The population of the United States is aging. According to the latest US census, there are more than 47 million adults age 65 and older. By the year 2050, the number of senior adults is expected to reach nearly 90 million. Between 2020 and 2030, the last of the baby boomers will reach age 65, giving the senior population a boost of almost 18 million people. Taking all these numbers into account, by the year 2030, one in five Americans will be age 65 or older.
As the population continues to age and shift, the needs of population continue to change. One of the most prominent and growing needs is that of health care and housing for seniors. Fortunately, there are many housing options today and the variety of needs met by these communities is greater than ever. To understand how to find the right housing options, it is important to know what the options are, what needs are met by each type of community and how to find the right fit for your family.
Senior Housing Options
If there are growing concerns about a senior family member or loved one living safely on their own, it is likely time to explore options for senior living communities. There are five basic types of senior living, which is a surprise to many families as they begin exploring their choices. Researching each type of community can be overwhelming and it can be hard to know where to start. However, understanding each of these senior living options will help in decision-making and can remove stressors later in the process. Here is an overview of the five basic types of senior living communities:
Independent living communities are often called retirement communities and typically serve people age 55 and older. This type of community offers living accommodations, senior-friendly activities, social opportunities, transportation options and a feeling of community. Generally, care services and assistance with personal tasks are not offered as most residents are capable of handling all activities of daily living independently. This type of senior living community is best suited for seniors who are active, but looking to downsize after retirement and who no longer want the work and have the responsibility of caring for their own home.
Assisted living is a long-term care solution for adults who are no longer health or safe living on their own. Assisted living communities, like Anthology of Plano, provide around-the-clock care services and have on-site trained care managers. This care staff is available to help residents with tasks, such as dressing, personal hygiene, grooming, bathing, eating, toileting and transferring. Although residents enjoy their own private apartments, they are encouraged to engage with neighbors and staff members during social times, activities and at meal times. At Anthology of Plano, each resident receives a personalized care plan that addresses health concerns, nutrition planning and provides suggestions for daily activities and enrichment programs suited to the likes and hobbies of the resident.
Memory care is a specialized care option for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other forms of progressive cognitive impairment. Memory care communities are staffed with trained caregivers who understand the unique needs of residents with memory loss. The community is equipped to provide care for patients at each stage of memory loss and as the disease progresses. In most memory care communities, like Anthology of Wildwood, apartments have modifications to keep the residents safe, such as reducing tripping hazards, specialized outdoor spaces and real-time location systems to accommodate the evolving cognitive and physical capabilities of residents. Additionally, meals and daily activities cater to the unique needs of seniors with memory loss. Patients are kept safe by secured exterior doors, motion sensors and emergency call buttons. The goal of any memory care community is to prioritize safety, while meeting the social and physical needs of the residents. At Anthology of Wildwood, Virtue Memory Care Neighborhoods feature nostalgic images to evoke feelings of home and artwork that showcases local landmarks. Hanging memory boxes outside each resident’s door are also full of family mementos.
Some assisted living communities offer short term care as an option for a senior loved one. This allows seniors to stay at the community for a short period of time when safe care is not available at home; this option is called respite care. In respite care, your parent or loved one will be part of the community and able to take part in activities and engage with residents. They will eat with other residents for three meals per day, as well as enjoying snacks throughout the day. Respite care is also an excellent option for a parent or a loved one who wants to try living in an assisted living community or to ease their transition into being a full-time resident.
Skilled Nursing Care
A skilled nursing facility offers the highest level of medical care outside of a hospital. Most seniors who come to skilled nursing facilities, come for short stays of three months or less. This is an excellent choice for seniors who are recovering after a stroke or a surgery, who require daily therapy services, who have a complex medical condition or who are overcoming a long-term illness or serious injury. In a skilled nursing facility, patient care is supervised by a licensed physician and medical professionals are always on the grounds.
Finding the Right Fit
Once you understand the role of each type of senior living community, the next step is to decide which exact community is the right fit for your loved one’s needs. As you explore the communities within the category best suited for your family, there are basic questions to ask to narrow down the search. These questions include:
What daily activities are available?
What are the accommodations like?
What do the current residents have to say about their care?
How does the community keep residents safe?
Is transportation available?
What are the food options?
How does the community and the care team communicate with families?
What continuum of care is available?
Each of these questions will give your family insights into the care, culture and community of the organization you are considering. It can also be helpful to take a tour of the community. Communities, like Anthology of Clayton View, offer private tours for family members and potential residents.
Making the Right Choice for You
Anthology Senior Living is committed to providing a unique senior living experience with the highest quality of care. Anthology offers independent living, assisted living and memory care at various communities, all with the needs of the resident at the heart of our culture and our values.