Assisted Living Communities: The Core Role of Healthcare Services

Written By: Discovery Senior Living

You've noticed your father's memory isn't as good as it used to be. People's memories naturally decline, that's part of getting older. But, your dad's seems more severe -- he asks the same questions repeatedly.

He also gets lost in the grocery store, despite having shopped there for years. You've been considering assisted living, but don't know where to start.

A cousin recommended a nice nursing home in town, but is that right for your dad? Assisted living communities have healthcare services.

That said, they are not the same as nursing homes. Both places offer different levels of care and experiences for their residents.

Choosing senior care for your loved ones is never easy. We want to help, so we've assembled a guide to assisted living healthcare services.

Below, we explain the purpose of assisted living communities and discuss assisted living vs nursing homes. We'll also talk about memory care, respite care, and how they differ from assisted living.

What Is Assisted Living?

Many see assisted living communities as being shipped off from home and coddled. They feel it takes away their independence. However, assisted living encourages independence with assistance.

Assisted living is senior care designed for people needing help with daily tasks. Assisted living encourages independence, but isn't the same as independent living.

A Quick Aside: Independent Living

An independent living community is where older adults in good health live but don't want the burden of homeownership. They do not offer daily assistance or health care.

For example, say someone's mom has mobility issues. They may place her in assisted living because she'll need help bathing or getting dressed.

Here's another example: another person's aging aunt doesn't want to handle bills and housekeeping. She decides to move into an independent living community to enjoy her golden years with little issue.

There are similarities between assisted and independent living, here's what you can expect from both:

  • Housekeeping
    • Independent living centers' housekeeping may be less extensive
  • Community outings and social activities
  • Transportation
  • Inclusive meals

What Does Assisted Living Offer?

Assisted living facilities can house tens to hundreds of people -- often in their apartments. However, it's not uncommon for residents to share rooms.

As for healthcare, many assisted living centers offer fitness programs to help their residents stay in shape. We discussed that these places provide meals, but theirs are as nutritional as possible.

Their culinary staff also accommodates residents' allergies and health needs -- like low-carb meals for diabetic diners. Caretakers have medical training and are equipped to help residents in emergencies.

Assisted living communities also have medication management. Medication management is when caretakers help residents take their medicines while reducing related risks.

Respite Care: What Is It?

Some assisted living centers also offer respite care or temporary relief for primary caretakers. If you're looking after a sick or disabled, older family member and need a break, it's something to look into.

You don't have to rely on an assisted living community for respite care. It can take place at home and in residential nursing homes. You can use respite care a few days a week or for an extended break.

Both caregivers and the one being cared for can become overwhelmed with each other and the situation. Respite care can give you a break and allow you to recharge.

Assisted Living vs. Memory Care

So assisted living communities are where older adults go to live when they need help with daily tasks. But we started this conversation talking about a loved one with memory issues. Is assisted living for them?

Technically, your father can find help in an assisted living community. However, assisted living and memory care aren't the same thing. It's a highly specified form of care for people with memory issues.

Think of it this way: your loved ones can have memory care at their assisted living centers, but memory care is not assisted living. Memory care is senior care for people with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

The goal of memory care is to keep patients cognitively and physically engaged. There are often activities like gardening or going for walks.

Caretakers also lead patients through various cognitive games and therapies. People in memory care often need round-the-clock care. You can find assisted living communities that have memory care programs.

Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes

People often use "assisted living" and "nursing home" interchangeably. However, they differ a lot. Nursing homes focus more on providing higher-level medical and personal care to elders.

Assisted living is usually community-driven, with activities and a layout to accommodate this. Nursing homes are laid out to ensure rapid response times and feel more "hospital-like."

Assisted living care allows residents to move more independently and leave the community if they want. Nursing home patients often can't leave the facility. They're also likelier to have roommates in nursing homes.

Assisted living is often cheaper than using a nursing home too. This makes sense as nursing homes offer greater medical care. There are similarities between the two, though.

Both assisted living and nursing homes offer medication management. The difference lies in the extent. Assisted living communities may not handle IV medications, whereas nursing homes are more equipped to do so.

Assisted living centers and nursing homes both have enrichment activities. There are art classes, gardening, and college-style courses at both locations. Both senior care centers offer supportive services like:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Transportation
  • Concierge services

Understanding Assisted Living Communities Healthcare Services

Is assisted living care right for your dad? Assisted living communities have many healthcare services, so the answer depends on where you choose. Some places have memory care, others don't.

Addington Place of Shoal Creek, KS, can accommodate your loved ones with dementia or other memory-related issues. Our caregivers can create an individual plan to help with cognition.

We also offer respite care and supportive services like housekeeping, bathing, and dressing. Veterans can apply for half off their first month's rent.

Addington Place prides itself on creating a welcoming and helpful community atmosphere. Fill out the online form to get started.

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