Assisted Living Homes: Conflict or Help for You and Your Loved Ones?

assisted-living-1Assisted living homes are for elderly people needing assistance with the usual activities of daily living but they want to live independently as long as possible. These are similar to nursing homes but are designed more to bridge the distance between independent living and nursing homes.

The residents of assisted living homes do not require constant treatment, but rather need help with every day activities that may be harder to do when they are alone. These facilities help with eating, bathing, dressing, laundry, housekeeping, and assistance with medication. If a lot of medical care is needed, the resident may be better suited to a nursing home environment and assisted living homes should not be an alternative to a long term care facility for seniors.

There are many conflicts within assisted living homes; some of them are with the residents themselves and others are with the staff or the way the facility is ran. Most non life threatening conflicts within a assisted living home are:

  • Trouble adjusting and coping with living arrangements. A communal environment can be hard to get used to – small discomforts and irritations during the settling phase can make your relative feel easily overwhelmed. The best way to deal with this is to hear him or her out – sharing meals in the dining room and helping them to reflect on the positives helps the residence with this initial period.
  • Not getting along with another resident is also a big problem. Living alone or with a spouse is often easier than living in a communal group. Conflicts will arise and small misunderstandings can lead to flare ups and large arguments. Talk with the resident about the problem and try to find ways to alleviate it. Family and staff can help the residents in their new social setting by making sure they have a strong, daily routine. Regularity goes miles for helping residents adjust. It is also good to educate residents on procedures for reporting their problems with the community.
  • Boredom is a large problem with assisted living homes. Usually they have a full calendar of activities to keep residents active and engaged. Most of the time new residents do not actively participate in these events. It is important to note when the resident is staying inside a lot and not engaging with other residents. Sometimes shyness is the cause of this boredom, and these adults should take advantage of these activities to stay in the loop. Sometimes you can help by breaking the ice.

These are the more minor conflicts that happen in assisted living homes. The more major ones are potentially serious problems where the resident’s health or safety is in jeopardy.

  • A resident is abused or bullied by another resident. Some of these residents are beginning to have signs of pre-dementia and this can lead to all out aggression to other residents. It can easily escalate out of control. It is important to get the staff involved in these conflicts especially if the resident is new to the community. If the conflict persists the staff must be notified to take more affirmative action and they can sort out misunderstandings better.
  • Problems with a staff member are another conflict in assisted living homes. Sometimes it is hard for a resident to suddenly find themselves dependent on another human being for care. It is important to find out if these complaints are well founded and to try to resolve them. After you’ve listened to the resident you can bring up the subject with the caregiver – it is important not to be accusatory. Together you can usually find a solution to the problem.

Assisted living homes are a good alternative to full time nursing homes for residents that do not require the level of care of a nursing home. They provide medical care and activities of daily living needs and this will allow a senior to maintain much of their independence while still receiving the care that they need.

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Written by Heidi Shepard

Heidi was born and raised in Vero Beach, Florida. At a very young age she discovered her passion for writing, and graduated in 1996 from Florida State University with a major in journalism and minor in Nursing. She is a licensed RN part-time and also works full-time writing for various local health journals and papers. She is a definite asset to Newhealthalert. Not only does her experience and passion show through her keen writing, but her expertise in the medical field enables her to capture the best news topics and subjects found in the health niche.

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