The prospect of moving your loved one out of their home and into a senior living community can be the most difficult decision a family can make. There’s the actual conversation, which is daunting enough. Still, there’s also the challenging process of sorting through different senior living options and trying to pinpoint which one suits your loved one’s needs.
The different categories of senior living are often misunderstood or confused. Here’s an overview of the three options most often considered:
Independent Living is an ideal option for seniors ready to let go of day-to-day property and homecare responsibilities but who want to live independently, with the convenience of 24-hour security and various other amenities. Residents usually have the choice of cooking for themselves or relying on the in-house culinary staff and the option of in-house laundry facilities, transportation services, community-organized social gatherings, and engagement options.
Assisted Living communities offer all the above, with additional hands-on support in everyday tasks that have become difficult to perform solo. These tasks include bathing and attention to personal appearance, laundry and dressing, incontinence care, medication reminders, cleaning, and housekeeping. Assisted living residents are understood to need that kind of help while not requiring round-the-clock support seven days a week.
Memory Care offers intensive, 24-hour support in a therapeutic setting, with community-managed meals, healthcare, and activities. Care programs are tailored to residents’ individual needs and designed to make them feel secure and successful each day. Managed activities include exercise and movement, music appreciation, outdoor recreation, and simple interactions designed to engage, stimulate, and encourage each resident’s interests.
Ideally, you want your loved one to be a partner in this decision. However, this isn’t always possible, depending on their cognitive capacity and state of mind. Consult their physician and ask concrete questions about what physical needs exist now and are likely to develop in the short term. Include others in the support circle, like home health aides or social workers.