Assisted Living or Skilled Nursing Care?

Making the decision to move a loved one into a senior living community is difficult enough; deciding which type of community and what kinds of services will be required is another conundrum few families know how to face. There are a number of factors to consider, including atmosphere (which is very important, though subjective), levels and scope of care and services, and cost. Naturally, the ultimate goal is for the loved one to be happy and well cared for.

Considering Your Senior Care Options
Let’s say Mom lives alone, but needs some help taking care of herself. Not constant care, but assistance with basic tasks like bathing, getting dressed, or preparing meals. While a home health aide can take care of what Mom needs physically, she may still find herself bored or lonely, unable to get out and shop, socialize, and spend time with friends. By contrast, an assisted living community, in addition to providing help with her personal care needs, can also offer multiple options for dining, activities, trips, transportation, and a community of peers she can feel connected to.

On the other hand, seniors who need ongoing medical care may benefit from living at a skilled nursing facility, which serves chronically ill or severely debilitated people. Skilled nursing facilities provide similar services to a hospital and tend to have a more clinical atmosphere. Senior care residents enjoy entertainment programming and other nonclinical services, but their health restricts certain kinds of activities.

At the other end of the spectrum are independent living communities for active seniors who want the convenience of a community where maintenance and housekeeping are done by others. Though they may receive assistance with certain tasks, such as transportation, they are able to enjoy a lifestyle that offers as much independence as possible.

Making the Choice
The choice of which setting is best – assisted living, skilled nursing care, or independent living – is up to seniors and their families, but an assessment can help point you in the right direction. Senior care assessments are done by physicians, social workers, and professionals at the senior care community and are helpful in understanding present and potential needs.

Another option is to look for a full-service community, one that offers independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care on the same campus. This enables seniors to age in place, so if they fall ill or suffer an injury they can access the necessary services without having to leave the community. Moving can be very emotionally challenging for an elderly person whose home holds many good memories. Whether you want to have to move your loved one again if his or her health changes is an important consideration. 
The Matter of Price
Finally, cost is a concern to nearly everyone considering senior care. A typical senior living community costs about $3,000 less per month than skilled nursing care, but for seniors whose years of earning are behind them any kind of senior care can seem difficult to afford. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to access the necessary funding to make it possible. Five Star offers different strategies and will consult with you to work out the best approach for your family, based on your loved one’s needs.

What Are Your Best Options For Senior Living?
You may be ready now, or you might need a little more time to make your decision. Take this quick quiz that assesses your feelings and preferences, then call or visit the Five Star Senior Living community nearest you.

  • Do you feel insecure in your home? Is your neighborhood not as nice or friendly as it used to be
  • Does it bother you to be away from home, even for a few hours? Do you feel uncomfortable if you have to alter your routine or go someplace new?
  • Do you have good, reliable help to take care of the home or apartment maintenance that you can’t manage yourself any longer?
  • Do you worry about the expense of having to replace appliances or the air-conditioning system — or to pay special assessments to a condo or homeowner’s association?
  • Do you worry you’ll never be able to afford to make home improvements, even though doing so may make your home safer or more comfortable?
  • Do you feel physically incapable of doing everything that needs to be done to keep your home clean and uncluttered?
  • Does it feel like everyone you know is in poor health, has moved away, or has died?
  • Do you worry about falling and no one being there to help you? Do you worry about what would happen if you needed emergency medical help and were unable to call 911?
  • Do you eat fresh, nutritious food? Is it hard for you to shop for groceries and prepare your meals alone?
  • Do you feel lonely and wish you had someone to talk to regularly or a friendly face to stop by to ask if you need anything?
  • Are you isolated from social activities and opportunities to do something stimulating or challenging with people your own age?
  • Would you like to be able to have a large variety of activities under one roof and people to do them with — so you never have to be all alone?

Your answers to these questions may suggest that senior independent living or assisted living would be a good thing for you. But the next step is yours.