Finding new senior living arrangements and navigating the ins and outs of all that entails can be overwhelming to both seniors and caregivers alike. It’s especially hard when you are new to the world of senior care and have to decipher the differences between the various senior living options. Do we need an independent living facility? What’s assisted living? What’s the difference between assisted living and skilled nursing? These are all important questions that will guide you to making the right decision.
Independent living is an option for active seniors 55 years or older who can still live independently, but would like to be part of a community. Seniors in independent living may also hire help with day-to-day tasks like preparing meals, laundry and housekeeping. These services are typically not included but are usually available for an additional fee. Independent living arrangement consist generally of private dwelling apartments or a housing co-op with access to common areas.
Assisted living offers a bit more in terms of personal care than independent living facilities do. This is a good option for people who are still somewhat active, but require assistance with daily tasks and personal care such as bathing and dressing, medication assistance and making doctor’s appointments. (The type of assistance provided with daily tasks varies between facilities, so check with each facility you call or tour.) Assisted living facilities typically have staff members available 24 hours a day and can be reached with the push of a button. Assisted living offers apartment-style residences that may or may not have full kitchenettes.
Skilled nursing facilities (nursing homes) provide care to residents around the clock. They are staffed with a team of medical professionals. These teams provide 24-hour medical attentional and personal care to residents with chronic illness and/or physical disabilities. You must be referred by a doctor or hospital in order to be admitted for care into a skilled nursing facility. Those in skilled nursing facilities live in either private or semi-private rooms.
All three types of senior living options usually offer some level of scheduled activities for residents. These activities should include opportunities for socialization, wellness, entertainment and education.
One last option to look into when making senior living arrangements are continuing care retirement communities (CCRC). CCRCs are communities that offer various levels of care on one campus. The communities make it easier for seniors to age in place as their health and medical needs change. For example, a resident may start out at a CCRC living in assisted living. As their needs for services change, they can transition to the skilled nursing facility. This allows them to reman on the same campus and in the same community. (Read more about CCRCs here.)
The search for the right senior living facility can be intimidating. St. Augustine Health Ministries can help you on your journey to finding the accommodations that fit your needs. We offer a wide range of senior living options. For independent and assisted living, visit facilities are Emerald Village and Towers Assisted Living. We also offer skilled nursing care on the Health Campus. Click the links to learn more!