Two Toughest Decisions? When and Where.
It is one thing to decide when the time is right for moving your loved one or yourself to a senior community, but it becomes even more challenging when deciding what type of community is most needed. The process for making these very important decisions can be stressful and confusing as there are many things to consider. We have put together a simple outline of the types of communities, and the specialties of each and hope it will help you to understand your options.
According to The Assisted Living Federation of America: “Senior living (or senior housing and care) is a lifestyle choice for individuals seeking an independent lifestyle with as much assistance as they need or want. The settings are just like our own homes, but with the added advantage of meals and entertainment, housekeeping, transportation, and assistance with daily living activities.”
When is the right time to consider Senior Living?
Here are a few simple questions to ask yourself…
- Is performing daily activities difficult without help from others?
- Are you no longer able to drive because of loss of vision?
- Is shopping for yourself hard because you get fatigued?
- Are you not eating healthy because you are not able to cook for yourself?
- Is cleaning your home a task you’re no longer physically able to do?
- Has your memory loss reached a point where you need assistance for safe daily living?
- Are you not able to bathe yourself or feel uneasy to do so without assistance?
- Are you living alone and desire the company of others?
If you answered yes to any of the above, it may be time to start considering the options. Let’s look at the various lifestyle choices and senior living options.
There are four main options for senior living: Independent living communities, assisted living communities, memory care communities and nursing homes.
Independent living Communities are places for active, healthy seniors who are able to live on their own. The main highlights of independent living communities:
- Home, townhouse, apartment, mobile home or motor home
- Rent or buy
- Usually for those age 55 or older
- Offer amenities like clubhouses, gyms, yard maintenance, housekeeping and security.
- Also, transportation, laundry service, group meals and social activities
- On-site attendant
Assisted Living Communities are for seniors who value their independence but who may need some assistance with their daily activities such as meals, dressing, bathing, help with medication and transportation. The main features of an assisted living community:
- Condos or apartments with 25 to 120 units
- Studio rooms to full apartments
- Three meals a day in a common dining area
- Staff available for personal needs
- Amenities like 24-hour security, housekeeping, medication management, laundry service, exercise programs, social activities and transportation
- Emergency call systems in-house
- Assisted Living Communities with Assisted Living Licensure allows residents to “age in place” and receive many medical treatments in the privacy of their apartment home.
Memory Care Communities are facilities dedicated to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. The main features include:
- Provides active therapy and behavioral management
- Fosters a therapeutic environment to keep resident as independent as possible
- Should have full-time activities director who schedules 60 hours per week of activities
- A daytime staffing ratio of 1 staff for every 5 residents; a nighttime ratio of 1 to 9.
Nursing Homes are for people who can’t care for themselves but who don’t need a hospital. Resident care can be for chronic conditions or for short term rehabilitative care. The main features of a nursing home:
- Nursing staff on-duty 24 hours a day
- Hospital-like setting but some are in individual homes
- Medicaid pays for care for 7 out of every 10 nursing home residents
- Medicare generally does not pay for nursing home care
As you can see, for every situation there is a solution, for every senior there is a lifestyle option that will fit their individual needs. When the time comes to make the decision of when and where be sure to explore all options, consider the care provided at each community and ask specific questions as to the day-to-day programming, most of all, choose a community that makes you feel most comfortable.