Acquiring Care and Assistance

Moderate to High Care Needs

People today live longer, healthier, more active lives than ever before. But sometimes, in spite of preventive measures, injury or illness can undermine health conditions and professional assistance or nursing care becomes necessary. If you or family members need this type of care, there are different options to consider.

Private care managers or your local Area Agency on Aging can help you determine what types of services may be needed. This evaluation is called a functional assessment. (Private agencies may charge a fee for these assessments; be sure to ask about any costs up front.) If a little help with daily living tasks is all that’s required, assisted living may be a good choice. If 24-hour care and attention are needed, a skilled nursing facility may be more appropriate.

Assisted living and/or personal care provides help with simple, routine tasks such as bathing or getting dressed, taking medicine, cooking, shopping, housekeeping, laundry and getting around the community. Services are tailored to individual capabilities, providing as much or as little assistance as needed to support and encourage independence. This type of help enables many people to stay active and in control of their own lives.

Assisted living and/or personal care also offers the reassuring benefit of having a professional staff available 24-hours a day. Knowing help is quickly available if needed provides immeasurable peace of mind to both residents and families. Assisted living and/or personal care personnel are trained health care professionals that may include registered nurses, certified geriatric nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses.

Assisted living and/or personal care services are provided in a variety of settings such as CCRCs and in standalone facilities. Today’s assisted living and/or personal care is typically delivered in an attractive, home-like environment that respects individual privacy, encourages companionship, and helps residents feel secure and comfortable. Accommodations can range from single or double rooms, to suites or even apartments, depending on individual needs, preferences and budgets. Often, there are common areas such as recreation rooms, lounges, libraries, courtyards and gardens.

In addition to supervised care, assisted living and/or personal care residences usually provide opportunities for recreation, social interaction and enrichment. In CCRCs, assisted living and/or personal care residents have access to all the same services, amenities, activities and conveniences as independent living residents. In stand-alone and nursing facilities, services typically include meals, housekeeping, planned activities, religious programs, transportation, scheduled trips and other similar services.

Nursing care facilities provide nursing care, personal care and medical services for individuals who need this type of care around-the-clock. They also offer different kinds of therapies to assist in recovery from an illness or surgery. Some nursing care facilities and CCRCs offer memory support care for people with mild to moderate memory loss due to Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Nursing care can mean a short- or long- term stay, depending on the level and type of care needed, and is provided in CCRCs and stand-alone facilities. Today, many of these facilities are designed specifically to create a relaxed, more home-like environment. Cozy family rooms, cheerful dining rooms and outdoor courtyards are some of the features you’ll find that help residents feel comfortable and more at home. Shared living space allows for interaction and camaraderie. Single and double rooms provide quiet settings for private moments.

Memory support care is another option that is becoming increasingly more available. This specialized form of nursing care not only addresses health issues, but also exercises the mind, rekindles memory and encourages independence. Often art, music and nostalgic memorabilia are used to spark and strengthen memory. Creatively designed floor plans provide easy monitoring, interaction, security and safety, frequently including secured outdoor areas.

Nursing care personnel are trained health care professionals that may include registered nurses, certified geriatric nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses. A skilled, caring staff is critical to fostering a comfortable, fulfilling quality of life. In addition to basic services such as meals, laundry and housekeeping, nursing care facilities provide engaging activities that stimulate the mind, body and spirit.

Factors to Consider when Choosing High Level Care Needs

Pros
  • Reassurance of 24-hour assistance if needed
  • Less isolated than own home
  • More opportunities for interaction, activities, and recreation
  • May be less costly than receiving care in the home
  • Relieves family members of worry and stress
Cons
  • Not as familiar as home
  • Less private than home