For many people, it’s not until they are faced with providing more substantial care for an elderly loved one that they realize just how many types of senior care options there are available. The process of understanding the differences between all of these options can feel incredibly overwhelming — particularly when coupled with the emotional components of a family member’s poor health and the financial consequences of making a final decision. In today’s post, we’ll discuss some of the main options for senior care and the differences between them.
Independent living for seniors describes a residential community in which older tenants are essentially self-sufficient. In these types of senior care facilities, residents do not require hands-on care and typically live in private apartments or condos. These communities will usually offer numerous opportunities for socialization, learning, fitness, transportation, and more. Many also offer amenities like meal preparation, housekeeping, laundry, and general maintenance. This senior care option is for those who are fully or mostly independent but who want to be surrounded by others their own age and/or who would like to benefit from some extra help around the house and the chance to have meals provided for them.
An assisted living facility is for those who need a bit more help and supervision with daily tasks. Residents here, however, do not always require 24-hour supervision from skilled nursing staff members. Assisted living residents usually maintain their own housing units (i.e., private apartments) but have access to help or assistance 24/7 as needed. In assisted living facilities, residents typically receive three meals a day plus snacks in a group dining room, as well as services that provide help with personal care, health care and medication management, socialization, transportation, laundry, housekeeping, maintenance, entertainment, and more. In short, this type of facility is an appropriate choice for seniors who do require help with important daily tasks but who do not need constant medical attention or supervision.
Memory care units are meant for those residents who have dementia diseases (such as Alzheimer’s). These facilities are more secure than senior apartments to ensure resident safety and to reduce wandering. Those who reside in memory care units may have private rooms or semi-private apartments, depending on the facility. Here, residents will be monitored and will engage in specialized activities designed to help those with dementia. Assistance is provided for daily activities such as bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, and taking medications.
Sometimes referred to as convalescent homes or skilled nursing facilities (when applicable), nursing homes are designed for senior residents who need to be monitored and assisted around the clock. Often, residents here may suffer from mental or physical conditions that make any kind of independence impossible. Nursing home staff members assist residents in nearly every way on a full-time basis. Note that nursing homes may not be a good fit for those with dementia; memory homes are typically a more suitable choice in these cases.
Palliative Care or Hospice
These two types of senior care are focused on providing relief and comfort for those who are suffering from terminal conditions. Palliative care specialists can assist with pain management prior to moving a patient to hospice care. Hospice care facilities are typically reserved for patients who are nearing the end of their lives. Both can be highly beneficial for both the resident and their family, but neither is usually considered to be a long-term care solution.
Now that you understand a bit more about the various types of senior care, we hope you’ll feel more informed when making a decision with your loved one about which facility will best suit their and your needs. To find out more about the programs we offer — including independent living, assisted living, and memory care — please get in touch with us today.