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Understanding the Different Senior Care Options

resident speaking on the phone

Making an informed choice about senior care for an older loved one starts with learning more about the options. There are a variety of options that make it easier to find a senior living solution that fits their current and future needs. The challenge for many families is knowing how and when to get started. Sometimes seniors and their adult children put off exploring their options because they find it a little confusing.

While it’s understandable, delaying the search can make the process more stressful. If an adult child waits until their parent finds themselves in the midst of a health or safety crisis, it will be much more difficult to make a good choice.

By contrast, exploring local senior care options when time is on your side means you can visit retirement communities at your own pace and learn more about their independent living options and the levels of care each one offers, which may include assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation.

While there may be communities in your area that offer only one level of living or care, to keep things simple, this blog post will focus on Life Plan Communities (sometimes referred to as Continuing Care Retirement Communities) that offer independent living and all levels of long-term care. Each will be referred to as a “neighborhood” on the community campus.

Understanding the Different Senior Care Options

What Is Independent Living?

Designed with active seniors in mind, independent living neighborhoods at Life Plan Communities such as South Port Square appeal to older adults looking for freedom from the burdens of homeownership. No more tracking down a plumber to fix a clogged drain or worrying about lawn care if you’d like to take a long vacation.

Most independent living communities also offer a variety of dining options. At South Port Square, for example, residents can enjoy a sandwich in The Bistro or have a more formal meal in the dining room. There is even an option to reserve a private dining room to invite friends over for a special event. Residents are free to choose whichever meal sounds most appealing that day.

Another advantage of an independent living community is the rich and varied schedule of activities and events that take place every day. Residents can reconnect with a favorite pastime they didn’t have time for when they were working and raising a family, or tackle a new hobby they’ve always wanted to try.

On the health services side of a Life Plan Community, there are typically four levels of care; these may include any combination of assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. At South Port Square, we offer all these levels of care on-site.

What Is Assisted Living?

Whether in a stand-alone facility or a neighborhood of a continuum-of-care community, assisted living is an ideal solution for many older adults who need a helping hand. It blends the independence of living in a private apartment with the assistance provided by professional caregivers who are always nearby.

In addition to receiving support with activities of daily living (bathing, grooming, dressing), residents can also get help with laundry, housekeeping and medication management. Safety is a high priority. Assisted living communities have 24/7 security and in-home emergency response systems.

Assisted living residents also enjoy nutritious meals created by chefs and culinary teams. And, like an independent living community, assisted living offers a full calendar of daily activities and wellness programs, so residents can choose how many — or how few — they’d like to participate in every day.

What Is Memory Care?

Memory care programs offer a specialized level of care for people who have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Caregivers receive additional training to better understand how to support the unique needs of people living with memory loss. The goal of a memory care neighborhood is to focus on an individual’s remaining abilities, instead of on their losses, to allow them to live their best quality of life.

These secure neighborhoods provide a safe environment to reduce some of the most common risks associated with dementia, including wandering from home, agitation, anxiety, depression and fear. Memory care neighborhoods  also offer specialty dining services and life enrichment activities designed to help residents with dementia feel productive and successful.

What Is Skilled Nursing?

Skilled nursing is for adults with chronic health conditions and disabilities who need a higher level of care than they can receive at home or in assisted living. In addition to requiring support with daily activities, most residents also have complex medical needs.

Skilled nursing neighborhoods offer skilled nursing on-site around the clock. Most typically have therapists on staff or available to provide physical, occupational and speech therapies to residents. Residents enjoy the same amenities as those who reside in independent or assisted living such as life enrichment activities and nutritious dining services.

What Is Rehabilitation?

Another part of the continuum of care is senior rehabilitation. These short-term services, usually offered in a health care center, are designed for adults recovering from an illness or continuing rehabilitation after a planned surgery or an injury. The goal of this level of care is for the senior to receive care and rehabilitation until they’re well enough to return home.

Special programs are often in place to target specific treatments, such as for orthopedic conditions, cardiac rehab, Parkinson’s disease, and more. While they’re staying in the  health center, seniors also receive support with daily activities, enjoy nutritious meals, and have an opportunity to participate in activities.

Call South Port Square to Learn More

One of the many advantages offered by a Life Plan Community such as South Port Square is having a full continuum of long-term care available on one campus. That means your senior loved one will have access to just the right amount of care at every stage in life. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a private tour.