Having just attended a panel on long term care, I’ve come to the realization that there is no simple answer to the question: what is long term care? The panel presentation had members from different agencies and organizations and each panel participant was introduced as being a part of the “long term care continuum.” The continuum was described as something that seniors move along as their social, health, and medical needs change. The continuum began with healthy seniors who access services independently and from their own homes. As one moved along the continuum, their needs increased and thus their need to access services and/or have assistance in having their needs met increased.
Sandwiched in the middle of the panel was Assisted Living. Assisted Living is that interesting service that sits between keeping a senior in their own home and having to admit them to a nursing home. It was discussed that there comes a time when some seniors, who maybe thought they wanted to live out their lives in their own homes, come to desire or need to be a part of a community. Living at home can be fabulous, all members of the panel agreed, but when it gets harder to leave home and interact and be a part of society, it can get lonely and isolating, not to mention that it can get expensive to try to bring people and caregivers into one’s own home. This is when Assisted Living becomes a place that is desired and sought after.
Assisted Livings are places where the convince of community is already in place and all that is required is that one move in… Well, maybe it is not quite that simple; usually there is a transition period and an integration into the community that has to happen. However, once that has happened, the assisted living is where one can belong and be a part of, without even having to leave home…
Thus our motto at Sunshine Gardens Senior Community… “where home and happiness come together.” We’re the “meat in the middle,” in a way, of the sandwich that’s called long term care… so what is long term care? I guess in my mind, it is a sandwich. Enjoy.
Trends in Assisted Living
Hospital curtains and cafeteria food? Not anymore.
Assisted living facilities have come a long way from the clinical institutions of old, offering residents an ever-expanding menu of amenities that reflect the diversity of baby boomers themselves.
“The population is aging, and more consumers can demand more choices,” says Andrew Carle, founding director of the Senior Housing Administration program at George Mason University, which teaches students to manage senior living properties.
The senior housing industry is reinventing itself to meet the needs of the elderly with eco-friendly retirement communities, centers that emphasize lifelong learning, villages that enable retirees to age at home and more.
Take niche housing.
These days, a number of properties cater to a select subset of residents, much like boutique hotels.
“We’ve reached the stage of evolution where rather than all these assisted living facilities looking alike, recognizing that there’s a very large population of seniors out there so we can divide into specialty housing,” says Carle.
For example, Aegis Gardens in Fremont, Calif., is tailored toward the needs of Asian seniors. The staff members speak English and Chinese, and the architecture is based on the design principals of feng shui. Cultural activities include tai chi and calligraphy.
There are also roughly a dozen assisted living facilities targeted to the gay and lesbian population, a facility for nudists in Florida, and an adult day care community in Livingston, Texas, called Escapees Care Center, dedicated to retirees who live in recreational vehicles, or RVs, and aren’t inclined to give up that lifestyle.
“The parking spots are wheelchair accessible, and nurse aids visit the RVs throughout the day to serve meals and help residents get dressed or take medication,” says Carle.
A growing number of retirement communities across the country are also giving seniors the opportunity to return to campus — and flex their intellectual muscles.
University-linked retirement communities offer lifelong learning programs to residents through local colleges or universities.
Such communities are developed close to campuses, such as Lasell Village in Newton, Mass., where residents must commit to spending 450 hours a year taking college classes and engaging in fitness programs at a small liberal arts school nearby.
Likewise, Kendal at Hanover, a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community in Hanover, N.H., has ties with Dartmouth College’s Institute for Lifelong Education, an adult education program.
Residents include a number of retired Dartmouth alumni and professors, who prefer academic stimulation to water aerobics.
Eco-friendly Senior Complexes
Given the growing consumer interest in eco-friendly lifestyles, it’s not surprising that many senior living centers are going green.
Beyond recycling, such communities are replacing incandescent light bulbs with fluorescents, using cleaning products that exclude toxins, serving locally grown produce and replacing old appliances with more energy-efficient models to reduce their carbon emissions.
Some newer properties also offer eco-friendly construction in which materials are produced locally or recycled.
When shopping for a planet-friendly assisted living facility, however, it’s buyer beware, says Suzanne Modigliani, a geriatric care manager in Boston.
In a practice known as “greenwashing,” some businesses falsely claim to be eco-friendly for marketing appeal.
Ask point blank what they’re doing for the greater good of the environment.
Do they use native landscaping to reduce water waste, for example? Do their appliances meet the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star standards? Do they adhere to high indoor air quality standards?
You can also ask if common areas, including dining and recreation areas, are certified as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED.
Pathway Senior Living in Des Plaines, Ill., for example, which owns and operates more than a dozen senior living facilities, recently obtained LEED certification for its Victory Centre of South Chicago community, but all of its properties emphasize eco-friendly features.
Despite the growing specialization of assisted living facilities, the vast majority of seniors would prefer to age in place, notes Nancy Thompson, AARP spokeswoman.
As their functional level declines, however, assisted living centers had been the only option they could afford, she says. Until recently.
