Megy Karydes
senior living

As people get older, the idea of slowing down and living out their days in an old folks’ home isn’t part of their life plan.

Understanding why a move may be necessary and what types of care and facilities are available can make it easier for them and their adult children.

Benefits of a continuing care retirement community

There’s not one medical diagnosis that determines whether someone needs to move into a continuing care facility. In many cases, it’s based on the physical assistance that somebody might need or on personal safety. Life situations may dictate what you can do, what you can afford and what you may need.

That’s what makes a continuing care retirement community so great. It provides one campus with every type of retirement community out there, so an aging adult can make one move and continue on in the same place as their needs change.

Here are the types of care options you will find at a continuing care community.

1. Active adults

For those who are retired and still very active and involved with their communities, an active adult community might be a great transition when they’re ready to move from their homes.

It’s ideal for those who don’t need help with daily life but still want the benefits of living in a community, such as sharing meals they don’t have to cook and attending concerts, art classes, lectures, movies, discussion groups and book clubs.

This type of arrangement helps residents feel less isolated because they’re engaged and connecting with others. They’re living in a community with people who share their interests and for many people, that’s better than living at home alone.

2. Assisted living

Whereas independent living is great for those who crave community but don’t need assistance, assisted living services are available for those clients who do need assistance with chores, like showering, getting around or medical care.

Assisted living facilities help residents with medication management and provide a more scheduled environment. In many cases, those living on their own may not be getting the nutrition in their diets that they need. By moving to an assisted living community, they can have their medication administered by nurses or licensed aide residents and get help with meals, cleaning and personal care.

For many, it’s not just about health concerns. Socialization is an important aspect of this type of retirement community as it helps extend their quality of life, especially when their health falters.

3. Memory care

Other residents need more specific care, such as those living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. In those cases, a memory care facility is a good option. Since those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia can become agitated, confused, aggressive or depressed, memory care facilities and their staff can provide a structure that helps minimize those symptoms.

In addition to getting the care they need by staff who know how to communicate and work with people with dementia, residents have a chance to socialize and engage in activities where their options at home may be more limited and lonelier. Having a routine that’s predictable and comforting can help residents living in memory care facilities.

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Choosing a community

It’s worth noting that not all continuing care retirement communities are created equally.

When choosing a facility, consider staff-to-resident ratio, outcomes, the medical director, therapy plans and dining programs. Some residents may need a more restrictive diet, for example, and it’s important to know whether the facility can easily accommodate those needs.

Also, every retirement community is different in terms of the levels of care it provides and its fee structure. While some independent and active residents might feel different levels of care aren’t important, understanding what’s available in different communities is important for long-term planning.

Look at the physical layout of centers, too. Some retirement homes might separate assisted living residents to a specific part of the building or floor while others don’t.

Many older individuals stand to benefit from the care retirement communities provide, whether a resident needs assistance with specific healthcare concerns or prefers a more independent lifestyle.

Before they pack their first box, it’s important to consider what they really need to make sure they find their right home. This will make it easier for everyone, both emotionally and mentally, in the long run.



About The Author

Megy Karydes

As a Chicago-based freelance writer, Megy Karydes has covered everything from space-aged tomato seeds grown in a Chicago Public School to Chicago Blues musician Lurrie Bell. Her work has been featured in USA Today, Travel + Leisure, Midwest Living magazine and other national and regional media outlets. When she's not out exploring the city with her two children and husband, she's perfecting her air hockey technique.