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What Are My Senior Living Options?

Senior living is a broad term for a wide variety of long-term housing options for older adults. It encompasses many levels of care, amenities, benefits, and considerations, all of which can feel a little overwhelming when you’re just beginning your journey. From maintenance-free apartments for active adults over 55 to secure, specialized dementia care homes, you or your loved one have a lot to choose from when it comes to senior communities!

Finding the right senior living home is a personal journey. After all, you want to find a place that will feel like home, accommodate your preferences, and provide the necessary level of care and assistance. To make that decision, however, you first need to understand the differences between your senior care living options.

Let’s take a look at some of the types of senior living you’re likely to encounter, their features and benefits, and how to find the perfect community for your loved one to live their best life possible. For personalized guidance in your situation, please reach out to your local CarePatrol senior care advisor.

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Explore the Options for Senior Living

Understanding senior living options is key to making the right choice for your family. The main difference between each type of long-term care community is the level of care they provide, though each level can accommodate a diverse range of needs. Below, you’ll find a summary of each solution to get a better idea of where to start looking.

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Independent senior living is quickly becoming a preferred housing option for older adults who want a maintenance-free lifestyle, more social opportunities, and an enriching, active retirement. Residents may need some help around the house, but they do not require frequent medical care. The primary goal is community: here, you’ll find plenty of activities and classes, social engagements, fitness amenities, and more to broaden your horizons in a new chapter of your life.

Most independent living communities have one- or two-bedroom apartment-style living spaces, complete with a full or mini kitchen and laundry room. Housekeeping services are available, and maintenance staff are on-site to take care of any home service needs. In many communities, restaurant-style dining halls, planned outings, and other shared activities are available, but you’re always free to stay in or come and go as you please.

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The terms and settings for assisted living for seniors can vary widely by state, including adult day care, adult foster care, and more. Typically, however, all senior assisted living options are designed for people who need extra support to live safely. You may need to consider this option if it is no longer safe for your loved one to live at home, whether due to a chronic condition, mobility issues, or other medical needs.

Most assisted living communities offer more hands-on care, meaning their staff can help with things like grooming, bathing, toileting, medication management, and other health services as needed. However, they are not the best choice for people who need 24/7 medical care or supervision. Instead, residents get the help they need to balance privacy and community, independence and support.

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Nursing homes provide skilled nursing care to seniors who need the highest level of medical attention and support. For many families, nursing homes are a short-term option while their loved one recovers from an illness or hospital stay. It can also be used for long-term care if a person is bedridden, especially if prescribed by a physician as part of a Medicaid program.

As the level of care in assisted living and memory care communities increases, the number of people who require nursing home care decreases. This option should only be considered when a person needs around-the-clock medical care, long-term palliative care, or specialized rehabilitative services. 

With increased safety and security features, medication administration, and carefully considered meal options, a nursing home can give families peace of mind that loved ones can rest and recover in good hands.

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If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, memory care is the best path to consider. In memory care communities, caregivers have been trained to help residents manage challenging behaviors, promote a sense of calmness and peace, and focus on the person’s remaining abilities to provide loving, specialized care. Each setting has been designed to support safety and comfort for people living with dementia.

In many dementia care communities, care is progressive, meaning that as a person’s disease progresses, so too will their level of care. In some cases, this means unique wings or buildings are specialized for early-stage, middle-stage, and late-stage dementia concerns. Residents have structured activities and programs to engage the senses, make meaningful connections with others, and recall memories from the past in a safe and positive environment.

 

What Are My Home Care Options?

According to AARP, 80% of people wish to stay at home as they age.  Aging in place can be ideal but having some help may be necessary to make this a safe scenario for older adults as well as their families. Instead of moving into a retirement home or community setting, local professionals can be hired to provide an array of services at home. 

There are two types of home services, in-home care and home health care. In-home care includes non-clinical services with professional caregivers and home health care provides clinical or skilled care by licensed nurses and therapists. Discovering the difference between the two types gives a clear path to understanding which services best meet your needs. 

It’s difficult to predict the future, but knowing the safety of your home, financial situation, medical conditions, and the support available can help you plan for the future. Let’s review the types of home services available and their benefits.

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Family caregivers are normally an instrumental part of helping an aging loved one to stay in their home, but in-home care can provide peace of mind as well as respite for family caregivers. 

In-home companion services can make life easier for loved ones in many ways.  From medication reminders to scheduling doctor appointments, in-home caregivers can make a big difference in the life of a loved one.  Tasks that in-home caregivers provide to enhance an older adult’s quality of life may include:

  • Light housekeeping
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Medication reminders
  • Transportation
  • Companion care to combat loneliness
  • Assistance with activities of daily living
  • Specialized memory care programs for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Transitional care to prevent hospital readmissions

Older adults can stay independent with caregiving support from both families and in-home companion care. Whether a loved one needs care around the clock or a family caregiver needs coverage in the form of respite care for a few hours a week, a care plan can be devised to fit the needs of all involved. Family caregivers are able to plan a vacation knowing that their loved one’s needs are tended to, and they are safe at home.

