Different Levels of Senior Care

Levels of Senior Care

Understanding the kind of facility that is the best fit for your loved one is a great first step when considering making a move.

Independent Living 

At this stage, residents should be able to complete all activities of daily living (ADLs) on their own. Activities like bathing, dressing, eating, and getting out and about are still very manageable. Many residents still own their cars. Apartments are often entirely separated from each other, often in duplex style. The nursing staff is typically not present. Instead, residents may rely on medical necklaces, like life alert systems for safety. The benefit of living in an independent living community is that meals and community group activities are provided. This allows residents to grocery shop and cook only when they choose to. As well as enjoy other amenities like a fitness center for socialization. IL communities make life more manageable for seniors who can still care for themselves. 

Assisted Living

Once seniors begin to struggle with ADLs then assisted living is a great, safe option. For example, if you begin to worry that your loved one may fall in the shower, then having a nurse on staff 24/7 might be wise to consider. Each facility accepts residents who require different levels of care. For example, some residents may only need a stand-by assist while showering, while others may need a full two-person assist to even get up out of bed. The nursing staff is trained to support residents at whatever level of care they may need, as long as they can bear weight for transfers they are good candidates for assisted living. All meals are provided. Some facilities allow residents to eat in their apartments, while others require a common meeting space in a dining hall. 

Memory Care

Seniors living with any kind of dementia may eventually need to consider the safety of a secure memory care facility. These facilities prevent residents from wandering away from their homes. The round-the-clock nursing staff is present and specially trained to handle erratic behaviors that accompany dementia. However, many memory care residents are still extremely high functioning and enjoy socializing as well as performing most of their ADLs independently. Memory care can be a confusing distinction because when a senior could forget where home is, there is a risk of wandering into the street or getting lost. A secure facility is a safety measure, but by no means are all residents low functioning. Memory care communities can get places for engagement and activities. All meals are provided, and residents are encouraged to eat together, as well as participate in other group activities because socializing greatly improves the progression of dementia. 

Skilled Nursing/ “Nursing Homes”

Skilled nursing is best described as a hospital environment for senior care. These facilities are most appropriate for seniors who can no longer bear weight, due to a chronic illness or recent injury. Residents require a high level of care. Hands-on assistance for all transfers, and assistance with all or most ADLs. Meals are provided and caloric intake is often monitored along with all other vitals. These facilities are most appropriate for seniors who require a very high level of care for either short-term rehabilitation or long-term care. 

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