Anyone searching for senior care options has probably come across the term “continuum of care” - but what does it really mean, and why is it important? A community with a continuum of care is one that offers senior care services from independent living up the scale to assisted living, memory care, and in some cases, skilled nursing and hospice. These communities provide significant benefits to their residents in terms of quality of life and care. Here are a few:
1. Peace of Mind
The unknown can be frightening, especially when health and wellness situations can change by the minute for seniors. The primary benefit of communities that offer a continuum of care is the breadth and depth of senior care services offered. From independent living, where seniors may only need help with arduous tasks, to memory care, many assisted living communities are recognizing the need for a place where retirees can establish themselves while they pursue the retirement they want.
This peace of mind not only benefits residents of assisted living communities, but also their friends and loved ones. When retirees choose to age in their family homes, it can be frightening to know that there are periods of time during which they may not be able to get the help they need, and 24-hour in-home care options can be cost-prohibitive for many families. With assisted living, staff members are available to respond to your loved one’s needs whenever they may arise.
2. Stronger Communities
Social isolation is a problem for our elderly population. As people retire, they lose their everyday contact with others in the workplace, and aging can lead to limited mobility that makes it harder to attend other social functions such as church or hobby groups.
Assisted living communities that provide a continuum of senior care services can facilitate stronger relationships between residents and with staff because seniors don’t have to move around to receive appropriate care. With plenty of common areas, shared dining options, and stimulating activities to get residents out and about, it’s much easier to stay connected and avoid the dangers of isolation.
3. Increased Flexibility
Senior care services aren’t one-size-fits-all. Two people utilizing assisted living services likely won’t need the same level of assistance for every task, and only providing one level of care is unnecessarily restricting for seniors who may be able to complete many activities of daily living (ADLs) on their own. If a resident enjoys cooking and only wants one meal provided a day, one blanket care plan that includes all meals isn’t the right choice for them.
With a continuum of care, assisted living staff are much better equipped to offer tailored solutions to their residents’ problems. Residents can then get the input of their families, loved ones, and care professionals to determine what best suits their changing needs, and care can continuously be reevaluated as conditions change.
4. Early Detection of Problems
Prevention may be the best medicine, but it can’t catch everything. People in our society are living longer than ever before, and with aging comes unexpected health issues that even the best planning may not be able to account for.
In the cases where preventative care can’t eliminate an issue, early detection is the key to effective treatment. But identifying a health problem early is easier said than done, as small signs can go unseen to the untrained eye. In an assisted living setting, trained on-site staff members can spot early indicators much faster than an in-home caregiver. For example, if a resident usually keeps a clean house but care staff find a mess, that could be an indication of a developing health issue that can then be addressed.
5. More Stability
Does anyone really like moving? Sure, the prospect of a new place can be exciting, but with all the packing, downsizing, and logistics that go into actually making a move, the entire process is long and exhausting. So why do it more than you have to? Assisted living communities that offer a continuum of care make it much easier for residents to receive the care they need without having to move several times over the course of their retirement: think family home, downsized home, assisted living, then skilled nursing.
That’s not to say some decluttering isn’t good. We accumulate a lot of stuff over the course of our lives, and making one big move is a great way to prioritize what you really need. Making the move to an assisted living community that offers a continuum of care allows your loved one to sort through the memories in their home, then carry the most important ones to a new start.
Having a single community that provides safety, structure, and a sense of belonging can go a long way to happier retirement living. And for those who prefer a retirement on the move? Assisted living staff can help with maintaining the home base so your loved ones can travel worry-free.
Senior living communities that offer a continuum of care are designed to meet the constantly changing needs of their aging residents. From safety and utility to comfort and fun, choosing a continuum of care allows your loved one to experience their ideal retirement. Want to learn more about better assisted living? Download our free eBook below.