Types of Care

Five Types of Senior Care Communities

If you have been concerned about your elderly parent or loved one living on their own, your family may be considering senior living options for their care and safety. Researching this type of care is often a new concept for many families. When we are talking about senior care, typically, we are referring to five distinct types of care that may be suitable for your loved one. You may be wondering what each option entails and how they are different. Understanding these senior living options will help you determine what your parent may currently need and what to consider as their needs may change over time. Multiple moves can be stressful on an elderly loved one, so ensuring they live somewhere that can accommodate their needs is essential.

1. Independent Living

An independent community, often referred to as a retirement community, usually appeals most to an older crowd. Independent communities offer social opportunities, easy-to-manage accommodations, senior-friendly surroundings, transportation options, and living in a community with peers, typically 55 and older. Care services and personal assistance are usually not offered. The focus of this option is on the amenities that might attract retirees like a golf course, tennis courts, clubhouse, beauty salon, barbershop, fitness center, or restaurants. This option is best suited for fit and active seniors, who may be looking to downsize after retirement or snowbirds who want to travel frequently.

2. Assisted Living

If your parent or loved one is no longer safe or healthy living on their own, an assisted living community is a long-term care solution. An assisted living community offers around-the-clock care services by trained care managers in a home-like environment. The care staff can assist a resident with the activities of daily living (ADLs) like dressing, toileting, personal hygiene, grooming, bathing, eating, and transferring. Most assisted living communities employ an on-staff nurse to oversee the medical care of each resident and address any changes in their care. Also, an assisted living community handles the everyday chores for the residents like cooking three meals per day, providing snacks and beverages, housekeeping, laundry services, and transportation to appointments.

In addition to expert care and support, assisted living communities are built on a social model. Although residents live in private apartments, they are encouraged to engage and interact with their neighbors, staff members, and new friends throughout the day. These communities typically offer various entertainment options, daily activities, exercise classes, excursions, and events to promote friendships and comradery. In our Aegis Living communities, we have a staff of Life Enrichment directors who schedule a full calendar of rotating activities based on the interests, hobbies, and passions of the residents who live there.

3. Memory Care

Although some assisted living communities offer memory care wings within their building or on their campus, memory care is a distinct care option for a parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Memory care communities meet the specific needs of residents with memory loss by specially trained staff who can manage the unique conditions associated with memory loss. The care staff provides personalized care to meet the resident wherever they are in the progression of their memory loss.

Apartments are modified to meet the residents’ needs and keep them safe. Also, activities, meals, and décor cater to the unique care needs of people living with memory loss. Most communities provide additional security measures such as exterior doors that are locked or use a delayed egress, motion sensors, emergency call buttons, and camouflaged exits for those who may wander. The goal is to offer a safe, calm, healthy, and comfortable environment while encouraging the residents to be as independent as possible throughout the day.

4. Respite Care

Most assisted living communities offer short-term care as an option for your parent or loved one. It allows them to stay at an assisted living community for a short period of time if you need to travel for work or take a break from caregiving for self-care. Your parent will be cared for by trained professionals who can assist them with 24/7 care, including medication management and helping with ADLs.

In respite care, your parent or loved one will be part of the community and able to take part in activities and engage with residents. They will dine with other residents for three meals per day and enjoy snacks throughout the day. They can relish in all the amenities, including attending activities, participating in exercise classes, going to the movies, using the beauty salon, or utilizing the community transportation, to name a few. It is also an excellent option for a parent or a loved one who wants to try living in an assisted living community or to ease their transition into being a full-time resident.

5. Skilled Nursing Facility

Next to a hospital, a skilled nursing facility offers the highest level of care. A skilled nursing facility is best suited for your parent or loved one if they need a higher level of medical care or supervision for a short period of time (on average most stay for three months). It’s an appropriate choice if they are suffering from a complex medical condition, recuperating after surgery or a stroke, need daily therapy services, or require around-the-clock medical care. In a skilled nursing facility, a licensed physician oversees each patient’s care. Healthcare medical professionals, such as doctors, registered nurses, and therapists, are always on the premises. A skilled nursing facility is a more appropriate fit if your parent or loved one needs a higher level of medical attention.

Other Specialized Care Options

Seniors also have the opportunity to experience Aegis Living communities first-hand in a variety of different ways. Our specialized care options include:

  • Day stays: When an at-home caregiver is at work or needs time during the day to care for their family, seniors can spend the day enjoying the activities, delicious food, and delightful company at an Aegis Living community. Day stays include daily living assistance, medication management, and other care services. Aegis Living only offers the day stay option at our Washington communities.
  • Companion living program: This option lets seniors share a living space with another resident. Many assisted living communities simply pair roommates based on gender. At Aegis Living, we make the extra effort to pair based on personalities and interests as well as their sleeping and eating habits. The program also provides therapeutic activities that can help roommates form a lasting and fulfilling bond.
  • Hospice care: When a senior has limited options for medical intervention, hospice care through Aegis Living can provide them with a nurturing and compassionate environment in their last days. Hospice services are provided in addition to basic care, and staff will meet with a hospice provider chosen by the resident to create a coordinated care plan for the senior.

Researching care options for your parent or loved one may feel overwhelming. Having a clear understanding of the different services available to your family will help you make the right choice. If you have any questions, consult with your parent or loved one’s physician to help you better identify their care needs and medical condition. Our Aegis Living staff is always available to help answer your questions or provide resources to help you navigate your options. We have years of experience and are always happy to help!

Additional Resources: Types of Care