Older adults living in the community are safer at home than living in assisted living communities. Scary but true.
According to an article by Susan Friedman in the Gerontoogist, the Hazards of Hospitalization, “Patients who are admitted to the hospital from assisted living facilities (and from nursing homes) are at higher risk for several adverse outcomes than are patients who are admitted from the community. Assisted living residents are 16 times more likely to fall and 5 times more likely to suffer functional decline versus their community dwelling counterparts”
Why? By the time an older adult moves to an assisted living community there's likely already been a great deal of denial about the need to move. Maybe an accident like a hip fracture has occurred, maybe weight loss, forgetting to take medications. We're not a preventative society, we wait until something happens to our health and then repent, wondering how this cruel event could have possibly happened to us when we're the cause of the event in the first place.
For older adults, living in a private home represents independence but only if you're physically and mentally able to care for yourself and maintain your home. It's more often frailty and physical weakness that results in older adults leaving their homes. Consult your doctor about an exercise program, remain socially active, maintain your weight and if you smoke, stop. It's these little things that will help you avoid frailty and the dangers of assisted living.