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Senior Living Options

What Kind of Senior Living is Right for You?

When you begin to look for senior living, you'll soon discover that there are all sorts of options to choose from. These options can be confusing and overwhelming, so here they are in plain and simple terms!

Independent Living (IL) communities are geared for seniors who do not need any assistance in their daily living. Cottages and/or apartments will be available for rental. Activities that are offered will vary between communities, communities may offer a great deal, while others will offer some activities and others will offer no activities. As far as meals are concerned, some communities will offer a meal(s) while others will not. The amenities offered by the community will impact the price.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) offer long-term contracts that guarantee lifelong shelter and access to specified health services. A staff of medical professionals provides different levels of care, from Independent Living to Assisted Living to Skilled Nursing care. A lump-sum entrance fee is usually paid upon admission and Residents move in while they’re independent and age in place. These communities offer many activities and amenities for the residents. The CCRC contract covers shelter, residential services (meals, activities, amenities) in addition to long-term nursing care without an increase in monthly payments.

Personal Care (PC) communities provide assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL) such as eating, toileting, transferring (walking), meals, bathing and continence. These communities usually provide an array of supervised activities for the resident. Unlike a CCRC, a large, up-front fee is not required. Monthly rental costs are based upon the size of the resident’s accommodation and the level of care that is needed for the resident. Prior to admission, communities will perform an “assessment” of the potential resident to determine the level of care that is required. If the potential resident needs assistance with more ADL’s, their cost will be higher and vice versa.

Assisted Living (AL) communities are similar to Personal Care communities in providing residents with assistance with Activities of Daily Living. In Pennsylvania, there are a few differences between Assisted Living and Personal Care Communities. An Assisted Living Residence room is akin to a studio apartment in that the resident will have a private living space with their own kitchen and bathroom. Assisted Living Residences offer services so that a resident may advance to a nursing home level of care should that become necessary. In Personal Care, if a person’s health needs become too great, they may be transferred to a skilled nursing facility, since a Personal Care Home is prohibited from providing acute medical care.

Memory Care (MC) communities are designed specifically for people with moderate to severe dementia. They offer all the amenities of Assisted Living and Personal Care communities along with a secured living environment, which prohibits residents from wandering away. Oftentimes, an Assisted Living or Personal Care community will have a Memory Care community on site. There are also communities devoted specifically to Memory Care.

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