Senior Living's Growing Need for ADL Assistance

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senior living's growing need for ADL assistance

It’s no secret that today’s senior living residents look very different from the residents of yesterday — and their needs are different, too.

In the United States, the average senior living resident is 85 years old or older. These residents are much older than those of years past, and this demographic is about three times more likely to require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) than people who are between 75 and 84 years old, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In fact, about 21% of all Americans who are 85 years old or older need help with tasks such as bathing, eating, walking and dressing. That’s much higher than the 7% of Americans between 75 and 84 years old who need assistance with those same ADLs.

Senior living providers need to make sure they’re addressing this ballooning need for ADL assistance brought on by their residents’ higher average age.

Managing ADLs
As it stands, virtually all senior living providers will need to be prepared to help more of their residents with ADLs. Still, not all senior living residents will require the same level or types of assistance.

This is where “discovery” can come in handy, Douglas Schiffer, president and chief operating officer of St. Louis-based Allegro Senior Living, explained in a recent Leadership Series interview.

A “discovery room” is a designated space within a senior living community where a sales team member can meet with prospective residents to get to know them personally.

“You discover what the person wants, and spend time with them to learn what they’re interested in before they decide to take a tour of the property,” Schiffer says.

Through a discovery interview, a community can learn upfront how much help a future resident will likely need with ADLs. Then, when it’s time for that new resident to actually move into the community, staff will know how to shuffle amongst themselves to best accommodate the new resident’s needs.

Leveraging Technology
In addition to discovery, communities can leverage technology to determine whether staffing levels are meeting the needs of residents whose ADL capabilities are falling. Electronic health record (EHR) platforms enable staff to stay constantly informed on their residents’ conditions, and confirm that residents are regularly receiving the care they need on time. Managers can plan and staff accordingly with a real-time look into how residents are doing when it comes to their immediate needs.

Sometimes, though, a resident may require more assistance with ADLs than initially anticipated, and staff won’t be able to accommodate each and every need. If a community finds out that this is the case, it can always leverage various ancillary service offerings to meet its residents’ needs — and help to maintain resident satisfaction.

To learn more about ancillary services, download our free ancillary services eBook.

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