An Online Tour of Senior Care Options

Understanding the differences between senior care options can be challenging. Below Senior Living Help for Mom walks you through the services and benefits of each type of senior care community. Consult your loved one’s doctors to help determine which community is right for them.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted Living communities are nonmedical senior care facilities that provide personal and health care services with 24-hour supervision. Licensed healthcare professionals assist residents with activities of daily living such as medication management, bathing, dressing,
transferring and meal preparation. By state law, three hot meals a day plus snacks are provided to all residents. These senior living communities bridge the gap between Independent Living and Nursing Homes. In Assisted Living communities, seniors retain independence with much-needed support.

What Is Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care (also known as Memory Care or Special Care Units)

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care facilities are meant for seniors with a memory impairment that makes it unsafe to live independently but does not require the intensive care of a Nursing Home. These senior care facilities allow seniors some independence but provide the security of professional staff when needed. Special Care Units are designed to protect and provide for the special needs of dementia patients who are at extreme risk to themselves or others. The Special Care Unit is often part of an Assisted Living community, but it can be a standalone facility.

What Is Independent Living?

With housing ranging from apartments to single-family homes, Independent Living communities are designed for seniors requiring little or no support. Social engagement, a supportive environment and maintenance-free living are just a few of the many benefits of Independent Retirement Living. Home Care is often available if needed.

What Is Home Care?

Home Health Care includes a variety of health and social senior care services provided at home. Medical Home Health Care involves licensed nursing and rehab services under physicians’ orders. Nonmedical Home Care provides assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing, as well as meal preparation, housekeeping, transportation, etc.

What Is a Nursing Home?

Two types of facilities may be called “Nursing Homes.” Skilled Nursing Facilities, with registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurses’ aides as well as physical, speech and occupational therapists, provide the highest level of care outside of a hospital. This round-the-clock care may be temporary for those recovering from an injury or illness, or long-term. Other Nursing Homes provide only 24-hour custodial care and health care monitoring (rather than intensive medical treatment or daily nursing) and it is provided on a long-term basis.

What Is Respite Care?

Respite Care facilities assume temporary responsibility for seniors when caregivers need relief—whether as a break from day-to-day duties or in emergency situations. Many senior living communities offer this service.

What is a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community)?

CCRCs offer a continuum of care in one location, ranging from Independent Living to Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing services. In many cases, only seniors who have joined the community at the Independent Living level are eligible for the advance care programs. CCRCs often require a large buy-in fee and a long-term contract.