Did you know that this week is National Nursing Homes week? But what are nursing homes? And what are your options? Despite some of the misconceptions, nursing homes are just one of the many options available to seniors depending on level of care and assistance needed. Nursing home is now the catch-all term for any sort of senior living. In this article, we are going to take a look at the different types of senior living is available and what they mean so you can make an informed decision.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Nursing homes, or skilled nursing facilities, is the highest level of assisted care. They are also completely different from the nursing homes that your grandparents remember. Today’s skilled nursing facilities are lovely residences, with private rooms, restaurant-style dining, fun social activities, and a pleasant environment. All with the advantage of having highly experienced medical staff a button push or call away. These skilled nursing facilities are for seniors requiring around-the-clock medical monitoring and assistance.

A subset of this type of place is a memory care assistance facility. Their specialty is for persons living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other memory impairment issues. Memory care communities employ specially trained staff and added security measures to ensure your loved one’s safety.

Assisted Living

Assisted living differs from skilled nursing facilities in that they do not require the high level of care residents in those facilities need. Assisted living residents may require help with medications, some activities of daily living, and housekeeping. The residents most often live in private apartments with a whirlwind of social activities throughout the week and transportation to events and other places, like libraries, museums, etc.

Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities are essentially retirement, or senior, communities. They are for residents who are very independent and with little to no medical problems. They are essentially a community for similar aged folks looking to connect with others of their own age. They can be a small housing community, apartments, or even townhomes! They are jam-packed with social outings, activities, and a variety of entertainment. The goal of the independent living community is to keep their residents happy and young at heart through activity, learning, and socializing.

Adult Day Care

Once a rare sight, now these facilities are quite mainstream. They are part of the umbrella term of respite care. Adult day care is for seniors requiring just a short stay – from a few hours to a month – to provide a temporary break for caregivers. They are also used as a “trial period” for seniors to become accustomed to assisted living and or secondary caregivers.

Home Care

This is by far the largest category of senior living. Older persons may decide to continue living at home while receiving assistance from a home health aide (HHA) to remain independent as long as possible. HHAs assist in all aspects of daily living and also provide companionship, emotional and social support for their patients. Home care ranges from once a week to 24-hour care.

No matter what type of senior living you are contemplating, there are resources available for you to make informed decisions on the type and amount of care you need.

Aging Care is a website with tons of information about elder care.

American Health Care Association is an association of long term and post-care facilities and providers.

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