What Is Assisted Living
Assisted living is a way of life that allows you to remain independent, even though you may need help with some of your daily tasks such as:
- Bathing and personal hygiene
- Preparing meals
- Managing medications
- Getting back and forth to places like doctor's appointments
What Does an Assisted Living Community Look Like?
Assisted living communities come in various sizes and layouts and offer different types of residences. Accommodations can range from small bedrooms to lavishly outfitted apartments and detached homes.
Assisted living communities may be separate communities or they may be part of a larger senior community that offers other levels of care, such as independent living, memory care, or skilled nursing care, for example.
They are typically located in or near residential or urban areas, which means residents can feel like they are part of the overall neighborhood, community and county or city where they live.
What's it Like to Live There?
Depending on the type of residence you choose, you can still remain fairly independent while living in an assisted living community. For example, if you live in an apartment equipped with a kitchen, you can still cook some of your meals if that's something you enjoy doing. Meals are usually included in your monthly charges so you can also opt to take your meals in common dining areas, or have your meals delivered to your room when you don't feel like going out.
Housekeeping and maintenance are also typically included in the monthly fees, plus laundry, utilities and transportation. You will also get a helping hand with daily tasks as needed, such as with taking a bath or keeping up with your medications.
There are usually lots of scheduled activities ranging from yoga to painting classes. And you can choose to participate in as many of these as you'd like as often as you'd like. It's really up to you. You also have the freedom to continue to pursue many of your own unique hobbies and interests.
There are usually lots of opportunities to socialize with other residents. You can also feel safe as most assisted living communities provide around-the-clock security. And you have the peace of mind knowing that help is nearby if you need it.
Is Assisted Living Right for Me?
Consider these statements below to determine if they describe you:
- I am still relatively healthy.
- I like having my own living space.
- I like being independent.
- I am willing to move to a smaller home, or am unable to stay in my current home.
- I prefer to live on my own, or do not have a relative or friend with whom I can live.
- I no longer feel safe in my home.
- I feel isolated in my home.
- I need help getting in and out of the bathtub or taking a bath or shower.
- I need help getting dressed.
- I need assistance with personal grooming.
- I get my medicines mixed up or can't remember when to take them.
- I can no longer cook or need help preparing meals.
- I can no longer drive or can only drive very short distances.
- I do not have family or friends nearby if I need help with daily tasks.
- If most or all of the above Independence and Daily Living statements apply to you, and you do not need regular nursing or medical care, then assisted living may be a good option for you.
- If most or all of the above Independence and Daily Living statements apply to you, and you also need regular nursing or medical care, then consider these options:
- Skilled nursing care if you can't stay in your home
- Medical home health care If you want to stay in your home
- If all or most of the Independence statements apply to you, but not the Daily Living statements, then consider these options:
- Continuing Care Retirement Communities
- Independent living
- Active adult homes
- Senior apartments
What to Expect from Assisted Living?
Most facilities have a group dining area and common areas where you can socialize with other residents. They also offer lots of activities that are good for your body and mind. These include activities like:
- Wii Bowling
- Movie nights
- Live performances
You can still remain as close as you want with your family while in assisted living. External doors are usually locked at a certain time each night for security; however, family can usually visit any time. There are no set visiting hours. Family members and close friends can even visit you at night after the doors are locked if you've provided them with a key to get in the building, at most communities. Some communities also allow you to have a pet as long as you are still able to care for it.
There are basic services which are typically included in your monthly fees. These often include your meals, utilities, housekeeping, laundry service and transportation.
You usually have the option of paying for additional services as you need them. These are sometimes called a la carte services because you only pay for what you need. These may vary slightly by community, but they typically include services such as medication management, physical therapy and skilled nursing care.
Costs of assisted living can vary greatly depending on:
- Community location and amenities
- Type and size of residence
- Location of the residence within the community
- Other factors
Introduction to Columbus, Ohio and Surrounding Areas
Columbus, the state capital and largest city in the state, is located in central Ohio on the Scioto River. Originally settled by Native Americans, the area that became Columbus (named after Christopher Columbus) was settled by white explorers in the 1700s and made the state capital in 1816. Roads, railroads and the Ohio Canal energized the city; during World War II, aircraft manufacturing brought additional growth. Today, Columbus is a fast-growing, major American city with a population of more than 700,000 and a strong economy that is not dependent on any one industry. Its leading employers include government agencies and manufacturers of transportation equipment, textiles, metals and consumer goods.
Columbus Symphony Orchestra, BalletMet, and Opera Columbus brighten the arts scene. Popular museums include the Columbus Museum of Art, the Center of Science and Industry, and the home of satirist/cartoonist James Thurber, all located downtown. Upper Arlington has the Wexner Center for the Arts (a work of art unto itself) and the Ohio Craft Museum. On the east side of the city is the Martin Luther King Arts Complex, which offers exhibits and performances showcasing the talents of Columbus's African-American community. The Jack Nicklaus Museum, in the Ohio State University sports complex, chronicles the career of the great golfer from Columbus. On the north side, the Ohio Historical Center houses a museum focussed on Ohio history, along with a library and archive helpful for genealogical research projects. An hour away in Wilmington, Williams Memorial Park hosts an annual festival saluting the birthplace of the banana split.
Columbus Sports and Leisure
Columbus is home to the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, who play at 18,500-seat Nationwide Arena. The lack of a league franchise in football, baseball and basketball is more than made up for by the Ohio State Buckeyes, whose nationally-ranked programs in football and basketball have rabid local support. During the football season, legendary Ohio Stadium seats more than 101,000 fans. In baseball's minor leagues, the Columbus Clippers are the triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. Other Columbus teams include the Crew (Major League Soccer) and the Destroyers (Arena Football). For major league sports, Cincinnati (baseball's Reds, NFL's Bengals) and Cleveland (baseball's Indians, NFL's Browns, NBA's Cavaliers) are both less than a 2-hour drive away.
There's plenty of outdoor recreation available in the central Ohio area. Columbus has world-class golfing, with three courses within a 1/2-hour drive ranking among the top 100 according to Golfweek Magazine: the Golf Club (ranked #7) in New Albany, Muirfield Village Golf Club (#8) in Dublin and Double Eagle Club (#28) in Galena. In the winter, skiing is popular and accessible. Mad River Mountain, 41 miles away in Zanesfield, has a 1,460-foot mountain elevation with a 300-foot vertical drop, with over 20 trails for skiing or snowboarding, and a terrain park and a tubing park. The Seymour Woods State Nature Preserve has more than 100 acres of wildflowers, oaks, sycamores, elms, and other trees with hikable trails. Blendon Woods in Dublin offers activities and solitude in a 650-acre park with forests, 11-acre Thoreau Lake, and a 1.2-mile trail specifically designed for walking dogs.
Columbus at Night
Columbus has an energetic nightlife, with the most popular bars and dance clubs scattered downtown, along High Street and in the Brewery District.
America is discovering Columbus: the city ranked #8 by BestJobsUSA.com on their 2002 list of the Best Places to Live and Work in America; #21 by Forbes on their 2004 list of the Best Cities For Singles; #15 by Ladies Home Journal on their list of the Best Cities for Women.