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What’s the Difference Between Assisted Living and Other Types of Senior Care?

happy healthcare worker and senior woman walking together

If you are just starting to explore senior care for yourself or a loved one, know that it’s common to feel a bit overwhelmed and uncertain. Today’s older adults have more levels of care to choose from than ever before. While that variety helps ensure families can find a level of care that meets their needs, there is a lot to learn about each type. Navigating the maze of options, from independent and assisted living to memory care and skilled nursing, takes time and patience.

In a Life Plan Community like Freedom Village of Bradenton, you’ll find what is referred to as a continuum of care. It’s an option that accommodates a senior’s current needs while also planning for their future. Because multiple types of care are found on the same campus, residents can seamlessly transition from one type to another if their health changes.

Before you begin making calls and scheduling in-person visits to communities, it might be helpful to learn more about independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing; and short-term rehabilitation. And to compare assisted living, one of the most popular types of senior living, with other options.

What Is Assisted Living?

An assisted living community is a senior living option many consider an ideal combination of support and independence. Each resident has their own private apartment or suite to call home. Most communities offer several floor plans with a range of sizes and styles. Some even have their own kitchen or kitchenette.

This allows residents to maintain a sense of independence and to feel they are still in charge of their own life. They do so, however, knowing the support of caregivers is nearby 24/7. The caregiving staff can assist with everything from taking a shower to helping with medication.

Residents of an assisted living community generally require help with two or three activities of daily living (ADLs), as well as medication management support. Examples of core ADLs include personal care tasks (e.g., bathing, grooming, dressing), transferring, toileting, and continence care.

Other services and amenities usually found at an assisted living community are:

  • Healthy, chef-inspired meals and snacks
  • Transportation program for outings and appointments
  • Personal laundry, linen changes, and housekeeping
  • Wellness programs, daily activities, and community events
  • Utilities, internet access, and cable
  • On-site security and emergency call systems

For many older adults, the most popular part of community living is the life enrichment activities. These can vary from one community to another but often include billiards contests, yoga classes, book clubs, art workshops, card groups, happy hours, movie nights, shopping trips, and cultural outings. Opportunities to participate in volunteer projects are also common.

What’s the Difference Between Assisted Living and Other Types of Senior Care?

The best way to understand how assisted living differs from other senior care options is to learn a little more about each one:

  • Independent living: Older adults who are looking for maintenance-free living are often attracted to independent living communities. Instead of spending your days mowing the yard, making home repairs, or cleaning the gutters, you’ll have time to socialize, travel, and enjoy life. It’s a lifestyle that promotes choice, flexibility, and freedom. Independent living residents are generally more active and able to care for their personal hygiene needs than those in assisted living.
  • Skilled nursing: While residents in an assisted living community typically require help with ADLs, seniors in a life plan community’s skilled nursing center tend to have more complex medical needs. Licensed nurses are on-site around-the-clock to assist residents. Many also have nurse practitioners and physicians who oversee care. These residents still enjoy the same amenities as an assisted living community’s, such as nutritious meals, life enrichment programming, and support with personal care.
  • Memory care: When a senior loved one has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, family caregivers face unique challenges. Safety is a leading concern. Because judgment can become impaired, an older adult with dementia might not be safe alone. They may also experience episodes of wandering from home, agitation, and increased anxiety. Even figuring out what meals to cook can be tough. In a memory care program, you’ll find a secure environment designed to be peaceful and comforting. Activities are developed to work around disease-related losses, enabling the resident to feel successful and productive. Every aspect of these specialty programs is focused on protecting dignity.
  • Rehabilitation: This type of care is short term and typically follows a hospital stay. If an older adult has had a serious illness or injury or a planned surgery, they may transition from the hospital to a rehabilitation center to continue their recovery. In addition to nursing staff, you will usually find physical, occupational, and speech therapists. The goal is to help the senior recuperate and return to whatever setting they call home, whether it is a private residence or an apartment in an independent or assisted living community.

Health Services at Freedom Village of Bradenton

If your search for care includes the Gulf Coast of Florida, we invite you to consider Freedom Village of Bradenton, a recipient of the Joint Commission’s national Quality Seal of Approval. This life plan community offers a full continuum of care from independent living through all levels of health services. That means as your needs or those of a senior loved one change, you can smoothly transition from one type of care to another.

Contact us today with questions or to schedule a time for your personal visit!