Posted on Feb 18, 2020 in Senior Living
Ideally, we’d all like to age in place. But sometimes, this just isn’t an option. That’s why it doesn’t hurt to know the different types of existing eldercare. Generally, when talking about eldercare, there are four main types to be aware of: independent living, assisted living, continuing care communities, and nursing homes.
Independent living is the closest a senior can get to living in their own home. Independent living communities usually have studios or one bedroom accommodations and are designed for people that are still able to perform daily tasks such as cleaning, driving, scheduling appointments, taking medication, and cooking. This is generally for people who do not have any major health risks and do not need extra supervision from either a caregiver or a licensed nurse. Generally, independent living exists within single apartment complexes, condos, or even free-standing homes situated around a club house or activity center. Sometimes residents choose to purchase a unit within a retirement community simply for the social aspect of becoming friendly with peers with activities nearby. Other times, people choose it because they would like to live in a home or apartment that does not require too much maintenance. The major advantages to independent living are living autonomously with a spouse, access to transportation/age-related services, and a rich social network of friends.
Generally, assisted living is a wise housing option for seniors who need help with some daily-living tasks commonly known as ADLs. Maybe they need help with medications, cooking, or have lost a spouse and are not capable of living alone in the housing situation described above. Prices fluctuate depending upon the amount of care needed, but with assisted living, staff caregivers are available around the clock.
Some assisted living facilities contain single-living apartments with kitchenettes; others provide simply rooms; while less expensive options sometimes require residents to share rooms like dormitory style living. Although less independent than independent living, assisted living residences have activities, a vibrant social community, and usually group-dining which makes meeting new people easier. Assisted living is for those who need more caregiving than can be given at home, but less medical supervision than would be found in a nursing home.
Continuing care communities provide both of the situations described above. Sometimes they even include a nursing home in the same location. If you plan early this can sometimes be the best option because as your loved one ages, they will not need to move from their already-comfortable area to receive more medical attention. A resident purchases a unit and as their needs change, the monthly fee to live in the community increases with the higher levels of care. This option also allows spouses to stay close together even if one requires more attention than the other.
Skilled nursing, colloquially known more broadly as a nursing home, is a facility where someone can receive the highest level of medical care outside of a hospital. While nursing homes do aid with daily care, they are generally chosen as a living option because of the high level of medical care available. A licensed doctor supervises each resident’s care and a nurse or other medical professional is always available on the premises. Also, there are both occupational and physical therapists typically available on site. A nursing home is a good choice if a recent health development has incapacitated a loved one, such as a fall or a stroke, and there is no way they can receive the correct amount of care through home-health or another living facility. Sometimes, however, nursing homes are temporary options right after hospitalization or rehab, and residents return home or to another facility after a short period of time.
Although picking the right living option seems simple, you should always consult your loved one’s doctor and of course the seniors themselves. There are many options available to aid in the decision, such as a medical social worker, or even agencies and organizations, which specialize in moving seniors into homes or facilities at no cost to you. Social workers and eldercare agencies can also tell you if you are eligible for federal or state aid, sometimes improving the quality of the facility your loved one will live in by increasing your price range.
If you or a loved one has decided that they need assistance, Landmark Senior Living offers respite care, assisted living and memory care. Whatever you or a loved one needs, we can help you find the perfect home at Landmark.
About The Author
Max Gottlieb is the content manager of Senior Planning in Phoenix, Arizona. Senior Planning provides free assistance to seniors, as well as helping them apply for benefits or find a senior living situation that best fits their needs.