The good news for today's consumer is many long-term-care options are available. From an independent living environment, to the home-like feeling of personal care homes and assisted living, to the medically focused nursing home, residents are not short on choices. What's more, each has its own set of characteristics to appeal to a diverse, growing population.
It is estimated that nine million men and women over the age 65 will need long-term care, reports the Health Insurance Association of America. Just 15 years later that number is expected to jump to 12 million. Consumers should evaluate all of their choices to find the appropriate setting for their current needs. Options include:
Assisted Living Residences and Personal Care Homes
Assisted living and personal care homes represent a special combination of housing, personalized supportive services, and health care designed to meet the needs, both scheduled and unscheduled, of those who require help with activities of daily living.
Home and Community Care
Home and community services encompass home health care aides, Meals on Wheels programs, visits from church members, help with shopping, and adult day care. For short-term stays, nursing homes often offer respite care where individuals are admitted for a brief period of time to relieve home caregivers.
Subsidized Senior Housing
Some federal and state programs subsidize housing for low to moderate income seniors. These facilities may provide assistance with tasks such as shopping and laundry. However, residents generally live independently in an apartment within the senior housing complex.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)
Housing communities that provide varying levels of care based on resident needs, CCRCs include independent living, assisted living, personal care homes and skilled nursing apartments. Residents move from one setting to another based on their needs, but continue to remain a part of the overall community.
A nursing home provides room, meals, recreational activities, help with daily living, and protective supervision to residents, and is based on a medical model. Usually nursing home residents have physical or mental impairments that keep them from living independently. Acuity of residents is typically higher than in other long-term care settings.