Posted by Gina Salamone

When placing your loved one into a senior community, it is important to know what level of care they need. However, it is often difficult to determine one level from another.

What is Independent Living?
Independent Living takes care of any maintenance, meals, and offers an emergency call system. The resident can pick and choose which services they want to pay for, such as dog-walking, laundry services, landscaping, security surveillance, etc. Their homes are placed close to gyms, gardens, libraries, and cafés so they do not need to travel far for these amenities. This form of care, however, does not cover any personal needs, like bathing, grooming, and dressing.

If a person ends up paying for many extra services that Independent Living offers, it may be a better financial option at some point to transition to Assisted Living, where most services are bundled in the price.

What is Assisted Living?
Assisted Living is like Independent Living, but all of the services are included and the resident lives at a residential apartment. The residents have all of their meals, housekeeping, and transportation provided. Personal care such as bathing, dressing, and medication reminders are also included with Assisted Living. The Activity Director’s plan activities and excursions for the seniors to participate in, which is a great way to socialize with other residents in the community.

What is Memory Care?
Memory Care has the same home-like environment as Assisted Living, but it has specialized care for people with cognitive impairment such as Alzheimers. Memory Care units provide 24-hour supervised care, including a secured entrance. The staff plans activities that are fun and engaging for seniors, as socialization is so important.

What is Supportive Living?
The only major difference between Assisted Living and Supportive Living is that Supportive Living is subsidized by the State of Illinois, and includes a Medicaid option. Sometimes there are waitlists here. The same personal care services are offered to residents in Supportive Living, but they have financial support if needed, as well.

What is In-Home Care?
In-Home Care allows a senior to live inside of their home, and a Certified Nursing Assistant or Nurse can provide them the care they need. These services can be similar to those offered with Assisted Living, such as cooking, bathing, grooming, and cleaning.

What is a nursing home?
Skilled nursing homes provide a very high level of care for patients that need licensed medical staff to attend to their daily needs.  For instance, a nursing home patient may need assistance with dressing, bathing, or medication management, and additionally assistance with transferring someone via a Hoyer lift, running a continual IV for a patient, managing a tracheotomy, or any other medical intervention that requires a licensed medical staff member to attend to. This defines skilled nursing.

Residents can either privately pay for this care, or if they qualify, many skilled nursing facilities have Medicaid on the campus. Residents can reside in private rooms, or share a room with 1 to 2 other residents. The residents receive three meals a day, housekeeping, activities, and transportation. Along with nursing staff, there is usually a medical director who is a physician, social workers that assist with discharging patients back to home or other facilities, activities staff, maintenance staff, and business office staff that handle billing and Medicaid applications.

Skilled nursing facilities are overseen by the Illinois Department of Public health. There is typically an annual, unannounced survey done by the Illinois Department of Public health to determine the quality of care being provided in the community. Often, the consumer may think that their loved one needs a nursing home, however, assisted living can provide many of the same assistance with activities of daily living. Once someone needs people to transfer them from point A to point B, that is when skilled nursing is needed.

In assisted-living we are able to transfer someone with the assistance from just one other person. Once a resident requires two people to assist them with activities of daily living, then that becomes a skilled nursing appropriate resident. So, before you make a decision on placement for your loved one, make sure that you are placing them in the appropriate level of care.

Senior living advisors can assist you in determining which level of care is the most appropriate for your loved one. An assessment done by the community’s nursing staff will also determine if it is the correct placement. Assisted-living can manage a lot, and often individuals are pleasantly surprised by the fact that their loved one can reside in assisted-living, when they originally thought they needed skilled nursing.

This blog appears courtesy of Senior Living Experts, www.seniorlivingexperts.com.