Though it may seem otherwise, the term “assisted living” is actually a relatively new idea. In the 1970s, seniors generally had few choices when they found they needed more care than they could give themselves. They could hire a nurse to make daily visits, rely on a family member to provide the assistance they needed or enter a nursing home full-time. None of these choices were particularly appealing to seniors, especially considering the mistreatment by staff that was rumored to be happening in nursing homes. Luckily, today’s assisted living facilities are leaps and bounds above what we think of when we hear “nursing home,” as well as the reality of the situation decades ago.
Dr. Keren Brown Wilson is thought of as the founder of the modern assisted living facility. Motivated by her mother in the mid-70s to find a solution for aging seniors, Brown Wilson looked at all of the negatives of a traditional nursing home and created a new concept of senior living where residents could feel independent, while receiving the quality of care they deserved. By the 1980s, the new model for assisted living facilities included 24 hour staffing, private rooms and bathrooms with locking doors and community activities that provided social interaction.
As the modern assisted living facility movement grew throughout the years, so did the benefits these homes could offer potential residents and their families. For instance, if you were to ask “how much does assisted living cost?” decades ago, the answer would be much different than it is today. Assisted living was originally only available for those who could afford to pay for out-of-home care, until Dr. Wilson Brown developed the first assisted living program financially aided by the government. Though Medicaid does not fully cover the total costs of assisted living, many more people now have access to senior homes than ever before, allowing those who need it the additional assistance they require.
Today, assisted living is often seen as “the best of both worlds.” Residents are able to enjoy the comforts and privacy of home, while receiving the necessary assistance they require in their day to day activities. Some seniors may need help with cooking or driving, for instance, but still wish to be as independent as possible. Modern assisted living can provide a more personalized senior living experience for every resident, making this desired independence a reality, despite age.
Many assisted living facilities, such as the Village at Oakwood homes in Oklahoma City, even provide life-enrichment activities, such as exercise classes and spa-like amenities, which go above and beyond merely medical care.
If you are ready to look into senior care for you or a loved one, the Village at Oakwood assisted living provides caring homes for the elderly in Oklahoma City. Contact us and learn about our individualized services, designed to meet all your needs.