A new grassroots model of assisted living, called Villages, is helping seniors remain in their own homes as they age, while still offering the support services they need, including personal care, help with yardwork, trips to the grocery store and social outlets.
Such villages, which are typically run by neighborhood volunteers, are funded by annual membership dues and are open to seniors within a specific community.
Dues range from $50 to $1,500 a year, but the average is $430, says Candace Baldwin, director of strategy for aging in community with the Village to Village Network in Arlington, Va.
To date, there are about 90 such villages across the country, including Beacon Hill Village in Boston, and 130 more under development.
Boomers Reinventing Assisted Living
Senior housing options are no longer one-size-fits-all.
Retirees who require help with daily activities can choose from a variety of settings that reflect their lifestyle choices and meet their physical needs. It’s likely the menu of options will continue to grow.
“Fifty years ago, people didn’t live as long and their families took care of them,” says Carle. “Now, seniors are living longer and looking for different housing options.”
Baby boomers have “exploded the portfolio of products at every stage of their lives,” says Carle, noting there was only one flavor of Coke when they were born.
As boomers reach retirement age, senior housing options are proving no different.
Article thanks to:
Shelly K. Schwartz
Published September 19, 2012
Bankrate.com & FoxBuisness.com
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When people hear the words long term care, often a feeling of discomfort arises.Â What does long term care mean in Durango, Colorado?Â How can I afford it?Â These are just a couple of the questions people have when considering their long term care options.
It is no surprise that most people want to stay in their home for as long as possible.Â Our homes are where we are most comfortable.Â Many seniors have lived in there for decades and that is where they would like to stay.Â However, as people age, their homes often times are not a safe option of living.Â They may be too large to manage.Â Also, stairs become a challenge, as well as, a safety hazard.Â Also if a person requires more care, it may be too costly to have in-home care.
When staying at home is no longer a safe option, assisted living or nursing care come into play.Â While nursing homes are necessary for some people, there are now many levels of care that allows a broader scope of options for our aging loved ones. read more…
re: the Wall Street Journal release dated: February 23, 2011
respecting their editor… Sue Shellenbarger at firstname.lastname@example.org
When the time came for Kathy Peel’s mother and father to consider moving into an assisted-living facility, Ms. Peel tried reasoning with them, citing examples of friends who were happy they had made the move.
Morris and Kathryn Weeks helped write a ‘strategic plan’ before deciding to move to a senior-living community in Memphis.
When that didn’t work, she took a business approach. Ms. Peel and her husband Bill convened a conference at her parents’ kitchen table in Memphis and helped them write a three-page “strategic plan.” Her parents, Morris and Kathryn Weeks â€”both retired businesspeople in their late 80sâ€”joined in, talking about their goals and helping list dozens of pros and cons to staying in their home.
Among the pros the family agreed on were the Weeks’ “positive attitude” and desire to share care for each other. But the cons loomed large, including the fact that no family members lived nearby to provide emergency care in a crisis. read more…
Assisted living is not an end-all decision that is forced upon people in every single situation. In many cases, it is actually a choice that is embraced because it offers so many different advantages and benefits to living alone in the later years of life. Too often, children feel like they are forcing their parents into a situation where they don’t want to be if they bring up the topic of assisted living facilities. The reality is that many older adults actually have a desire to become part of these communities because it gives them a better way to enjoy their later years.
When it comes to choosing the right path, you have to think about a few things. Here are some considerations to help you determine whether this is an option and if it is the right one for your loved one:
Many people have a negative perception of nursing homes.Â They envision an institution where the residents are drugged-up and drooling.Â Such facilities are a thing of the past.Â Increasing state regulation and demand for quality care has shifted the industry to make it more inviting and tailored to meet the needs of the patient/resident.Â read more…
â€¦ partÂ 3 of this 4-part series -
Research what types of facilities are offered in your area.Â Some may be smaller group homes, while others have a resort feel to them.Â Find out what services are offered and what Nursing home levels of care are available.
For example, Sunshine Gardens Senior Community offers independent and assisted living.Â If residents need additional services, the sister facility called the Country Home, offers more care.Â Many independent and assisted living facilities provide 24 hour oversight, offer meals, activities, and services.
However, make sure they include nursing care.Â Home health agencies may be used to again fill the gaps by providing some nursing care and physical therapy. read more…
â€¦ part 1 of this 4-part series -
Watching your senior loved-ones age is never easy. They may struggle to get around, forget names, skip meals, and even forego personal hygiene. What do you do? What is the best choice for mom or dad? There are nursing homes, assisted living, independent living, long term elderly care, and home health care options. These choices may seem overwhelming and endless. In fact, there are hundreds of Colorado nursing homes and assisted living facilities in your own backyard.
Step back and evaluate the situation. What are the risk factors facing your senior loved ones? Many include: falling, mismanaging medications and nutritional deficiencies.Â Seniors are at risk… and if ignored, will end up in a dangerous situation or even in a long term senior citizen assisted living facility or a nursing home before their time. read more…