Moving to a senior living community can be a good decision for people who want to maintain an engaged, independent lifestyle. Families who are in the midst of making important decisions about a senior loved one’s future care may have decided that senior living is a good option.
However, there are still some important decisions to be made, including choosing the right type of senior care.
Choosing Well: Determining What Type of Care a Senior Needs
Whether you’re still exploring the idea of senior living or you’re ready to choose a senior community, these guidelines can help you make an informed decision.
First, Know Your Options
‘Senior living’ is a general term that covers a variety of communities. The options range from independent retirement living for active seniors looking for socialization and freedom from home maintenance to assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care.
Senior Living Options
Here’s what each type of senior living entails.
- Independent/Retirement Living: The services offered are mostly to provide a maintenance-free lifestyle: home repairs, lawn care, snow removal, and trash pick-up. These communities sometimes offer dining programs, housekeeping, and laundry. A wide range of life enrichment activities, programs, outings, and events make it easier for residents to continue to live an engaged, productive life.
- Assisted Living: These offer a step up in services for seniors who need help with medication, bathing, dressing, and personal care. They provide restaurant-style dining and a selection of social activities, physical fitness programs, and other life enrichment activities.
- Skilled Nursing: This is a higher level of health care, offering round-the-clock access to nurses. There’s physician oversight, disease management, skilled nursing services, and several types of therapies available.
- Short-Term Rehab: This is around-the-clock medical care and therapeutic services designed to help a person recover from an illness, a surgery, or an accident. The desired end result is to get the patient back up to a level where they will no longer need such focused care and therapy
- Memory Care: These programs offer 24/7 care for seniors who have Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Benefits include specially trained staff, dementia-specific life enrichment programs, and medication management. Memory care programs also offer personal care services, dedicated dining programs, housekeeping, laundry, and transportation. Another big advantage is a secure environment designed to keep seniors with memory loss safe.
- Continuing Care Retirement Communities: From Retirement Living, Independent Living, Assisted Living to Memory Care to Skilled Nursing, or even options without care such as independent living, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) provide multiple care levels on a single campus. Residents who call these communities home have peace of mind knowing they likely won’t have to move somewhere else if they need to transition to a new level of care down the road.
Second, Determine Which Type of Community Suits You
Whether it’s you or your senior loved one who’s moving to senior living, it’s important to match needs and desires to the right level of care and service.
Here’s a quick set of guidelines for the levels of care:
- Independent Living: is for seniors who can manage mostly on their own but don’t want the hassle of keeping up a home. They’re mobile and they don’t suffer from major health issues. They find the social activities and the carefree lifestyle of independent living communities to be attractive.
- Assisted Living: is for seniors who need a little more help in their day. On their own, they may forget to take their medications or struggle to get to doctor’s appointments. They don’t require complex medical care, however, just assistance with personal needs like bathing and dressing.
- Skilled Nursing Care: is for individuals who require round-the-clock supervision by a skilled professional. They may require help with an IV, rely upon medical equipment that requires someone there to help, or have wounds that necessitate special attention.
- Memory Care: is for individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. They need supervision and care at all hours of the day, plus a secure environment that reduces dangerous wandering.
Third, Visit in Person and Ask Lots of Questions
Seeing a senior community in person provides invaluable insight. You and your senior loved one should make appointments at all of the senior living communities you’re considering. Take a tour, get to know the people working and living there, and ask lots of questions.
Your Options at Five Star Senior Living
One of the benefits of Loretto is the wide range of services and multiple levels of care available. Seniors who can manage living on their own but who prefer a lifestyle where they don’t have to worry about maintaining a home can opt for independent living.
Seniors who need more care can choose assisted living. We also have Memory Care for those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
If you’d like help exploring your options for senior living, please contact us today.