Aging gracefully looks different for everyone. In many cases, seniors transition from independent living to retirement communities. This journey offers them the opportunity to continue to live their lives as they choose, but with the additional support they require to be able to do so with dignity. Understanding the differences between these facilities–such as assisted living versus long-term care–can help ensure that you or your loved one make the right decisions to continue to thrive in day-to-day life. Read on to learn more about the benefits of assisted living and how it differentiates from long-term care.
What is Assisted Living?
Similar to how it sounds, this type of arrangement is best suited for seniors who need some assistance in their daily lives. Assisted living is truly a community where individuals can age in place while maintaining the care that they want in a space that they love. For the most part, these residents are able to live independently without a high level of care but still require support in some areas, such as dressing or bathing. Assisted living also can provide for more extensive care needs, up to and including enhanced care provision and memory care.
Personnel is made up of personal support workers (PSWs) and registered practical nurses (RPNs) and they are involved in everyday care. Healthcare needs are individualized based on care needs and individual preferences. Specialized medical care, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, registered foot care, and dental care, are made available as needed. Assisted living can also be helpful for those recovering from extended hospital stays or surgeries. Within these spaces, living areas are comfortable and inviting. Residents’ personal spaces typically resemble an apartment, complete with plenty of space for personal belongings and possibly a kitchenette or in-suite laundry (depending on the building).
Assisted living is an excellent option that can help fill in gaps otherwise present in completely independent settings. In some cases, this type of residence can help ensure that seniors remain comfortable and highly functioning as they age. With various aspects of their needs supported, they can feel confident engaging in activities and combat isolation, which can trigger a personal decline. Many individuals embrace the concept of assisted living as an opportunity to continue to thrive into their golden years.
What is Long-Term Care?
A fully hands-on approach, long-term care focuses on a full scope of daily care for residents who need support in numerous aspects of their lives. Seniors who live in these facilities are unable to live independently and are better suited to this type of residence for their safety. This lifestyle often consists of routines that help ensure no aspect of daily necessities is missed.
PSWs in Long Term Care have a dedicated directory of residents that they are responsible for. Personnel also includes plenty of RPNs to ensure all healthcare needs are continuously being met. Medical needs are incorporated into services, and specialists such as physical therapists are readily available.
Rooms are often equipped with various medical assistance options, closer resembling a hospital-like environment. These facilities are often uniquely constructed to ensure that maximum care is provided. Although necessary for some seniors, long-term care can be a less than ideal solution for those looking to retain a sense of independence. Due to the overtly organized and round-the-clock monitoring nature of these residences, you or a loved one might feel stagnant and unable to enjoy time doing the things you love.
How to Decide Which is Best for You
Undeniably, choosing to alter your or a loved one’s lifestyle to better suit their needs can be a difficult transition. Consider taking the time to reflect on the ability to do everyday tasks. Ask yourself, how many things can be completed independently? How many could benefit from extra help? Assisted living is available to help with various specifics, like the preparation of meals and cleaning, but still allows residents to live without constant supervision. Despite long-term care being focused on the full scope of care, rarely does it allow individuals the opportunity to do things alone, and implements a firm routine without much room for autonomy.
When considering assisted living versus long-term care, note that each facility encourages the uniqueness and vibrancy of every resident as best they can. Activities and amenities are accessible in both spaces, ensuring engagement and combating isolation in the process. In addition, individuals in either of these facilities may be in various states of health, and a solution for one may not be the ideal solution for another. For example, just because you or a loved one is confined to a wheelchair does not mean long-term care is your only option.
At Alavida Lifestyles, we ensure that our spaces offer the utmost attention to detail for all individuals in our communities. Our three locations are leaders in senior care and focus on independent lifestyles, assisted living, and dementia and memory care. Reach out to us to learn more about our facilities and services, as we’re happy to help.