As an aging society we are seeing more seniors with autism. One way Senior Living Experts can help families of autistic seniors is by finding the right type of assisted living facilities. We will focus on the special needs they have when dealing with autism.
Explaining Autism & Seniors with Autism
April is World Autism Month. Most of us are unaware of the statistics related to adults with autism. The number of people who deal with the unique needs of seniors with autism is growing. The first step to finding the right living facility is to get in touch with us as soon as possible to get started in looking for the right housing for seniors with autism.
What is Autism
- Definition – A full definition of autism can be read here at Autism Speaks.Org. The general context describes autism as a range of conditions that can affect overall function that includes social function, learning ability and more. Autism is caused by genetics, environment, and/or a combination of both.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder – Referred to as ASD the word “spectrum” brings to light the fact that those with Autism can have Autism in extremely varying degrees.This allows one term to be used to identify autism without omitting or focusing on one particular sector.
- Late Diagnosis – The National Autistic Society is recognizing that ‘children’ that were first diagnosed as autistic are now reaching their middle aged years. However, seniors are now being diagnosed later in life after recognizing the signs and actions that put them on the autism spectrum too.
What Everyone with Autism Experiences
According to this free PDF from the National Autistic Society UK…
There are 3 areas that affects everyone who has Autism:
- Social Interaction
- Imagination/Thought Processing
Where they are on the ‘spectrum’ & how functional they are will undoubtedly determine what is needed when choosing housing for seniors with autism. In the elderly, it is important to address these needs individually when looking for the right living facility for seniors with autism.
Focus on the Following When Looking at Housing for Seniors with Autism
Everything is dependent upon the level of function of the person with autism. Those with a high level of function will require less intervention than those who are low functioning.
- Caregiving – Nearly all seniors who are on the autism spectrum will need some type of assistance. It’s up to you to decide how much extra help is needed in personal hygiene, housekeeping, and other daily living skills/tasks.
- Socialization – Autism affects people mainly on a social level. In other words, this will be an area where you need to put a lot of focus. Choosing a facility that offers a variety of social activities and entertainment may make life more enjoyable. However, you need to be careful of overload.
- Staff – Finding a facility that offers a 24/7 staff is highly beneficial. One reason is that it’s common to find that seniors with autism have other medical and mental issues that can be affected. These are called “co-existing conditions” and it is extremely important to know when these conditions worsen or change. Nothing should be ignored or tossed aside as ‘just getting old’ with any changes in health or behavior.
- Safety – It’s important to feel comfortable with your senior loved one being in a home that they are safe. Because many with autism have communication & comprehension problems, a secure entry is beneficial.
- Transportation – Even if a person has driven in the past, as they age it would likely be more beneficial to have a facility that offers transportation. On the other hand if a person can function well enough to take public transportation, for example a bus, then that can be one way they remain functional and independent.
Types of Living to Consider for Seniors with Autism
- assisted living with Supervision – This type of living will allow semi-independent living. There will be a 24 hour staff to help ensure that the residents are taken care of. Focus will be on the personal needs of each resident while encouraging socialization when comfortable.
- Senior Living Long Term Care Home – Focus in this type of home will be on individual needs and center around constant care. If there is any fear of your senior loved one living completely alone, this will help give limited independence. Focus is on safety, health, and encouragement of social interaction.
- Individual Home – The most likely option for a highly functioning senior with autism.In general a caregiver or aide would be needed. This can include an apartment, home, rental, or any housing unit as long as goals are set.
Let us help you find the right fit for housing. While we will do most of the work for you, this free guide may help you decide what places fit your senior’s needs best.
We Can Help with Finding Living Options for Seniors with Autism
Our team can help you take care of finding the right option to fit your specific needs. Finding living facilities for seniors with autism can be difficult, but with the right guidance you can feel confident with your housing choice.