What Facilities Are There for Elderly People?
Family members of and beyond retirement age have many different options when it comes to living arrangements. Some of these options may be better than others.
Sometimes, for example, it’s not possible for a senior family member like an elderly parent to live in their existing home, or even move in with younger family members. In situations like these, there are many alternatives in the form of retirement facilities.
There are, of course, many different types of retirement communities, each of which provides different levels of care for its residents. A senior independent living community is, for example, a style of retirement living that differs from an assisted living community or a skilled nursing facility. Here’s what you should know about these differences and how to pick the one that’s the best fit for your elderly loved one.
What is an Independent Living Facility for Seniors?
An independent living facility for seniors is a retirement community that’s designed to provide a comfortable home for an active older adult.
Active, healthy retirees who have little in the way of accommodation needs to assist with daily living, are often the types of seniors who thrive in such retirement communities. They are fit, healthy, and focused on living their retirement dream to the fullest.
Most independent living facilities are sprawling, resort-like retirement campuses that offer a wide array of amenities for their residents to enjoy. Nearly countless opportunities abound for socializing, enjoying hobbies both indoors and out, and accessing nearby points of interest.
In many instances, residence at an independent living community can often feel like being on permanent vacation, sort of like a cruise without the water.
Some common amenities that can be found in an independent living community include:
- landscaped outdoor spaces like walking trails, picnic areas, and gardening spaces
- fitness centers with exercise equipment, physical trainers, and fitness classes
- indoor or outdoor swimming pools
- fully-equipped art studios and carpentry workshops with qualified instructors
- game and billiards rooms for socializing with fellow residents
- libraries and reading rooms
- computer rooms for browsing the internet and sending emails to loved ones
- performance spaces for attending concerts
- on-site fine and casual dining
- non-denominational chapels with chaplain services
- rides to and from local doctor appointments
- organized day and weekend trips to local attractions like museums or shopping
Is Independent Living Right for Your Elderly Loved One?
Remember that beyond independent living there are other care facilities for elderly people that may be more appropriate. Finding the right type of senior care for your elderly loved one can be a challenging task. Not every family has the capabilities of providing that care themselves; modern life often precludes us from seeing to the needs of an elderly parent, for example, as we struggle to meet our own needs and those of younger family members.
In many situations, an independent living facility can be an excellent choice for an elderly loved one. If your older parent is otherwise healthy and in good physical condition, an independent living community could be something they would enjoy. It gives them opportunities to make new friends in similar situations, socialize much more frequently, and remain both physically and mentally active.
If your elderly loved one is struggling with certain health issues, however, or could benefit from assistance with daily activities such as washing dishes or showering, an independent living facility may not be the best option. Seniors who have more advanced needs such as moderate to severe mobility challenges, cognitive issues, or require help staying on top of medications may be better suited to a retirement option that offers more organized assistance overseen by professionals in the elder care community, such as an assisted living facility.
What is an Assisted Living Facility for Seniors?
As one of the most common facilities for elderly people, assisted living facilities are an incredibly popular choice for families when it comes to finding the best care for their elderly loved ones. An assisted living facility is considered a step up in terms of care from independent living, as these retirement communities are ideal for seniors who need help with daily care but not so much help that they need a more advanced facility.
In fact, assisted living communities often have many of the same advantages and amenities that you can find in an independent living community. The major difference is that these facilities offer round-the-clock care from staff, which also means they tend to be more expensive. You are paying for that extra labor, and from staff members who are licensed and trained to deal with various health situations.
It’s worth noting that many retirement communities offer both independent living and assisted living care within the same campus. Depending on the contract selected at move-in, this could be an additional cost, or may be baked into an initial entrance fee and monthly cost.
Related content: Learn about the various contract types available at a CCRC.
Is Assisted Living Right for Your Elderly Loved One?
Independent living is good for someone who can, as the name implies, be entirely independent. Assisted living, on the other hand, means the person should not live entirely alone, with no support.
They may have issues with mobility, or memory problems, or at risk of falling. They may need close attention paid to their vital signs, or help administering treatments. These are the people best served at an assisted living facility. They do not necessarily need 24/7 monitoring, and/or are not bed ridden, but they pose a risk to themselves if they live entirely alone.
Other Facilities for Elderly People
Independent living and assisted living communities aren’t the only types of retirement facilities for seniors. Skilled nursing care, in which treatment for residents is carefully managed to ensure seniors can have all their healthcare needs met easily, offer comprehensive services for those with advanced medical needs. These medical needs are seen to by a dedicated team of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.
These skilled nursing facilities often sacrifice the number of amenities available to their residents in order to provide better medical care. As many seniors in need of skilled nursing don’t have the capabilities of enjoying the same amenities as someone living in an independent living facility or even an assisted care community, this makes sense. Additionally, skilled nursing care is often the most expensive type of retirement facility because of the costs associated with the advanced care they provide.
An All-in-One Solution
There is also what’s called a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), which is capable of meeting a senior resident’s needs no matter how they change over time. These facilities can act as an independent living community, an assisted living facility, and can provide skilled nursing care whenever necessary. The resident never needs to leave the campus they’ve become accustomed to.
As referenced early, different contract options result in different pricing structures, but one of the most popular forms of CCRC is what renowned CCRC Acts Retirement-Life Communities called Life Care — the resident pays an entrance fee up-front, and then their monthly fee does not rise in relation to their healthcare need. Meaning, they have locked in their costs for health services, and should they ever need a higher level of care, it is already included in the same monthly expense.
This allows seniors to maintain a consistent budget for the length of time they remain at the CCRC.
Deciding what is the best facility for an elderly loved one can be a difficult, stressful process. Please feel free to review our numerous resources as you navigate this journey.