Assisted living care options can vary greatly. In this article we will discuss your options to give your loved one the most appropriate care he or she may need.
We start with a basic question: How much support does your senior need? There are communities, facilities, and programs available for every level of care.
Senior Independent Living Communities
These are designed for highly independent seniors who don’t have serious medical issues. Typically, these communities offer well-furnished apartments, numerous social events, and group outings. Residents can, if needed, arrange for room cleaning and one or more meals a day provided in the dining room.
Assisted Living Facilities
These facilities offer the next step up in supportive care. Staff is on hand 24 hours a day, assisting with medication, housekeeping, and self-care. Licensed nursing services are available. Residents are served three meals a day and can take advantage of on-site social activities and transportation to local attractions.
Nursing homes are designed for seniors with more complex medical needs. Here, highly trained personnel are available around the clock to support residents in all aspects of living. Many residents are not very mobile, but they can look forward to enrichment experiences and structured social activities. Rehabilitative staff such as Physical Therapists and Speech-Language Pathologists may be contracted for the residents’ well-being.
Residential Care Homes
These are typically private houses that have been retrofitted. Multiple seniors can live together here with in-house caretakers. Residential Care Homes offer services similar to those of assisted living or nursing facilities, but in a comfortable, home-like environment.
Some nursing homes offer short-term stays as skilled nurses help a senior rehabilitate from surgery, injury, or serious illness.
Memory Care (Dementia Care/Alzheimer’s Disease)
The memory impairments and personality changes brought about by Alzheimer’s and dementia are a unique challenge. Some assisted living facilities and nursing homes provide the specialized 24-hour support, highly trained personnel, and secured areas needed to assist people with degenerative memory issues.
Respite care programs offered by local assisted living communities and nursing homes provide families that care for their loved ones with a much-needed break. Some of these programs offer ‘adult day care,’ providing for the senior during working hours of the day. Others offer multiple day- or week-long programs for short term stays at the facility.
In-Home Personal Care
Here, an assistant commutes to the home and provides the senior with personal care, cooking, transportation, bill payment, and companionship. These caretakers are typically paid by the hour depending on how much training they have received. Some caretakers are found by informal arrangements or advertisements in the newspaper and can be ideal for working with a fairly independent senior. If your loved one needs more specialized care, consider contracting highly trained personnel through a certified home health agency.