As seniors age, their medical needs and daily activity needs increase. In my practice, we often see seniors that were independent and living in their homes develop medical issues that require more help, support, and medical care. Fortunately, there are wonderful senior living communities with an array of on-site services. Sometimes navigating the options and choices can be very stressful to families dealing with aging loved ones.
There are various types of senior living care levels. These include independent living, assisted living, memory care, and nursing homes. Each provides a different level of service and care.
Independent living is basically an apartment, rented by an individual or couple, with no additional healthcare services. Other on-site services like dining, laundry, and activities may be available but this can vary from one community to the next. All medication needs, doctor appointments, testing, and services are left to the senior to coordinate.
Assisted living includes some level of nursing care, certified nursing assistant support, and usually medication management. Ask about staff to resident ratios, hospitalization rates, and other available services such as physical therapy.
Memory care is typically the assisted living support level, in a secured or locked area of the community. This is to prevent residents from accidentally leaving due to cognition issues or decline.
Nursing homes are often reserved for the highest level of care needed. This includes treatments like IV antibiotics, tracheostomy care, chronic large wounds, and post-surgical therapy. There are long-term residents of nursing homes as well, depending on their needs.
At my practice, we continue to provide important needed care at the assisted living, memory care, and nursing home levels. We also provide care for independent living seniors and that is gaining in popularity. It allows health care to be conveniently brought to the senior, prevents many common issues like falls, and keeps folks independent longer. This has been financially beneficial to families, as independent living is typically less expensive than the other higher levels of care.
Shopping for your aging loved one’s place to live can be challenging. It’s also stressful to relocate from a home they have loved and lived in most of their lives to a smaller condo or apartment. Most families prefer a location close by and one that is within their budget. However, there are many other factors and services to consider. Visiting various communities is key to making the final decision. Factor in the ancillary services, food quality, activity programs, and most importantly the medical care available on site.
Hansa Medical Groupe has offices at 5250 Old Orchard Road, Suite 300, in Skokie, and in Chicago, 847-920-0902, hansamedicalgroupe.com.