When Picking Retirement Centers, Look for Ones That Offer Different Levels of Care

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Many seniors need some extra help as they age, and some seniors just enjoy being around other people their own age. For people who need or want a retirement home setting, there are many options.

Many retirees can take care of themselves but want to get rid of the responsibility of a home, such as having to mow lawns and scoop snow. These seniors often also want to live near people their own age. In such cases, it makes sense to move into a retirement home or community that offers an independent living option. Such senior living facilities usually offer an apartment- or condo-like living setting where most tasks of property ownership are taken care of, but individual tasks such as cooking are the responsibility of the resident. In such settings there also usually are community amenities such as a pool, fitness center and meeting area.

For people who of an advanced age or have health problems or a disability that makes it difficult for them to live a totally independent life, assisted living is the next step up on the retirement home ladder. Assisted-living facilities have onsite staff that can help with everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and laundry. They also usually have health personnel onsite to help with taking medications and to provide monitoring if necessary. Such services can be important, because studies show that four out of every 10 people in assisted-living centers need help with three or more daily tasks, such as getting dressed or bathing.

The next rung on the ladder for retirement living is memory care. Memory care facilities provide intensive care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Such facilities are secure and tend to have highly trained staff. They operate more like an institution than a residential facility. Such facilities have grown tremendously over the past few years as more and more people are diagnosed with a cognitive condition as they age. People who have Alzheimer’s disease often live for many years, and the disease gets progressively worse. In fact, among the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. Alzheimer’s is the only one for which there is no known treatment to produce a cure or even improvement.

The good news is that many newer retirement centers combine independent and assisted living with long term care for Alzheimers patients, so you have to option to transition to more intensive levels of care as you age and your health deteriorates. Studies have shown that seniors who are able to stay in one facility as they age are happier and stay healthier than those who are required to move.