According to Simasko, one way to differentiate between types of retirement communities is whether residents require memory care, a specialized type of care for older adults with memory loss due to dementia, chronic illness, and mental illness. Alzheimer’s or other cognitive disorders. “These facilities must have additional restrictions and licensing requirements for health, fire safety and more,” he says.
Meanwhile, other types of independent or assisted living communities do not require the same level of clinical oversight to ensure resident safety. “They can monitor the door with cameras, or they can have a secretary or a receptionist at the front door to see who comes and goes,” says Simasko. “But there are no restrictions on residents leaving.”
With this distinction in mind, let’s explore some of the most common community housing options for seniors.
This type of accommodation generally offers the most independence. Often, residents who move into these communities lead quite active lives and seek to obtain more conveniences and conveniences compared to living in a traditional single-family home. “Apartment buildings and planned communities for residents 55 and older, often referred to as working adult communities, don’t provide any kind of on-site care,” says O’Connor. “Residents, however, can engage independent care agencies to provide care if they need a little extra support.”
Independent living communities
In this type of housing, usually offered in a large building or facility, independent residents get all the amenities, including a meal plan or an on-site restaurant, O’Connor says. This option is best for people who don’t need frequent medical attention but are looking to downsize – perhaps to cut costs and reduce maintenance – and take advantage of scheduled social events and dining options. .
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) offer a range of care, from independent living to skilled nursing, either in one building or spread across a campus, O’Connor says. She explains that while a relatively expensive option, CCRCs that offer a life plan contract — or an upfront fee that covers future medical costs — provide additional long-term insurance. “The benefit of CCRCs is the safety of residents knowing they have a home for life, no matter where their care needs take them.”
This type of secure housing is intended for elderly people with significant cognitive impairment. This option may be best for those going through the intermediate to advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, with staff available 24/7 to help residents with transportation, maintenance housework, laundry and other important ADLs.
“Memory care can physically prevent residents from leaving, making them safer,” says Simasko. In fact, research suggests that residents of assisted living facilities with memory care have a lower risk of hospitalization and admission to a skilled nursing facility than those of general assisted living facilities. Memory care communities typically have specialized staff training and services specifically designed for people with dementia and other cognitive impairments.
Depending on the extent of a resident’s healthcare needs, O’Connor says memory support services can be provided in two safe settings: assisted living and skilled nursing.
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Assisted living communities
This option is for seniors who need physical care, support with medication administration, transportation to and from the doctor, and/or additional forms of support. “While independent living has meals, transportation, housekeeping, and life-enrichment activities, it does not offer assistance with medications or personal care services,” says O’Connor. . “An assisted living community has a nurse on staff to supervise caregivers and work with a resident’s private physician to coordinate their care needs.”
Many states have another type of assisted living community in residential homes, which serve a small number of residents (often on the order of six to 12). These communities are generally regulated like their larger assisted living counterparts.
Skilled nursing facilities
Skilled Nursing (SNF) facilities provide care for seniors with significant medical needs who require professional medical care to treat, manage, or observe certain conditions. “It’s the only type of seniors’ residence that’s licensed as a true medical facility,” O’Connor says. “Residents of other locations may receive medical care in their apartments or suites, but it is provided by an outside resource.”