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 Durham, North Carolina and Surrounding Areas
Durham, North Carolina has an active and vibrant community that results in the city consistently being ranked as one of the top places to live in the country. It has been rated number one out of 274 other counties of similar size on the Creativity Index from Carnegie Mellon University. The area is home to Research Triangle Park, Duke University, North Carolina Central, as well as historic homes, tree-lined streets, and a number of notable golf courses. Money Magazine has voted Durham one of the Best Places to Live in the South. Durham's history is rich and its future is progressive, with an emphasis on high technology, education, and medicine. The city is known as the City of Medicine.
There is quite a range of cultural activities and resources in Durham. The city has numerous jazz festivals, blues festivals, symphony concerts, and art exhibitions to choose from. The American Dance Festival and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival happen here every year. The Carolina Theatre resides at the center of Durham's cultural scene, with live performances and films from around the world. The city is host to an annual Gay and Lesbian film festival, drawing people from across the country. The culinary offerings of the city are plentiful and delicious, including restaurants in the Ninth Street, Brightleaf, and University Drive areas of town.
Durham Sports and Leisure
For baseball fans, Durham has the Duke University Blue Devils, which play from February to May. The Durham Bulls baseball club is a popular minor league team that plays in Durham Bulls Athletic Park, which was designed by the architects of Baltimore's Camden Yards. Durham Bulls Athletic Park is also home to the USA Olympic Baseball Team and other national teams. For Basketball, there's the Duke University Blue Devils and the North Carolina Central University Eagles team, which play in Division I and Division II, respectively. For football fans, the Blue Devils and the Eagles both deliver, and football can be seen at both O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium and Wallace Wade Stadium. The city also has Duke University LaCrosse, Crystal Downs Polo, and soccer at Kosken Stadium and Wallace Wade Stadium.
There are many outdoor activities to enjoy in and around the city of Durham. The American Tobacco Trail has 12 miles of trails from downtown to the county line that offer residents good access for biking, hiking, walking, or jogging. At Eno River State Park, visitors can enjoy bird-watching, canoeing, rafting, fishing, and hiking. Crane Creek Ranch has English and western horseback riding lessons, as well as leased horses, pasture boarding, and acres of riding trails. Boating, sailing, fishing, hiking, and rock hounding can be enjoyed at the Flat River.
Durham at Night
There is an abundance and variety of nightlife in the city of Durham to satisfy just about anyone. There's the All People's Grill that features live blues every Saturday night. Arnie's Place has billiards, a bar and grill, darts, and karaoke. The Blayloc Café is a martini bar serving pizza, soups, salads, and sandwiches and featuring artwork and photography on the walls. The Broad Street Café has cozy chairs that patrons can curl up in and drink a steamy latte or have a slice of cheesecake.