Marteny: For some, moving into supportive housing makes sense

Many families still have the perception that supportive housing is a place for “old” people, or where the elderly go to die.

I still have many families contact me asking how they can get their parents to realize the benefits of moving into supportive housing.

Many still have the perception that it is a place for “old” people, or where the elderly go to die.

These perceptions are so far from the truth.

Living in a supportive housing residence can add to the enjoyment of a senior’s life. It is at least worth the time of seniors to tour the supportive housing locations and stay for lunch.

Supportive housing provides accommodation and meals for seniors, in addition to many other services. The average age of residents is 82 years.

The intent of supportive housing is to make the senior feel at home while having meals prepared and housekeeping done.  Supportive housing allows seniors to come and go as they choose and still be part of a community.

Seniors who move into supportive housing are active people. Over time, they may need to use walkers or other devices to assist with ailments due to aging.

One of the best aspects of living in supportive housing is that the seniors always have company. This alone will aid in improving their overall well-being.

Even if seniors only come down for meals and then return to their suites, they interact with others.

It is important to determine the needs and wants of the seniors to ensure that they move into the supportive housing residence that best meets their needs.

The needs of the families must also be taken into consideration, especially if there is only one caregiver. It is always best if seniors themselves make the decision to move.

Living in supportive housing allows seniors to be with other people who can relate to what is happening in their lives—an illness, the death of a spouse or war time memories.

Often new friendships develop between the seniors and they begin to watch out for each other.

There are no furnishings in the suite which allows seniors to bring their special belongings with them. Most suites will have a small fridge and perhaps a microwave.  Usually all utilities are included in the monthly rent.

At some residences, the seniors are responsible for their own cable television and telephone.

Having the 24-hour emergency call system can be a comfort to the seniors and their families.  When seniors are living in supportive housing and they push the emergency call button, assistance is there in minutes. If required, the family or an ambulance will be called.

The move into supportive housing can be a major stress reliever for families—another set of eyes is watching out for the senior.

The families will usually be informed of any changes that have been noticed in the senior.

This could include changes in hygiene, quantity of food eaten and overall manner of the seniors.

It is then up to the families to investigate the reason for the change and take action to correct it.

Kelowna Capital News

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