Types of Senior Care - What Every Family Needs to Know
As our loved ones age and begin to need more support, families may struggle to figure out exactly what that means and where to look.
And in this age of unlimited internet data at our fingertips, it’s easy to get more confused, rather than less.
To help families make sense of it all, here are the types of senior living and senior care options made simple.
Independent living can mean three things – a 55+ apartment or neighborhood, an apartment in a senior community, or one portion of a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community).
A 55+ neighborhood or apartment has no amenities and is most affordable. If a senior doesn’t mind shopping, cooking and keeping house, this is a good option.
A senior community provides meals, housekeeping and activities. This is a good choice if the resident would like to have these amenities provided and to socialize with others.
A CCRC generally requires a financial investment, rather than renting. It has all the amenities of a senior community, plus future care options. If this financial investment model is preferred and affordable, a CCRC is a good choice.
TIP – Some rental senior communities have both independent living buildings and assisted living buildings on the same campus.
If a senior needs help with medications, showering, dressing etc, they’ll need a place that is licensed to provide care. Assisted living communities or homes employee caregivers who are onsite at all times to assist.
Assisted living also provides meals, housekeeping and activities. Some seniors move to licensed buildings not because they need care now, but because they are planning for if and when they will.
Assisted living is non-medical and is typically month to month rental.
TIP – Assisted living is most often privately paid, not by MediCal or MediCare.
Board and Care Home
These are houses in neighborhoods licensed for senior care just as an assisted living community. Board and care homes typically care for 6 seniors, some up to 15. Board and care homes take all types of seniors, including those with dementias.
TIP – If a senior is frail or unable to walk without assistance, a board and care home may minimize fall risk. A board and care home may not be the right fit for a social, alert senior.
Care for someone with memory loss can take place in a board and care home, a specialized memory care community, or the memory care section of an assisted living community (if they offer that level of care).
Dementia/Alzheimer’s care communities are secured so residents are unable to leave on their own. All care, meals and activities are tailored to meet the needs of those with cognitive loss.
TIP – If a senior has MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment) or mild dementia, they may still be able to live in assisted living. There is some gray area.
Skilled nursing facilities used to be called nursing homes.
Skilled nursing provides medical care in two ways: long term custodial care and short-term rehabilitative care after a hospital stay. Not every skilled nursing facility has both long-and-short term care, but most do.
TIP – MediCal may pay for long term skilled nursing care. MediCare may pay for short term rehabilitative stays.
To find out more about types of senior care and which category is right for your family, please contact us. We’re happy to help.