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Choosing a Residential Care Facility

A move to a senior care community or nursing home is a decision that involves both the caregiver and the care receiver if he or she is competent. The term “long term care” is often used to describe care in a residential facility, but the term can refer to on-going care needed by frail persons living at home. The continuum of facilities providing long term care is described below.

It helps to learn as much as possible about possible long term care choices and how to evaluate residential facilities. But that can take time and research where time is not an option. This is where working with Compassionate Care Connection steps in. Through our 30+ years experience in the senior care industry, we have gathered the knowledge and experience to assist you in making these delicate decisions, allowing you to focus on caring for your loved-one.

Senior Living Communities come in all shapes and sizes. Some provide a safe environment with minimal care to those that are able to proved total care. Below is a brief description of these different types of communities.

55+ Living Communities

For the active, young at heart retiree to those still working but approaching retirement, these communities offer so many advantages to creating a full social lifestyle. Generally you own or rent you home within the community and are responsible for the care of the home along with paying a monthly community fee. In return for that fee there are amenities that may include: golf course, club house, events, entertainment, opportunities to socialize with you neighbors and much more.

Independent Living Communities

When you need is to still live independently within a senior community but have a bit more support with respect to care options, an Independent Living Community may be what you are searching for. These communities generally provide the social options of a 55+ Community but also provide 1 – 2 meals per day. They may have clinical services such as physicians, podiatry and nurse practitioners coming to the community to provide care. They will also check on each of their residents daily to make sure they are doing well.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), also called life-care facilities, provide residents with shelter and health care in return for an entrance fee and monthly rental fee. These communities have a specific license that allows them to use the term “Continuing Care Retirement Community” or “life-care”. CCRC’s may appeal to those who can afford them due to having several levels of care ranging from independent living to nursing home on the same grounds. Residents who need nursing care just move to another part of the community. Payment plans can vary from community to community.

Adult Family Care Homes

Adult Family Care Homes (AFCH’s) are family-type living arrangements in private homes. These are an option for housing and supportive services for no more than five disabled adults or frail elders. Elders would live in the home with the family that owns, runs and provides the services/care needed by the resident.

Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted Living Facilities (ALF’s) provide housing, 3 meals, snacks & beverages, personal care services and supportive services (laundry, housekeeping, transportation to physician appointments, entertainment & activities) to seniors who are unable to live independently. Residents in ALF’s cannot have conditions that require 24-hour nursing supervision unless receiving licensed hospice services. Some ALF’s have specialty licenses to provide limited nursing services or mental health services, and some specialize in providing services to persons with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

The rental fees for Assisted Living Communities are paid for privately. There are other funding sources however if the resident qualifies. These are the Assisted Living Medicaid Waiver program, The VA’s Aid & Attendance Program and Long Term Care Insurance.

Memory Care Communities

These are Assisted Living Communities that focus specifically on Memory Disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia. An Assisted Living Community can have a Memory Care Community within their building or the community can be solely focused on residents with Memory Disorders. These communities provide the same services as an assisted living community with the addition of security for those that may have wondering or exit seeking issues. Staff has been specially trained to care for the unique needs of memory disorder residents.

As with Assisted Living, the rental fees for a Memory Care Community are paid for privately. There are other funding sources as well if the resident qualifies. These are the Assisted Living Medicaid Waiver program, The VA’s Aid & Attendance Program and Long Term Care Insurance.

Nursing Homes

Nursing Homes provide more care than assisted living facilities. There are two levels of nursing homes, Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) and Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF).

Skilled Nursing provides nursing care on a 24-hour basis. Generally a skilled nursing facility or rehab may be necessary after hospitalization for an illness, surgery or injury for additional care prior to returning home. Also included are physical, occupational and speech therapy, diet supervision, activities, and medication management. An RN Supervisor is on-site and a physician is accessible. Medicare and Medicare Replacement policies will pay for skilled nursing care in a facility if the patient meets the necessary criteria. Medicaid may pay for this type of care for persons who meet the income and asset eligibility.

Intermediate Care provides personal care and supervision of dressing, bathing, diet, and self-administered medications. This level of care may be covered by Medicaid for those who financially qualify, but Medicare only pays for skilled nursing and will not pay for what it calls “custodial care” or intermediate care.

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