Choosing the Right Level of Senior Care
In the past, older adults had to choose between aging in place in the home, perhaps with some in-home care or assistance from a family caregiver, or moving to a nursing home when their health begins to decline. However, senior living communities have come a long way since then. Healthy, active seniors who simply want to downsize or enjoy a retirement lifestyle could be a perfect fit for an independent living apartment. On the other hand, seniors who are experiencing a worsening in chronic conditions or a decline in overall health might be better suited to an assisted living or skilled nursing community.
Regardless of why seniors are interested in exploring new housing options, it’s important for them to assess both their current needs, as well as what services may be needed in the future in order to determine what type of community and level of care is best for them. A few of the main factors seniors should keep in mind before choosing a senior living community include:
Physical, emotional and mental health. Seniors often face physical changes such as a decline in muscle strength, endurance and flexibility, which make it difficult to maintain the home and yard, or even the ease with which they are able to move throughout the house. Plus, the loss of a spouse or close friends can take a toll on a senior’s emotional health. Without social opportunities to stay engaged in the world around them, seniors are more susceptible to loneliness which can quickly lead to depression.
Home safety. When seniors become challenged physically or mentally, safety concerns in the home tend to arise. It might become difficult to properly maintain the home and yard, or even climb stairs to get to the bedroom and bathroom. Modifications like removing low furniture and throw rugs or adding hand rails in the shower may be needed to improve safety. Plus, sometimes memory issues can also impair judgment; leaving the stove on or the front door unlocked puts many seniors’ safety at risk.
Financial situation. Sometimes, simply maintaining a home can be costly, especially when big ticket repairs like a new furnace, roof or appliances are needed. When seniors factor in those maintenance costs with monthly utility bills, medical bills, grocery bills and more, many find senior living communities may be a more affordable option for their future.
Different Types of Senior Housing Options
Continuing Care Retirement Communities/Life Plan Communities
CCRCs, or life plan communities, offer a true way to age in place with a full continuum of care for future peace of mind. In these types of senior living communities, healthy, active seniors can move into an independent living apartment or villa. As their healthcare needs change, residents have priority access to supportive services like assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, and memory care. Most CCRCs offer a wide variety of amenities to make life easy, too, like assistance with home maintenance and housekeeping, daily meals, social activities and wellness programs.
Assisted Living Communities
If the physical and mental challenges seniors face create a need for more assistance with daily living activities such as eating, dressing and grooming, an assisted living community is a senior housing option that provides a higher level of care, with medical staff available around the clock. On top of daily assistance with personal care, these communities provide amenities similar to those at an independent living community. Residents are encouraged to live as independently as possible with care customized to their individual needs.
Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation
Seniors who need a higher level of medical care or constant monitoring of chronic conditions benefit from 24-hour nursing services in a skilled nursing facility. A highly-trained medical team provides individualized care plans based on each residents’ needs.
For those who require short-term care following an illness, injury or surgery, rehabilitation centers offer post-acute care and physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapies to help seniors get back to their normal routines.
In a memory care community, the staff is specially-trained in the support of residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in a home-like setting. Structured activities and 24-hour support are provided to ensure the best quality of life for those suffering from memory issues.
Find the Right Level of Senior Care at Immanuel Lutheran Communities
While some seniors may feel frustrated that they have become less independent than they’ve been in previous years, keeping an open mind to new possibilities is essential to improving overall quality of life. We invite you to discover a variety of senior housing options and senior care services at Immanuel Lutheran Communities in Northwest Montana, where residents enjoy a campus lifestyle with all the amenities. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a personal tour.