As you start to look into senior care for yourself or a loved one, it’s easy to get confused. It’s not as simple as looking for an assisted living facility. There are many different levels of care and a variety of facilities that provide different services.
In broad strokes, you can break down senior living options into four different types. Independent living communities are usually townhouses or single-family homes that provide a community for seniors. There they can enjoy social activities and companionship. Residents of assisted living communities live in apartments with staff available to help with activities of daily living but not medical services. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities provide 24-hour assistance. They offer both daily living activities and medical care. Continuing Care retirement communities are in a class by themselves and provide a wide range of senior care services.
Independent living is also sometimes known as senior living and can be considered “aging in place.” These communities often have a strict age limit. This way residents are at similar stages in their life. People who live in senior living communities usually purchase traditional housing such as a townhouse or single-family home. In addition, these communities often have a social director that coordinates day trips, schedules social events and fitness classes. They may even have onsite church services. Seniors that move into an independent living community have the freedom to live their lives as they see fit. This is one of the lower levels of senior care.
Assisted Living consists of residential facilities for those in need of higher levels of senior care. Namely when it comes to activities of daily living (also called ADLs). ADLs include such fundamental tasks as bathing, dressing, cooking meals, and moving around a residence. Services provided in an assisted living community include meal preparation, housekeeping and laundry services. They also help with personal care. Some assisted living facilities provide memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. For the most part, older adults who live in assisted living facilities need minimal care and do not have many medical needs.
Nursing homes provide around-the-clock skilled nursing care. Skilled nursing facilities provide one of the highest levels of senior care. Whether short-term, such as rehabilitation after surgery, or for long-term care of more serious medical issues. Nursing homes do all the same things as assisted living but include medical needs. For example, taking vital signs, administering medication, and coordinating with doctors. Patients reside in a single room, either private or shared with another resident. Seniors with severe dementia or Alzheimer’s disease typically reside in skilled nursing facilities for in-depth memory care. Nursing homes also provide hospice services for end-of-life care.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
Also known as CCRC, this type of senior housing is typically for wealthy seniors who want to find a community where they can live out the rest of their lives. The key is in the words “continuing care.” These facilities offer a variety of levels of senior care so residents can take advantage of care services as their needs change. A couple may start out living independently and add on assisted living services such as personal care if their physical status deteriorates. It allows seniors to remain in the same residence, knowing that care will be provided to them if needed.
Levels within Levels of Senior Care
The four types of facilities explained above are often further broken down into more subtle levels of senior care depending on the needs of the adult in question. For example, assisted living communities are typically broken down into several levels of care:
Level 1 Care
We consider this low-level care and it applies to residents who need little help with their ADLs (activities of daily living) and live mostly independent lives. They are capable of bathing themselves, make their own meals, and move around well on their own. They do not suffer from incontinence and can use the bathroom safely on their own. While they may need help managing their medications or testing their blood sugar levels, for the most part, they do not require 24/7 nursing care.
Level 2 Care
For seniors who need more assistance with physical and health-related issues. They might be able to handle certain ADLs but need help with others. For example, your loved one may be able to feed themselves but need assistance bathing or dressing. They might be starting to show signs of memory loss, requiring caregivers to watch them on a more consistent basis. A Level 2 assisted living facility will not accept patients who are bedridden or completely incontinent. They must have separate wards for patients who receive a nursing home level of care versus those that do not. Another key difference is that Level 2 nursing care is covered by Medicaid, while Level 1 care is not.
Level 3 Care
Also known as memory care. Level 3 care has programs aimed primarily at those seniors living with advanced Alzheimer’s and dementia. If your loved one is recommended for Level 3 care, chances are they need a high level of assistance with ADLs and need around-the-clock health care. Similar to Level 2 care, Level 3 care will involve registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, and regular caregivers. A caseworker is usually assigned to assist the family and the facility in the management of the patient’s care.
Senior Living and Levels of Senior Care at Mary T
Mary T is proud to provide a wide array of community options where you or a loved one will feel right at home. If you’re interested in an independent living community, Margaret Place and the Villas of Casa Grande offer residential housing to those age 55 and older. Both have 24-hour on-site manager, twice daily “I’m OK” checks, and group activities and outings.
If you are looking for an assisted living community with a higher level of care, Eagle Street and Creekside Cottage have a fantastic staff that provides its residents with personal care services. Residents enjoy homemade meals, in-home physician visits, medication management, and registered nurses on-site and on-call 24/7.
If your level of care requires a full-time skilled nursing facility, the Camilia Rose Care Center has programs to manage and care for any complex medical issue. Our loving staff is there to provide whatever is needed to help you or your loved one live the best life possible. Contact us today to learn more.