Written by Yolanda Robles Hue, MPA, Business Development Coordinator, Tapestry Senior Living of Tallahassee
Senior Living Communities are for individuals who no longer wish to live alone or cannot live independently. Senior Living Communities include independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities. At different seasons of life, it may be necessary to consider home health care or a type of senior community to ensure one’s safety and well-being.
Home Health Services
Home health services are available in the home for seniors who need assistance with household chores, trips to the store, or daily living activities like eating and bathing. The client’s needs will often determine the type of care they may need and for how long. Typically, seniors using home health receive services a few times a week for a few hours a day. With these services, a senior can continue to live at home alone safely.
There is a time and place for private non-skilled services. Working with a home health agency’s community partner can help a family decide what is best for the senior. It is great when the client is able to live at home and use private non-skilled home care services. However, things change, and levels of care increase. When this happens, the family and the home health agency need to start looking at other options. There are a few types of senior living communities that offer different types of care. These include independent living, assisted living, or memory care.
Independent Living Communities
Independent living communities tend to be the first step for a senior to transition from home into a community. These communities provide apartment-style living with amenities and services such as restaurant-style meals, pools, fitness centers, onsite activities, utilities, and housekeeping services. Each couple or individual has a studio or one-bedroom apartment with a small kitchenette and laundry room. This type of living is perfect for individuals and couples who no longer want to live alone but can still maintain most of their care and affairs.
Assisted Living Communities
As the senior ages, their needs increase. When one requires daily help with medication management, showering, using the restroom, getting dressed or walking, this is when an assisted living is a good option. At an assisted living community, seniors get the privacy of their own apartment with an en-suite. They have amenities included such as cable, phone, internet, housekeeping, and laundry service. They also have access to 24-hour personal care from qualified staff.
Assisted living communities are an excellent option to consider when a senior requires 12-24 hours a day, nurse oversite is needed, or loneliness at home is unavoidable due to family work schedules. There might be fear about moving into a community, but there are many positive aspects to moving into a community. Residents discover new friends, a new sense of independence, and experience new things. For example, a community might take a trip to a neighboring town for lunch, bring in a musical performer, or host an event that leaves a lasting impression on a resident. These moments are special to those living in an assisted living community.
Memory Care Communities
Memory care communities follow the same model as assisted living communities but offer specialized programming to dementia-type diseases. These additional services might include art therapy, pet therapy, and music therapy. Other personal care services may also be provided to meet the specific needs of someone with dementia type diseases.
Navigating the choices available for a loved one or yourself can be tricky, but there is a “right” option for everyone! You must focus on two to three communities within proximity to your home or work as you decide. When deciding, be sure to tour the community, ask questions, know your budget, and most importantly, go with what feels right. A community should not force you to decide on the spot. Take a night or two to sleep on it, allow a community representative to treat you and your family to lunch or attend an onsite group activity. Please note, due to COVID-19, some state restrictions prevent certain onsite visits but a virtual tour is a viable option. Following your instinct will ensure that you make a decision based on what is right for your family.