The welfare of our loved ones who are growing older can weigh heavily upon us.  We may not feel comfortable with the thought of our older relatives living alone in a house or an apartment. At the same time, the idea of a part-time companion may not appeal to our loved ones who insist on maintaining their privacy.

Although older adults may not be in need of skilled nursing care, they may benefit from other housing options that provide varied levels of support.  Here are some questions to help you evaluate if your loved one would benefit from a supportive housing environment:

Adapted from HelpGuide.org http://www.helpguide.org/elder/assisted_living_facilities.htm

  • Does your loved one need more help than you are able to provide? Are the activities of daily living becoming too stressful or even overwhelming?
  • Do you feel that life at home is lonely or isolated for your loved one? Maintaining an active social life is vital to health and happiness, while being alone much of the time is a recipe for depression. Senior facilities offer a range of social and recreational activities. And the community environment also gives the opportunity to make new friends.
  • Are you concerned about safety? Perhaps your loved one’s mobility is limited, making it difficult to walk. Maybe you’re afraid of what might happen if he or she fell and couldn’t get up, or experienced another problem in the home and couldn’t get help.
  • Has maintaining a home become a headache? There are many responsibilities that come with living in your own home. Supportive housing or senior facilities can provide a home-like atmosphere, without the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and doing laundry.
  • Is transportation an issue? Perhaps your loved one is having trouble driving or can no longer drive. If public transportation or another alternative isn’t easy and convenient, your loved one may be increasingly housebound. Many senior facilities offer transportation, providing increased mobility for your loved one, with less dependence upon  friends and family.

If you feel that a senior supportive living environment is a potential alternative for your loved one, the next question to consider with your family member is whether independent or assisted living is the right choice. This decision is primarily based on the ability of the individual to perform the Activities of Daily Living, otherwise known to social workers as “ADLs,” which include dressing, bathing, toileting, ambulating, and feeding.

Some older adults can perform all of the ADLs and wish to maintain their independence, but still could use an extra hand with tasks like housekeeping, laundry and meal preparation.

The Charles Bierman Home, operated by Daughters of Israel and located in South Orange offers “semi-independent living,” providing an option for older adults midway between living at home and an assisted living facility.  The Bierman Home consists of 24 studio apartments clustered around a common living area, offering three kosher meals daily, caring staff and group activities designed to foster friendships among residents.  Bierman is an affordable alternative to assisted living, as most services are included in the low monthly fee.

To explore if “semi-independent living” is a good match for your loved one, contact The Charles Bierman Home at 973-303-7018.

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