Senior Living - March 24, 2021

Senior Living Options that Meet Your Changing Care Needs

Supporting Seniors Changing Care Needs

Thinking about future care needs before the need arises is difficult. How do you know what sort of care you’ll need? According to the Department of Health and Human Services, seniors who are 65 years of age today have a 70% chance of needing some sort of long-term care or support services in their future years. With age, the chance of developing a chronic medical illness or disability increases. It’s important to understand levels of care within the senior living industry and evaluate options that can meet your changing care needs over time.

Understanding Levels of Care

Senior living is an all-encompassing term that can refer to a retirement community, assisted living communities, nursing homes or skilled nursing communities, as well as memory care communities. Below are brief explanations of common levels of care offered by many senior living communities. Learn more by downloading our detailed guide, “What is Senior Living?” here.

Independent Living offers the lowest level of support and provides residents with the opportunity to have an active lifestyle while focusing on socialization and companionship with other residents. Independent living communities generally do not provide health care services but do offer amenities like fitness programs, housekeeping, laundry, and elevated dining programs. Independent living is a good option for seniors who enjoy an active lifestyle and are looking to downsize.

Assisted Living communities combine the companionship and social benefits of independent living with a level of care intended to assist residents with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, medication administration, and transportation. Assisted living communities offer planned activities, wellness programs, and the same types of amenities offered in independent living, while also providing some medical support.

Memory Care communities specialize in supporting those living with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. Memory care communities honor the rhythms of older adults experiencing symptoms of dementia. They focus on the resident’s care, comfort, and happiness, while also providing a high level of safety and security. Read more about choosing the right memory care community.

Life Plan Communities, also referred to as continuing care communities offer a continuum of care for residents that support various stages of life. Life plan communities offer a variety of housing options that include independent living and other levels of care like assisted living or memory care. A life plan community typically requires an upfront financial commitment that, in turn, guarantees housing services and nursing care all in one location through the end of life. Learn more about our life plan community in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Some older adults prefer to ‘age in place’ at home and receive care from professional caregivers. You may need only a small amount of support now, but as needs increase a higher level of support may be needed which could mean a move in the future. Learn more about living safely at home here.

Evaluating Your Options and Planning Ahead

Once the decision to move to a senior living community has been made, you will want to think about the kind of care you might want or need in the future. Transitioning from one level of care is stressful when a move is involved, so you’ll want to choose a community that provides a variety of service options.

While no one can know for sure what kind of support they may need in the future, there are things you can do to educate yourself and plan ahead. Talk to family and friends about your wishes should you need care in the future. Talk with people you trust about their experiences with seniors living in the area where you want to live. You can also talk to a geriatric care manager, someone who can provide a housing assessment based on your circumstances.

Planning ahead for your future health care needs also includes completing legal documents, making financial arrangements, and if necessary, appointing a health care advocate. Download the AARP’s free long-term care resource guide here.

What Happens if Only One Spouse’s Care Needs Change?

If you are married and both you and your spouse are considering a move to a senior living community, you may be wondering what happens if one of you has advancing care needs. It’s typical for senior couples to experience different health challenges and sometimes these challenges mean one spouse needs a different level of care. For example, a couple may start in an assisted living apartment together but after some time one of them begins to experience symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. If you are living in a community that offers both Assisted Living and Memory Care, it’s possible that you can continue living together in the same apartment with additional support from a care partner specialized in memory care. In some situations, it might not be best for both spouses to stay in the same apartment, but in a life plan community or a senior living community that offers many levels of care, you won’t experience a complete separation. Learn more about the signs and stages of dementia.

Villagio Senior Living Housing Options

With senior living communities in Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado, we offer a variety of warm and caring housing options including independent living, assisted living, and memory support services. Our engaging lifestyle programs offer an enriching, personalized experience no matter what level of care is needed.

Our goal is to create an environment where residents can discover their passions, be supported, and feel understood. We know you have your unique story, cultural heritage, and personal interests that deserve to be valued. We recognize every successful aging journey is unique and we support that individuality by tailoring programs, activities, and health care services to meet you where you are and provide what you might need in the future. We are proud to be a community resource to help you understand the living options available to you. Download our senior living resource guide, “Helping You Make an Empowered Decision” here.

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