Comparing Senior Living Options

Understanding different senior care and living options

There are many different types of senior care assistance and living options, and understanding the benefits and limits of each one will help you make the right decision. It’s also important to remember that needs may change over time, so you’ll want to consider carefully the potential for care requirements in the future. Your Assisted Living Locators Advisor can help you make the right decision, but it’s also helpful for you to know the basic options that are available.

Independent Living

Independent Living communities offer seniors all of the benefits of an apartment-style home without the responsibility of daily chores or upkeep. These types of communities are appropriate for seniors that can manage their daily basic living needs on their own. Most communities offer an assortment of services, ranging from one or more meals per day, housekeeping, laundry, apartment maintenance, and transportation services. This is generally a good option for seniors that want interaction and socialization with other seniors, and don’t need daily care assistance. Many Independent Living communities also offer wellness programs, a range of leisure activities, beauty services, and even classes in a variety of topics.

In-Home Care

In-home care, is supportive care provided in your home. This care is also sometimes referred to as companion care or non-medical in-home care. Non-medical in-home care providers may offer assistance with dressing, bathing, grooming, meal preparation, transportation, medication management, companionship and light housekeeping.

Assisted Living Homes and Communities

Assisted Living is an excellent option for seniors requiring supervision or assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs). Assisted living is a catch-all phrase that describes both assisted living homes and assisted living communities.

The trained staff at Assisted Living facilities provide 24 hour assistance with activities of daily living, and may include the administration or supervision of medication, or personal care services such as bathing, dressing, toileting, shaving, nail care, oral care, escort or transfer assistance, incontinence care, three meals a day, housekeeping, and transportation. Cost for services may be built into the monthly fee or charged for each individual service.

Assisted living homes or care homes are located in a residential neighborhood and provide a private or semi-private bedroom with family-style dining. Care homes may be ideal for those who prefer a small home-like environment or need a higher ratio of caregivers. There may be 2 to 22 residents in a care-home setting depending on your location.

The assisted living community may be collocated with other types of senior housing- independent living, memory care, or skilled nursing. The various levels of care may or may not be provided in the same building. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), are just that, a campus setting where a senior can transition between types of services, usually changing the building in which they reside, but being able to remain in a single location from independent living through skilled nursing (if needed).

Alzheimer's/Memory Care

These specialized care communities are one of the fastest growing solutions for senior care. Although many Assisted Living Facilities may offer specialized memory care (often in a separate wing or on a different floor), Memory Care Facilities are a distinct option for those who have been diagnosed with a memory impairment, such as Alzheimer’s, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other dementia. Memory Care is specifically designed to provide 24 hour supervision to those who need frequent redirecting or may wander. The Caregivers are specially trained to deal with issues related to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementias.

Adult Day Care Centers

Normally, adult day care is used to relieve the caregiver or his or her duties for the day while ensuring that the care recipient will still receive the proper care in a safe, friendly environment. It also provides the social interaction required by seniors to maintain good mental health. These centers usually operate during normal business hours five days a week, and some centers also offer additional services during evenings and weekends. Currently, there are more than 4,000 of these programs operating in the United States.

In general, there are three main types of adult day care centers: those that focus primarily on social interaction, those that provide medical care, and those dedicated to Alzheimer’s care. Many of these facilities are affiliated with other organizations, including home care agencies, skilled nursing facilities, medical centers, or other senior service providers.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes provide the highest level of care and are appropriate for those requiring 24 hour medical support and supervision, such as severe diabetes, breathing issues requiring 24 hour medical support, extreme obesity, wounds and pressure sores. Nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities have licensed nurses and nursing assistants available 24-hours a day.