Aging is a process, and a person’s healthcare needs will inevitably change as they age. Today, there are more than 67,000 paid, regulated long-term care services providers, including thousands of independent assisted living facilities, skilled nursing centers, and other types of healthcare communities.
These healthcare institutions often focus on just one type of care for one type of resident. Independent living communities offer attractive and conveniently located housing for those who need very little care, for example, while skilled nursing centers provide ongoing nursing care for those who need a great deal of assistance.
In the old days of retirement care, people would have to move from one location to another to get the care they need. A person might move from home to an independent living community on one side of town for a few years, then move to a skilled nursing facility on the other side of town.
Fortunately, there are more choices today when it comes to retirement living. You can still move into an independent living community or skilled nursing facility, of course, but now there are other types of retirement communities. Assisted living is a level of care that is somewhere in between independent living and skilled nursing, for example. There are now even continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) that offer a tiered approach to the aging process.
You may already know about independent living and skilled nursing. Independent living is for those who can live independently but who prefer to have some level of assistance as needed. Skilled nursing care is for those who need 24/7 assistance with complex wound dressings, rehabilitation, tube feedings, or rapidly changing health issues.
You may not know as much about assisted living and continuing care retirement communities. Here is what you need to know about assisted living and CCRCs, and to decide which type of retirement living might be right for you.
About Assisted Living
Residents can expect a number of services with assisted living, including specially trained, licensed professionals who provide around-the-clock support for activities of daily living. Accommodations are typically comfortable, private, and aesthetically pleasing.
Assisted living facilities are for those who require a little assistance with activities of daily living. Activities of daily living include bathing, dressing, eating, and going to the bathroom. Assisted living campuses do not provide medical care so the resident must move to a different type of senior care location, such as a skilled nursing center, if they need medical care.
The average resident of assisted living is an 80-year-old mobile woman who moved there from a private living arrangement, according to the National Caregivers Library. She will live there for two to three years before her health care and living needs change enough to require a change in housing. Many assisted living residents move to a nursing home, but others return home.
About Continuing Care Retirement Communities
CCRC nurses and therapists, specially trained in geriatric care, carry out individualized health plans that change as the resident ages. CCRC residents typically enter the community at the independent living level and then move to different levels of care as needed, all while remaining in the same community.
Perhaps the best thing about living in a continuing care retirement community is that you never have to leave home to receive a higher level of care – you can move from assisted living to skilled nursing and back in one campus.
Relocation can be quite stressful. The less control you have over the move, the more stressful relocation can be. Moving to a less predictable environment can increase your stress significantly. Moving from an independent living location where you have lived for years to skilled nursing care you have never visited, for example, can be extraordinarily stressful.
Moving to an unfamiliar location can cause confusion, disrupt behavior, and reduce independence in people with cognitive or memory problems. The stress of moving to an unfamiliar location can discourage some people from moving to a better living environment.
CCRCs allow you to “age in place,” in a familiar place with familiar faces, rather than moving from place to place to receive the care you need. CCRCs offer all levels of senior care in one convenient location.
Forest Hill offers a continuum of care that includes independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing in the Pacific Grove area. Forest Hill residents also enjoy access to our Medicare-certified Health Center in addition to physical, speech and occupational therapy that meets their unique rehabilitation needs. Contact us today to learn more about our community or to schedule a tour.