senior woman with caregiver

Learn the Facts About Assisted Living – Understanding Activities of Daily Living to Staff Roles

Assisted living communities are designed to help support people as they age and as they require more assistance during daily activities. Often, residents at assisted living facilities have their own rooms or apartments, as well as common areas for socializing. The assisted living facilities (ALFs) provide supervision and a range of services, ranging from bathing and dressing to meal services and laundry.

While they vary widely in size, assisted living facilities all provide some basic health care services. The level of services offered differs between organizations, but here is a quick summary of offerings at ALFs nationwide:

  • More than 80 percent of ALFs have an on-site pharmacy
  • More than 70 percent provide speech therapy and/or occupational therapy
  • Almost 70 percent of ALFs offer hospice care and skilled nursing care
  • More than 50 percent provide mental health services, including counseling
  • Fifty percent of ALFs provide social worker services

Activities of Daily Living

When you are weighing which assisted living facility is right for you or a loved one, the activities of daily living can be a deciding factor. The activities of daily living (ADLs) is a term used to describe a set of skills that are commonly accepted as necessary in order to independently care for oneself. Physicians, caregivers and senior care facilities often use ADLs to determine the level of care a resident requires now and may require in the near future.

The basic activities of daily living include the following categories:

  • Personal Hygiene, including the ability to bathe and groom independently, as well as maintaining dental hygiene, hair care and nail care.
  • Continence, defined as the ability to control the bladder and bowel function.
  • Feeding, such as the ability to feed oneself without help.
  • Ambulating, which means the extent to which an individual can move from one position to another and walk without assistance.
  • Toileting, which includes the ability to go to and from the toilet and use it appropriately, including cleaning oneself after using the bathroom.
  • Dressing, meaning the ability to select appropriate clothing items and put them on without help.

Common Resident Conditions

Care plans for each resident are designed to fit that specific resident’s needs and to support that resident with the level of activities and socialization they desire. Additionally, there are varying levels of health care available within assisted living facilities. However, there are some standard conditions shared by a large percentage of residents at ALFs. Here are the most common resident conditions at assisted living facilities, as reported by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) surveys:

  • Incontinence
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia
  • Sleep issues
  • Depression
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Coronary Artery Disease

Senior Care Staff Roles

Because each resident in an assisted living community has independent, unique care needs, the staff must be experienced and diverse in their expertise. Communities will build their team based on their specific offerings and the level of care needed by their residents. However, most assisted living staffs include general senior care staff roles. The National Institute of Health (NIH) assembled the following list of senior care staff roles:

  • Administrator, who is the director of the facility
  • Medical Director, who is in charge of the overall healthcare strategy
  • Director of Nursing, who is responsible for overseeing all nursing activities
  • Nursing staff, which may include registered nurses, clinical nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses and personal care techs
  • Housekeeping and admissions coordinators
  • Custodial and housekeeping staff members
  • Dining coordinator and staff
  • Administrative staff and volunteers

In an assisted living environment, it is usually the certified nursing assistants (CNAs), the orderlies and medical attendants who provide the day-to-day personal care to the residents. CNAs help with care duties such as toileting, bathing, dressing and mobility. Nursing assistants are charged with monitoring health changes and reporting concerns about a resident.

Planning Your Future

The Gables at Charlton Place and Charlton Place Rehabilitation & Health Care Center is located in Deatsville, Ala. Our facilities are easily accessible to the neighboring communities and provide both rehabilitation care and assisted living services.

We recognize the unique needs of each resident and collaborate closely with primary physicians, family members and teams of specialists in order to put the right care plan or rehabilitation plan in place. All care activities at Charlton Place are overseen by our Medical Director and experienced team of health care professionals. We can provide comfort and companionship, adventure and activity or a little bit of everything – your experience is guided by you! Contact us today to learn more.