Your decision-making process as you search for a new living situation for yourself or a family member will be based on many variables, including:
- Services and amenities offered
- Type of assistance you need
It is important to understand each kind of living situation and what services are offered. A skilled All About Care consultant can help guide you through this decision making process.
Please continue to read, or for specific information select from the following:
Retirement Communities for Independent Seniors
($2500 to $5000 monthly)
It's the privacy and freedom of home combined with the convenience and security of on-call assistance and a maintenance-free environment. Retirement communities offer active seniors choices about how they want to live. There are residential choices, such as a selection of apartment floor plans or options to rent or own. There are also lifestyle choices: a full schedule of activities; a selection of meal plans and menus; and options for personalized service to meet a resident's particular needs.
Independent living communities are pretty much what the name implies? they are for seniors who want to enjoy the benefits of an active, independent lifestyle. These places provide the best of both worlds: private living along with communal services and activities. Independent living attracts people who are looking to trade the responsibility of home maintenance, in exchange for a range of social, educational and leisure activities.
Retirement communities are a sensible solution for independent seniors with few medical problems who feel the need for companionship, social activities and the desire to live among retirees with similar backgrounds and interests. Most retirement communities provide accommodations for about 75 to 250 seniors.
For independent living residents, there is a wide variety of social, cultural and recreational programs. Book groups, baking classes, theater outings and shopping excursions ? these are just a few of the many activities for residents to enjoy.
Many of these residences offer a secured environment and a wide range of services, including meals, scheduled medical appointment transportation, shopping transportation, field trips, tours and housekeeping services. Some facilities also offer assisted living services for seniors who need help with everyday living activities.
Independent living is all about lifestyle. Communities are often designed as private campuses. Many feature pools, spas, exercise centers and social halls. Meal plans and organized activities are also common. Some communities offer varying forms of health care; but often, residents are accountable for their own well being.
Since lifestyle is the attraction, independent living communities usually offer living spaces in a range of sizes and configurations. Separate cottages, townhouse or apartments are very common. Typically, a residence has one or two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, one or two bathrooms and some storage.
Assisted Living Residences
($2500 to $6000 monthly)
Assisted living is probably the most broadly defined form of senior living available today and is becoming more popular every year.
Many people approaching their later years find they need help in their daily routines. Adult children, especially if they live far away, also become concerned about parents living alone who may have an increased need for help. Assisted living bridges the gap between living on your own and living in a nursing home. Assisted living residences are designed for seniors who don't need 24 hour nursing care, but who do need help with activities of daily living such as bathing, grooming and dressing and supervisory care for their safety. Residents may live in their own private apartments which may be equipped with some kitchen features. Services available include assistance with medications, housekeeping, laundry and three meals a day. Some facilities may provide limited nursing supervision.
Many of these communities offer social activities and transportation for shopping, medical appointments and personal service needs. Most facilities provide housing for about 50 to 300 or more residents. Some assisted living residences have a secured Alzheimer's "special care unit" for residents with cognitive impairment.
Nonprofit organizations, many of them sponsored by religious groups, have provided assisted living services for more than one hundred years. Nowadays, assisted living is an increasingly popular choice for older persons. In many instances, it offers the right blend of services at a reasonable cost.
You may choose to live in an assisted living residence. Such residences are designed to meet your special personal-service and housing needs, and sometimes health care needs as well. Your choices will vary from single or double rooms to suites and apartments. In some areas of the country, assisted living residences may be called different names, such as personal care, residential care, or domiciliary care.
In general, assisted living provides a balance of residential living, health and recreational services, and assistance in day-to-day living activities. In reality, it offers residents many of the same benefits as independent living, while providing basic help in areas that may have become personally challenging.
There are many typical features in assisted living communities. Residences can be free-standing, like cottages, or apartments within a larger building or campus. Living spaces are specially designed with custom handrails, wheelchair accessible rooms, corridors, and bathtubs, emergency-call devices, etc. Most important, these communities are created to respect residents' privacy, independence and lifestyle preferences. Most communities have personal care professionals to help residents manage their most basic daily activities.
Residents typically have choices in meal plans, laundry and housekeeping service, local transportation and religious services. On-site security and property supervision are also the norm.
Residential Care Homes
($1800 to $6500 monthly)
Residential care homes for elders are often referred to as board and care homes, group homes, or adult family homes. Most are small residences, housing from two to six or more seniors, where residents live together under one roof and receive care and meals from live in caretakers. The residences are licensed and regulated by a state's Department of Social Services or similar agency.
These homes are not medical facilities, however they do provide custodial care to residents who need assistance. In most states they provide 24-hour supervision for residents, three meals a day plus snacks, special diets for diabetics, assistance with medications, limited social activities, laundry and housekeeping services and help with bathing, grooming and dressing.