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Skilled professionals are hired based on an older adult’s needs and doctor’s orders. These licensed professionals not only meet individuals in their home, but also in senior communities and residences. 

Home health services are more medical but can still make the transition of an illness or injury manageable at home. From reviewing the safety of your home, checking blood pressure and heart rate, and identifying healthy eating habits, these licensed professionals coordinate the appropriate care by communicating with aging adults, families, doctors, and other healthcare professionals involved. Some services that home health professionals provide older adults include:

  • Skilled nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Social services
  • Home health aides

It’s only normal for us to want to stay at home as we age. While staying at home may be ideal, a deeper look into your situation can help determine if it’s the best option in the long run. Ensure a professional has evaluated the care and medical needs, the safety of the living environment, and ensuring supervision and support are available when needed. 

 

Listen to Our Podcast About Comparing
Residential Senior Living Options to Learn More

To learn more about senior care and senior living options, listen to our podcast as we shine a light on topics such as health concerns, financial planning, care options, and more. We are here to help you understand more about this industry and how we can support you in growing your senior care franchise business.

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Benefits of Choosing Senior Housing

Senior care can help both older adults and family caregivers find peace of mind and happiness. From enhanced safety to health and wellness programs, and social activities and outings, senior housing and care services provide an environment where aging adults can truly thrive.

Why consider the transition into senior care? Here are some of the numerous benefits:

  • Help with home maintenance, chores & housekeeping
  • Amenities to support hobbies, fitness, personal care, & more
  • Social events & activities
  • Meal planning & dining services to support nutrition
  • Transportation services
  • Safety & security supervision
  • Medical care planning & coordination
  • Physical & mental wellness support

What to Look for in a Senior Living Community

Did you know that a majority of older adults living in senior communities report improved quality of life? Part of the reason why is in the name: community. Though there are four major categories of senior residences, there is a spectacular variety among individual communities. This means there’s a perfect fit for your loved one with care and medical experience, amenities, location, and pricing tailored to their needs.

As you’re researching communities, there are several features to keep track of to help you make the right decision. To make the search less complex, connect with one of our local senior care advisors as our consultation is at no cost to aging adults or their families. We are aware of all communities in the area and have done the research so you don’t have to. In addition, we are in constant communication with communities so we have the most current information about the services, amenities, and prices available.

Here are a few things to consider when exploring your senior community options:

Amenities
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Take note of the types and varieties of amenities offered on-site. Many communities offer pools, fitness centers, dining halls, beauty salons and barber shops, movie theaters, libraries, pharmacies, and much more.

Budget & Pricing
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Take a careful look at each community’s pricing plan, and don’t be afraid to ask for a detailed breakdown of monthly costs. Make sure to check what is included in the base price, ask about the timing and frequency of rate increases, and understand your options for paying for care. For more information about the cost of senior living, read our comparison guide!

Personal Services
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Consider the level of personal care each community offers, including services like housekeeping, linen, and laundry services, assistance with daily activities of living, and coordination of outside care provider visits, such as physical therapists or speech therapists. Ask how often care and service assessments are performed to ensure that changing needs are accounted for.

Staffing
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It’s okay to inquire about the qualifications of care providers on staff and to make your own observations about the staff’s attitude toward residents. Find out the staff-to-resident ratio and ask questions about overnight staffing, whether there is a licensed nurse on staff, and whether anyone on staff has experience with your loved one’s specific conditions or care needs.

Living Units & Floorplans
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Touring your loved one’s individual space is the best way to get a sense of its atmosphere and feeling, including temperature control, natural lighting, and security features like grab bars and emergency call systems. It is important to ask questions about senior living options for couples, pet policies, and more!

Community & Events
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Ask for a schedule of events and see if your loved one’s interests are well-represented. Does the community do planned outings, host a book club, or offer fitness classes? Do residents seem engaged and content with the activities on offer?

If you need help researching options in your area, CarePatrol can help. As a trusted guide for over thirty years, we know what to look for when the need for senior care arises. Addressing your needs is our priority. We can also help you investigate financial resources, transition support, and so much more. Contact us now to speak with your local senior care advisor at no cost to you!

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How to Find Senior Care Options Near You

With so many options available and with so many features, amenities, locations, and budgets to coordinate, making the best choice for your family can be complex. That’s where CarePatrol comes in. Our senior care advisors work with you to develop a personalized set of recommended communities in your area that meet your loved one’s needs. Each CarePatrol senior care advisor is a local expert who has thoroughly researched and vetted the options available in your area.

Touring communities is the best way to get a sense of the community, and our senior care advisors are ready to be your advocate throughout the touring and selection process. We’re here to provide guidance every step of the way, from assessing your loved one’s needs to accompanying on tours to coordinating move-in-day transition support. Best of all, these services are offered at no cost to you.

Think of CarePatrol as your personalized senior care guide. Whether in a crisis or planning for the future, we have the answers. Contact your local senior care advisor to learn more about our services, available at no cost to aging adults or their families.

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