When the time comes for your parent to consider senior living options, there is a bit of uncertainty. You might not understand the differences between many levels of senior care, which can make your decision on what type of facilities to screen more difficult.
There are many common misconceptions when it comes to senior living, such as only associating nursing homes with long-term care senior communities. But there is a difference between Nursing Homes and Assisted Living communities. Additionally, not all assisted living communities provide the same services, and not all seniors are perfect fits for living them.
Depending on your loved one’s medical and mobility needs, they need to consider a few different options. And once you understand the options you have available, you can identify the one that best fits your family.
There are 4 main types of senior care, each with their own advantages, quirks, and nuances:
Your loved one’s individual needs will determine which level of care is right for them. Here is a bit more information about each one so you can make an educated decision.
Independent living is the most “hands-off” form of care offered at senior living communities.
This gives seniors the opportunity to live as they see fit. It’s meant to combine the familiar feeling of living at their own home while also providing the excitement of new experiences and a new environment.
Seniors at this level do not require round-the-clock medical attention or regular access to skilled nursing. However, they do benefit from living in a community of others in a similar stage.
At an independent living community, your loved one will have access to social events, regularly scheduled meals, and other care services.
Assisted living is a higher level of care than independent living.
With this level, seniors can regularly receive assistance in various daily activities, making it a great fit for those struggling with some or all Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
At an Assisted Living Facility, available staff can help your loved one with bathing, transferring, or other personal care activities. These facilities also provide access to skilled nursing care – the nursing staff helps tailor a medical care plan that keeps your loved one happy and healthy during their stay. They also provide medication management and other nursing services for older adults.
Also, many seniors may consider enrolling in a residential care community. These offer the same amenities as assisted living communities, but with a greater focus on smaller groups.
In fact, the majority of these homes have less than 10 seniors staying at any given time. In this environment, seniors are more closely watched after, but these are also a more expensive option.
Seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia have a unique set of care needs that require their own solution. That’s why there has been a surge in memory care facilities over the past few decades.
These skilled nursing facilities consist of memory-impaired patients and focus on providing them stimulating and healthy lifestyles. These are on par with assisted living facilities in the sense that residents have routine access to high-end health care as well as assistance with their daily living activities.
Short-term care, also known as Respite Care or adult day care, is a form of senior care that is more periodic in nature.
This level provides a secure, warm environment for a senior to spend a short time or extended stay. Residents usually sign up within a community to be a member. Then, whenever assisted living services are needed, they are welcome to come onsite.
This is a great option when a family is providing home care or monitoring home health care and they are leaving town for a few days, or otherwise just need a good break from taking care of their parents.
It is also an option for senior citizens recovering from an illness or trying surgery. By spending an extended period of time in an assisted living facility, your loved one will have access to medical care should they need it.
With a solid understanding of the different types of senior care available to you, it’s time to apply the framework to your unique situation.
In the early stages of finding the right levels of care for your loved one, gathering as much information as possible is your best bet. And a great place to start is with your existing medical acquaintances.
Your loved one’s doctors and nurses will have a unique insight into their needs and will know which levels of care align with them.
Medical needs vary from patient to patient, and they play a huge role in finding the right level of care for your loved one.
If a patient is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, for example, a memory care community is likely the best fit. But for many seniors facing simple mobility challenges, independent living or assisted living may be the answer.
While every senior is different in their medical or Activities of Daily Living needs, they also have their own preferences.
For many seniors seeking an assisted living community, finding a location in close proximity to their family is crucial. For others, finding a community that promotes the most social interaction and inclusive culture is key.
You’ll also need to assess how much you or your loved one cares about things like all-day dining, on-site nurses, visitation policies, and more. When you have a clearer picture of what they prefer, finding a community becomes much easier.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, its time to start screening communities that your loved one will fit right into.
Finding long-term care you can trust is made easy through Caring Advisor. Choosing senior care with the help of our team can take the confusion out of the equation. Each of our senior living facilities is staffed with friendly professionals who strive to give our residents quality care and quality lives.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you solve your long-term care needs.