Some facilities provide assistance for elders with bladder and bowel incontinence, oxygen use and close supervision for seniors in wheel chairs or who ambulate with canes or walkers.
($3500 to $7500 monthly)
Alzheimer's is a progressive, degenerative brain disease that results in impaired memory, thinking and behavior. It is the most common form of dementia in seniors, with causes and a cure that remain unknown. It touches everyone involved; many with Alzheimer's require around-the-clock assistance with the most basic daily activities.
There is a growing number of senior residences available that specialize in providing care for people suffering Alzheimer's and related symptoms of dementia. These facilities usually employ staff with either training or work experience in caring for seniors impaired with chronic memory loss. Twenty-four hour supervision is provided, along with security systems to safeguard dementia residents. California and some other states require that an Alzheimer's facility obtain a "dementia waiver" from the licensing agency before accepting individuals diagnosed by a physician with Alzheimer's or other dementia. Some assisted living and skilled nursing facilities have a "special care unit" which provides care for seniors with Alzheimer's.
Programs are run by professionally trained staff who provide assistance and supervision for basic daily activities such as eating, bathing, grooming, bathroom visits and walking. Residents may have a shared apartment or single/double room. Some communities anticipate resident needs by design: they add hand rails are in corridors and rooms, use color coding to identify bathrooms or special areas, and provide special dinnerware and utensils.
A professionally run Alzheimer's care community will provide ways to help build esteem, preserve dignity and remind residents of a happy time and place. Very often, repeated basic skills and familiar tasks or routines can stimulate the mind and keep residents from feeling isolated or confused. But nothing replaces the attention of family and friends. More and more, communities are providing private gathering or party places, extended visiting times and social activities. These little things can make a big difference.
Some communities take this one step further. They may design surroundings to look like home, with safe wandering paths and memory boxes for keepsake items. Decor can include soothing and calming scents and sounds. Safe, but stimulating activities may include gardening, sewing and household chores.
Skilled Nursing Facilities
($4000 to more than $8000 monthly)
Nursing Care is probably the oldest, and most recognized, of all forms of senior care. Generally speaking, Nursing Care facilities are living communities for seniors who require constant, or 24-hour supervisory nursing care.
Nursing care residences are designed for people who need medical/rehabilitative and restorative care; the living spaces include wide halls, handrails and nurse stations. Residents live in single or shared rooms, but they share community rooms for planned daily activities, socials and dining. Meals are prepared based on individual dietary needs.
Skilled nursing facilities, commonly called nursing homes, offer services to patients who require 24-hour nursing care. Patients may be confined to bed all or most of each day. These facilities usually employ nurses, occupational, speech and physical therapists, dietitians and social service specialists to assist in patient rehabilitation. Following therapy, patients either return to their homes, or transfer to a long term care unit in a skilled nursing facility or small residential care or assisted living residence.
In addition to expert care, most nursing facilities offer many of the same services and day-to-day amenities as Assisted Living Communities. Within the context of the individual senior's specific care needs, residents participate in planned activities and social events. Facilities usually include dining rooms and social areas.
($150 to $200 a day)
Designed for stays for under 30 days. There is a daily rate for this type of care. Stays are perfect when family members are away on a vacation or business trip or require a short break from caring for the senior in their life. Short-term stays are also an option for seniors needing extra assistance after a hospital visit or during an illness.
($4000 and up per month)
Hospice care is a holistic and compassionate approach to the end-of-life with the emphasis on caring, not curing. It involves symptom management, emotional and spiritual support. Care is tailored to the resident's needs and wishes, while providing support for family members and loved ones in the process.
Today, many senior care communities offer the option of hospice care services. Often, the community will contract with preferred outside professionals. Hospice care services can include:
- Resident and family member education and counseling
- On-site, professional care teams
- Medical supplies, equipment, medication and therapies
- Bereavement counseling
- Support groups
Adult Family care homes for elders are often referred to as board and care homes, group homes, or adult family homes, and also Adult Foster Homes. Most are small residences, housing from two to six or more seniors, where residents live together under one roof (generally a residential style home) and receive care and meals from live in caretakers. The residences are licensed and regulated by a state's Department of Social Services or similar agency.
These homes are not medical facilities, however they do provide custodial care to residents who need assistance. In most states they provide 24-hour supervision for residents, three meals a day plus snacks, special diets for diabetics, assistance with medications, limited social activities, laundry and housekeeping services and help with bathing, grooming and dressing. Some facilities provide assistance for elders with bladder and bowel incontinence, oxygen use and close supervision for seniors in wheel chairs or who ambulate with canes or walkers.
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