When Independent Living No Longer Works

If your loved one isn’t able to live independently, there are many different types of residential facilities to meet your caregiving needs.

At some point, your loved one may no longer be able to live at home. He or she may simply become unable to handle the daily requirements of running a household. Or, your loved one may require specialized care 24 hours a day. Whatever the case, it’s difficult to arrange for long-term residential care during a crisis or on short notice, and many facilities have waiting lists. Although your loved one may not need residential care now, it’s wise to prepare for that eventuality.

Involve your loved one in the decision-making process as much as possible. It will take time and may seem overwhelming at first, but you can do most of the groundwork by phone.

  • Assess your loved one’s current needs, and ask a health or social work professional to help you identify potential future needs.
  • Contact facilities that offer the services you need, and ask for references.
  • Also inquire about the facility’s fee structure.
  • Narrow your list of prospective facilities to three or four that meet all your requirements, and then plan a trip to visit each one.
  • Contact references before you go. You might be able to eliminate some facilities without taking the trouble to see them.
  • When you visit a facility, ask to see its licensing reviews and certificates. Ask about any recent complaints, and find out how they were resolved.

Types Of Residential Care

There are varying degrees of residential care, depending upon your loved one’s current condition. If he or she is reasonably independent, a senior apartment or independent living facility may do. If your loved one doesn’t require constant attention now, but you expect health complications down the road, consider a transitional facility where care can expand as the situation changes. If your loved one requires nearly constant supervision or medical monitoring, he or she may need to move into a professional nursing home. Here are some of the services offered at each type of residential care facility:

  • Federally subsidized apartments generally don’t provide services, but some offer a service coordinator to help residents.
  • Independent living facilities usually include amenities such as onsite entertainment, meal service, and socialization opportunities. Some offer light housekeeping or transportation to medical appointments or shopping. Some even have staff to administer medication and coordinate health care.
  • Adult residential care provides room and board and help with medications and personal care, as well as limited supervision.
  • Adult family homes provide room, board, laundry, necessary supervision, assistance with activities of daily living, personal care, and social services. Some also provide nursing care.
  • Assisted living facilities offer private apartments within a facility that provides meals, personal care, medication assistance, limited supervision, organized activities, and some nursing services.
  • Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) provide seamless transitions as care needs increase. A CCRC accepts seniors while they are still active and independent, and then provides an expanding range of caregiving services—including professional nursing care—as needed.
  • Nursing Homes provide 24-hour supervised nursing care, personal care, therapy, nutrition management, organized activities, social services, room, board, and laundry.

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