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Assisted Living and Hospice: Helping Seniors Age in Place
By Evalisa McClure


Age doesn’t treat everyone equally, but human biology generally dictates that the longer a person lives, the more effort it takes to preserve an independent lifestyle.

Household chores, hygiene, finances and appointments can become difficult to manage as one’s faculties diminish with age. Despite this reality, the AARP found that 90 percent of adults over the age of 65 would prefer to remain where they currently reside as they get older.

The popularity of “aging in place” shows how much seniors value independence, but independent living isn’t an all-or-nothing choice. Some aging adults choose to stay in assisted living facilities (ALFs) or communities with access to age-appropriate services and amenities, including assistance with chores or hygiene, but without full-time nursing care and monitoring.

VITAS® Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care since 1978, partners with ALFs throughout Western Pennsylvania and around the country to deliver care, services and support to residents facing severe or terminal illness so that they can remain comfortable at home.

Our interdisciplinary hospice teams work with the facility staff, the patient’s physician and family to improve the patient’s quality of life while maximizing their self-determination. Although nurses and hospice aides focus on routine clinical care and personal hygiene, social workers, chaplains and other specialists ensure a patient is nurtured in mind and spirit as well as body.

Art and music volunteers help patients paint a picture or write a song. For certain patients, VITAS’ licensed music therapists can help relieve symptoms, spur memories and promote communication through composition, performance and active listening.

VITAS offers a wide variety of specialized care solutions, including programs targeting veterans, Alzheimer’s/dementia and COPD patients, Jewish accreditation, Paw Pals® pet visits, multilingual staff and memorial services.

When an ALF resident enters hospice care, they’ll continue to pay normal fees to the facility or community. But any medications, supplies and equipment related to their terminal diagnosis are covered by VITAS, potentially enabling patients to afford longer residencies than those seeking traditional, curative treatment.

VITAS understands the appeal of aging in place, and we have the resources to help hospice-appropriate seniors approach the end of life without sacrificing quality of life, wherever they call home. VITAS is proud to work alongside assisted living facilities and communities to foster an environment where care, comfort and dignity are always an option.

Evalisa McClure is general manager of VITAS® Healthcare in Pittsburgh. For more information about end-of-life care options, call VITAS Healthcare at (866) 759-6695 or visit VITAS.com.



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