Finding the Right Care for Your Loved One
While many older adults hope or plan to age in place in their own homes or with family, circumstances can change, bringing alternate options into play.
Assisted Living Communities
Assisted living communities specialize in providing limited care and supervision. They offer services like planned activities, entertainment, housekeeping and laundry, transportation, meals, exercise and wellness programs. Assisted living communities sometimes offer medical assistance, but not skilled nursing. Some communities have on-site physicians.
Sometimes referred to as retirement communities, independent living communities offer older adults with limited care needs a simplified lifestyle. They often take the form of apartment complexes with amenities like fitness programs, housekeeping, communal meals and other services to enrich and simplify life for older adults looking to downsize.
Memory Care Communities
Memory care communities specialize in providing care to aging adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive issues. Staff members are trained to help with communication and to help residents manage dementia symptoms like sundown syndrome, wandering, or combativeness. Memory Care typically offer similar services and planned activities, transportation and entertainment.
Continuing Care Communities
Continuing care communities usually consist of a campus-like setting (or an urban high-rise) offering a variety of housing options that support various stages of life. Spanning independent living, assisted living, or skilled nursing care, they enable residents to age in a single community without having to relocate as their needs evolve.
Nursing homes, also called skilled nursing facilities, provide care to those with illnesses or mental conditions requiring full-time monitoring and medical care. Most skilled nursing residents live in semi-private rooms, and meals are generally provided.
In-home care is a service that provides caregivers who will come into the home to assist with activities of daily living, including light housekeeping, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and grooming. Some provide additional services related to help with personal care for toileting and bathing. Caregivers can come as many times as you would like, but they generally do not provide medical care. Caregivers who provide these services are also referred to as personal care assistants.
Home Health Agencies
Home health agencies provide medical care in your home. Doctors prescribe home healthcare when someone needs help recovering from surgery, an accident, or a serious illness. Home healthcare is an option when your loved one is not ill enough to be in a hospital but is not yet well enough to be home alone. Home healthcare agencies are licensed by the state and must also adhere to federal regulations.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers a comprehensive listing of programs, services and housing options to help you make an informed choice about what type of community or service is right for you or your loved one. Begin your search with the organization’s Community Resource Finder tool. The U.S. Administration on Aging provides additional tools and resources at eldercare.gov.