What is the Least Restrictive Environment?

The least restrictive environment is a term you may have run across in your research about the best care for your elderly loved one. In simplest terms, it is exactly what it sounds like—it is the least restrictive environment for those seniors who still require assistance in their day-to-day activities. It allows them to retain a sense of their independence even if total independence isn’t a possibility.

Now, you may be asking how to go about creating such an environment for your loved one, and if you are, fear not! Many people elect to move their elderly loved ones into their homes in order to avoid the costs of assisted living centers or nursing homes. But If you’re worried about whether it will be difficult or expensive to make those changes to your own home or theirs, put those worries to rest, as it’s actually quite simple to do.

You may have to make some different accommodations, such as modifying the bathroom a bit, getting rid of throw rugs, rearranging furniture, putting in some wheelchair ramps, handrails, electronic monitoring devices and security systems, or even starting a meal delivery service that can help your loved one remain in his or her own home for longer. Some other options may include either part-time or full-time home health aide services, and so long as the elder is not limited by physical or mental health issues, living at home may be a realistic option for them.

If you choose to move them into your own home, they can maintain a degree of freedom while still receiving the supervision they need. Of course, there are also the options for assisted living centers and skilled nursing centers. However, the latter should only be reserved for those whose physical or mental health issues keep them from being properly cared for in a less restrictive setting.

It's important to remember that you should discuss all issues and options with family members, and be sure to include the elder in the decision-making process as well. Their input should always be considered, so make sure to take their thoughts and opinions into consideration before settling on a decision.