that were basically healthy but could no longer live safely alone at home. Individuals in their 80's occasionally experiencing minor cognitive impairment and require supervision or reminder to perform daily routines.
According to Mass Alfa this group will grow from 92.000 living in Massachusetts in 1998 to 378.000 in 2050, representing a total growth of almost 30%.

t’s tough to acknowledge that our bodies seem slower and less agile with each passing year. It can be even more difficult to watch the same thing happen to members of our family. Maybe Mom doesn’t take walks like she used to, or Dad can’t mow the lawn anymore.

It may be tempting to just pass these things off as a normal part of aging, but sometimes the best thing we can do for our families is acknowledge that there is a problem, and help get them the assisted care they need to remain safe, independent and healthy for as long as possible.

Below is a checklist of things to look for next time you visit your parent to help determine if there are physical or mobility problems where ASSISTED LIVING could help. If you think your family member may be dealing with cognitive issues or memory-loss check out our checklist on recognizing potential mental impairment issues.

1. Does your family member’s skin feel soft and have a normal color?

Dry, cracked skin can be a sign of dehydration. Prolonged dehydration can have serious consequences for the elderly. Skin should feel supple and not appear red or irritated. Also, be on the lookout for unusual tearing or bruising. Wounds heal more slowly with age and put seniors at greater risk for infection. Bruising may indicate balance or vision problems - your family member may be bumping into furniture or doors they can’t see.

2. Can your family member see clearly?

Vision loss can be a significant barrier to LIVING AT HOME ALONE. Your family member may no longer be able to drive safely which impacts their ability to go food shopping or attend doctor’s appointments. They may no longer be able to read their medications, and may not be taking their medications in the right dosages. Pay attention to whether a senior can read street signs or labels, or are able to read newspaper or books.

3. Can your family member hear you?

Loss of hearing can significantly decrease a senior’s quality of life. Hearing aids may be required for the senior to understand instructions from doctors or pharmacists, or even more importantly, hear smoke or fire alarms. When you speak with your family member, are they able to understand you at a normal tone of voice? Do they respond if you call them and their back is turned toward you? Many hearing-impaired seniors read lips as a way of communicating which can sometimes mask problems.

4. Is there food in the refrigerator?

The amount of healthy, fresh food in the home is a good indicator of whether a senior is well nourished and able to accomplish basic tasks such as cooking and grocery shopping. You should check to see if the refrigerator or pantry is well stocked with nutritious items, and that containers have current expiration dates. Make sure food does not smell bad or have mold growing on it. You should determine if your family member can properly navigate the kitchen and safely handle potentially hazardous appliances.

5. Are medications current and being taken regularly?

Mixing up or not taking prescribed medications can severely impact a senior’s health. Take note of the number of medications and whether or not they are prescribed by several physicians. Risk of taking the wrong medication increases with a higher number of medications or doctors. Check to make sure the medications are not expired. This could indicate that your family member has not been keeping their regular doctor’s appointments. Professional assisted care can help prevent potentially devastating mix-ups

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