Senior Living – Different Settings

Volunteer helps seniors living in a care home for elderly

Many of our clients have adult children who see things shifting in their parents’ lives.   There may be a growing concern about the safety of their loved one.  Perhaps they are noticing more and more “little” things that are starting to add up like fuzzy leftovers, meds left over in the weekly pill dispenser, or disjointed conversations that should be pretty straightforward.  And then, the looming worry – what if one of them falls?  

Maybe it’s time to start looking to make the move to a more structured senior living setting?  But all those letters – what do they mean and how do you know which one is the right choice?

Long Term Care (LTC)

Long Term Care (LTC) is the overarching term for the various senior housing scenarios we’ll talk about here.  During a long or even on just a short-term basis, LTC involves services that meet a senior’s personal and/or medical care needs.  These services help your loved one live as safely and independently as possible.  Often LTC begins with family members and friends providing care in the home or maybe in an adult daycare setting a couple of times a week.  At some point though, the support from family and friends may fall short and a move to a full-time, residential care facility may be necessary.  The whole spectrum, from in-home care to the nursing home to memory care, is encompassed within the term, Long Term Care.

Independent Living (IL) 

Independent Living (IL) is just that – living on your own BUT – with loads of available amenities.  Socialization is extremely important for our well-being at any age, but never more so than in our senior years, when things seem to change so quickly.  IL community complexes generally have the basic offerings like transportation, activities, and group trips.  Often there’s a pool and theatre on site as well as a multi-purpose room that can be reserved for private gatherings.  Usually there’s a restaurant with meal plan options much like in a college dorm setting but without the loft beds and roomates.  They may even have a dog walk or a miniature golf course.  An IL has kind of a “hotel-feel” – the important point to remember about an IL is that there is no nursing support.

Board or Care Home  

Board or Care Home can also be called a Group Home.  These are small private facilities where the rooms may be private or shared.  They usually consist of up to 20 residents and staff provide 24 hour care however, nursing and medical attendance are not normally part of the services provided.

Assisted Living Facility (ALF)  

Assisted Living Facility (ALF) calls for a move to a much more structured living space.  An ALF is not a nursing home but it does provide some help with daily care such as three meals a day, personal care and medication assistance, along with housekeeping and laundry.  Caregivers and security are on site 24/7 if something happens.  Additionally, all the activities make for the feel of a more active lifestyle – theme nights, special interest clubs, shopping trips, etc.  Some licensed ALFs can accept patients needing a higher level of care such as colostomy bags, diabetic injection, etc.  These types of needs should be discussed on any visit to an ALF as a lower level ALF licensure is not able to attend to these more challenging health concerns.

Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)

Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) is the highest level of care – a residential facility that provides personal and medical care services for its residents who require help on a full-time basis.  A SNF is what we’ve always called a “nursing home”.  Sure, there’s activities like Bingo, but the level of daily care is much higher (that’s where the “skilled” come in).  Here’s where you’re talking about help with getting in and out of bed, assistance with everything bathroom related, perhaps feeding mom or dad, maybe there’s some physical, speech and/or occupational therapy involved.  The medical care of the patients is the overriding mission of a LTC facility.  Following a hospitalization some seniors might stay at a SNF for a short time and then return home once they have recovered but for the most part, SNF residents permanently live there because they need constant care and supervision stemming from an ongoing physical or mental condition.

Memory Care (MC) 

Memory Care (MC) would be a consideration if one of them has issues with significant memory loss because of something like a stroke or Alzheimer’s and home care is no longer the safest and securest option.  They are in need of 24/7 care as they may wander, become aggressive or are incontinent.  When you’ve reached this point Long Term Care may be a necessary step.  Many LTC facilities have a MC unit with a variety of measures to keep your loved one both safe and healthy.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) offers the whole spectrum of long-term care usually on the same site.  The campus has a residence for each level of care so, your parents can start off in a home or apartment in the retirement community and as one (or both) need a higher level of care, they simply transition to the campus’ ALF, SNF or MC setting.  It simplifies visitations for the healthier spouse; they can simply pop in and be with their husband or wife as often as they like.

So you’ve made the difficult decision to move one or both of your parents to a LTC community.  But what about the heavy lifting?  The whole idea of moving your folks from where they’ve lived for decades to something smaller – UGH!  We are talking MAJOR downsizing here.  Where’s that energy gonna come from?!  And the conversations about what stays and what goes?  No doubt that will be falling on you.

Enter PathFinder’s Downsizing Solutions…once the decision is made as to where your parents are going, PathFinder’s takes it from there.  We make the move from Point A to Point B happen.  PathFinder’s measures out Mom and Dad’s “Point B” and determines what can make the move and which items need to find a new home.  They will help Mom and Dad choose who gets which heirloom, what is sold, where things are donated to and which items no longer serve their purpose.  They pack, move, unpack and set up, all the while, partnering with your parents.

Give us a call today and let us do the heavy lifting.

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