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Navigating Senior Care Options: Assisted Living, Nursing Homes& More

Navigating Senior Care Options: Assisted Living, Nursing Homes& More

There have never been more lifestyle choices for those reaching retirement age than there are now. Senior living communities have more to offer than ever before. Finding the right community means finding the amenities you want and the senior care options you might need later. There’s not just a choice of nursing homes vs assisted living. Being informed of all of the options available to you will help you preserve your quality of life at any age. 

Many senior communities offer different levels of lifestyle and care needs. It’s not just a choice of nursing home vs. assisted living. Here at BridgeWater Assisted Living, we like to help you understand the differences between your community options so you can choose the lifestyle that best suits your needs.  

Independent Living

The first option is Independent Living. Independent living communities are often called retirement communities or “55 and up communities,” meaning residents must be over 55 to qualify. 

Different independent living housing types are available, such as homes, townhomes, condominiums, and apartments. Some of these communities are strictly age-qualifying and may not offer additional senior care options. Amenities can include in-house gyms, spas, golf courses, tennis courts, and a wide range of entertainment and social activities. The monthly fees might include community dining, maintenance, and even housekeeping services.

Independent living communities may also offer other care options on-site, and many of our communities at BridgeWater Assisted Living offer assisted living, memory care, and independent living. Skilled nursing, also known as nursing homes, might also be attached to senior living communities. Finding the right independent living community for you can be a great way to live a vibrant and healthy lifestyle for a long time. 

Assisted Living

Assisted living is senior living but with a bit of help available to residents to help keep their independence. Sometimes, our residents have specific needs related to their activities of daily living (ADLs). The need for assistance is the most significant difference when considering nursing homes vs assisted living. Assisted living can be a fantastic choice for those who need assistance with medication management or bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, transferring from the bed to standing, dining, or housekeeping.

Assisted living homes can be condos or apartments with all of the things you would find at home. People in assisted living can still cook and do all of the activities they want to do. Typical assisted living communities have some medical care on-site. Amenities like gyms, fitness classes, on-site beauty parlors, housekeeping, community meals, social and other recreational activities are often included. Transportation, group outings, and even non-denominational services can be offered. Assisted living can be a great option to keep your independence and let someone else do the hard work. 

Memory Care

Memory care is a specialized form of senior living for those experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Residents can enjoy all of the recreational and social activities appropriate for their condition. Because of the specialized needs of those in memory care, memory care offers a little more security and safety precautions than a typical assisted living community. 

Memory care is also specialized for the type of care that is given. Unique schedules and safety precautions are made to keep residents safe, and those experiencing Alzheimer’s and dementia have specific conditions that trained staff can help alleviate further aggravation. 

Special offerings like art and music therapy are helpful for those experiencing Alzheimer’s or dementia and are often provided in memory care communities. The homes are also specially designed and decorated to help create a safe and calming environment. 

Senior Group Homes

Senior Group Homes are an alternative to assisted living. Some can be specialized as memory care homes. A home is converted into a safe environment and group living for seniors needing more assistance with daily living activities. These are often smaller and have multiple residents sharing a bedroom, so the advantages can be found in the cost and higher staff-to-resident ratio

While these homes can be a great alternative to assisted living or memory care, they often don’t offer the extra amenities of a larger assisted living community. You have less of a choice of who you can share a bedroom with, and they often lack the privacy that a larger community would offer. They can also be more difficult to find as they are less prevalent in certain areas. 

Nursing Homes 

Skilled nursing or nursing homes are necessary for those with certain conditions. If someone needs 24-hour medical supervision, assistance with daily living activities, rehabilitation services, or it is unsafe to live independently in an assisted living or group home, a nursing home may be necessary. If someone cannot move or uses an assistance aid to move, they may need the assistance that a nursing home provides. Feeding assistance and even ambulatory services are available. 

There is a high amount of care and assistance given at a nursing home. People who live here are unable to live independently. While that might be temporary, for instance, rehabilitation after a stroke, it might be more of a permanent need for those in the late stages of a chronic disease. 

Nursing homes often offer recreational and social activities plus entertainment for their residents. These activities vary, and residents are encouraged to participate in what is appropriate for them. For residents unable to leave their beds, there are often several therapeutic offerings, like pet therapy

While this type of care is needed and however long it may be needed, nursing homes will provide protection and care for the most vulnerable residents. 

Whether you are looking for an immediate need or you are researching future options, please give us a call. Seeing first-hand what BridgeWater Assisted Living communities are like is the best way to experience what we mean by “living well.” 

Schedule a visit and come see what we have to offer. You’ll be glad you did!