Identifying appropriate residential communities may be confusing and overwhelming at times. The general information below can be used as a starting point for our work together.
INDEPENDENT LIVING COMMUNITIES
Independent Living is simply any housing arrangement designed exclusively for seniors, generally those aged 55 and over who are healthy and have active lifestyles with no significant impairments. Housing varies widely, from apartment-style living to freestanding homes. In general, the housing is friendlier to older adults, often being more compact, with easier navigation and no maintenance or yard work to worry about. Many are attracted to the prospects of new social opportunities, enriching activities, and a stimulating environment.
While residents live independently, most communities offer amenities, activities, and services. Centers are often available on site to give seniors the opportunity to connect with peers and participate in community and educational activities, movie nights, or outings to theater or other destinations. Independent Living communities may also offer facilities such as a swimming pool, fitness center, or other clubs and interest groups. Other services offered in Independent Living may include beauty and barber salons, daily meals, and basic housekeeping and laundry services.
Independent Living communities are designed to be physically safer, including having handrails in the bathrooms and 24-hour emergency response systems. Since Independent Living communities are aimed at older adults who need little or no assistance with Activities of Daily Living (such as help with medication, bathing, dressing, etc.), most do not offer medical care or nursing staff. As with regular housing, though, you can hire in-home help separately as required.
You may want to consider independent living if:
ASSISTED LIVING COMMUNITIES
An Assisted Living community is a long-term care option that provides more personal care services, combining housing, support services and health care. Assisted Living is a good option for individuals who require help with Activities of Daily Living – meals, medication reminders and possibly assistance with bathing, dressing and transportation – while still maintaining a level of independence. Services provided may vary from community to community.
There are multiple settings to choose from ranging from small residential homes to one-story buildings, or high-rises and multi-acre developments. They may be freestanding or part of a campus that also contains a skilled nursing care unit.
The on-site staff is available 24 hours, seven days a week to provide protective oversight for their residents who need it. Assisted Living communities appeal to seniors who would like to live in a social environment with few responsibilities and easy access to non-skilled care.
Assisted Living amenities typically include: medication management and monitoring of health; assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming; housekeeping and linen services; maintenance; transportation; 24-hour security; exercise and wellness programs; and social and recreational activities. Complex medical care is not provided. Costs are usually paid by private funds or long-term care insurance.
An assisted living facility may be a good choice if:
SKILLED NURSING FACILITIES
A Skilled Nursing Facility is usually the highest level of care for older adults outside of a hospital. While they do provide assistance in Activities of Daily Living, they differ from other senior housing in that they also provide a high level of medical care. A licensed physician supervises each resident’s care and a nurse or other medical professional is almost always on the premises. Skilled nursing care and medical professionals such as occupational or physical therapists are also available.
Skilled Nursing Facilities provide housing and care for seniors who have more serious health problems, functional impairments or cognitive deficits. Services can include: personal care, assistance with Activities of Daily Living, room and board, supervision, medication, therapies, rehabilitation and 24-hour skilled nursing. Costs may be covered by Medicaid for those people who meet their state’s financial eligibility criteria and minimum level of needed care requirement.
A Skilled Nursing Facility may be a good choice if:
MEMORY CARE FACILITIES
Seniors suffering with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s or another form of Dementia need specialized care unique to their needs. They can benefit from living in a Memory Care Facility because these facilities are specially designed for memory care residents so therefore provide:
Seniors in Memory Care environments have a level of impairment making it unsafe for them to stay at home, but do not require the intensive level of care provided in a Skilled Nursing Facility. Memory Care allows the individual experiencing memory loss to maintain a level of independence while relying on the safety and security of being in a residential facility with professional staff. Memory Care staff work individually with each resident, providing them with memory-related activities appropriate to their cognitive level that are designed to stimulate brain activity and soothe anxiety.
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