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Healthcare in Senior Living Centers

Apr 08, 2010

When it comes to choosing affordable senior living, the task can be overwhelming. Depending upon either your needs or those of your loved one, there are several options for varying levels of care. From complete, 24-hour services, to as-needed care, the choices include:

  • Active adult communities – usually spacious homes or apartments with a club house, planned activities, and maintenance and cleaning services
  • Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) – offers a contract for long-term care and provides all services needed
  • Assisted living – provides care for all needs from medications and healthcare to bathing and dressing
  • Congregate care – usually in single-family homes with nurses and other licensed caregivers available to assist with healthcare needs
  • Home care – in-home healthcare and other services provided by nurses or other licensed caregivers
  • Hospice – facility providing full healthcare services as well as pain management and emotional or spiritual counseling
  • Alzheimer’s care – assisted living programs designed for the specific needs of seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease

When looking for retirement living you should consider...

Most people are in need of assistance that is both excellent and affordable. Senior living can get expensive and the cost of different types of care varies. Congregate care and active adult communities are best for those who are mostly independent. These communities are at the lower end of the price range due to the fact that health care and services are at a minimum. Assisted living facilities are more expensive and their costs can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars per month.While cost may be an issue, having good healthcare is crucial in later life and skimping can backfire.

Social health

Recreation is also an important aspect of elderly care. When seniors remain in their own homes, social networks often diminish in size, leaving them feeling isolated and alone. Residential communities should provide a large social network, which is linked to overall well being and good health. This means having plenty of activities, groups, and events for seniors to get together with each other and socialize. These activities are also important for keeping up good mental health and for keeping the brain sharp as the body ages.

Other health-related services

  • Reminders to take medication
  • On-site physicians or registered nurses, or potentially both
  • Vision and hearing testing
  • Diabetic testing and insulin shots
  • Nutrition and exercise programs
  • Health education, highlighting issues of most importance to seniors
  • Administration of medication
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Counseling
  • Disabled access
  • Coordination of health services
  • Care for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia
  • Flu shots
  • Ambulance nearby or on-site for emergencies

Specialized centers

For seniors with more specific health concerns, senior living centers can be found that cater to certain diseases and conditions. Elderly suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, or other mental and physical ailments need different services from healthy aging adults. Especially with mental illnesses, it is crucial to have staff specifically trained to care for these patients and services to assist and treat them. Similarly, physical diseases, such as Parkinson’s, emphysema or cancer require specialized treatment and monitoring of symptoms.

With all of the choices available for elderly care and the high costs associated with it, making the right decision is essential. Seniors will have the best quality of life when all the appropriate health care needs are met by trained and courteous assisted living staff members.

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