8 Senior Care Options: Which is Right for You?

By Betsy Gold, Co-Founder, LeanOnWe

Maybe you’ve noticed that mom or dad is “starting to slip.” Or maybe they’ve had a health scare: a fall that didn’t break a hip, or flu that didn’t become pneumonia. Take a moment to breathe a sigh of relief. Then get ready to start planning for the future.

Understanding all of your care options, not to mention legal and financial considerations, can be confusing and time-consuming. But if you tackle these issues in advance – when you’re thinking clearly and can get all your questions answered – you’ll be ready for whatever medical challenges arise as your parent ages.
To help you prepare, this blog provides an overview of the most common healthcare options for seniors.

Aging in Place

Today there are many ways to help your parent continue living at home safely and happily for as long as possible.

Family caregivers are often the first to step in when an aging parent needs help with routine activities like meal preparation, grocery shopping, and home maintenance. Depending on your parent’s health and your availability, this arrangement may work well for a period of time.

It may require some home modification to make the space more functional, accessible and safe. Examples include grab bars, removing rugs, widening aisles, a stair lift and ramps.
As the needs increase, in-home caregivers can provide additional help with daily needs related to diet, exercise, hygiene, mobility, and more. A caregiver can also do light housekeeping, schedule appointments, and provide transportation and companionship when family is unavailable.

Aging in place is often best for self-sufficient seniors, but those who need assistance can obtain care through visits from family caregivers like you or private caregivers from LeanOnWe.

Adult Daycare Centers

Adult daycare centers provide seniors with a secure and inviting environment to participate in a wide range of engaging activities and foster meaningful social connections with their peers. These centers, available for a few hours or a full day, are privately owned as well as operated by municipalities, YMCA's, Jewish Community Centers, and churches. What's more, some adult day care centers go the extra mile by offering specialized care tailored to individuals with specific medical needs or Alzheimer's disease, ensuring that each person receives the attention and support they require to thrive and enjoy their time at the center to the fullest.

Adult daycare programs offer caregivers a much-needed respite while affording older individuals the opportunity to engage socially with their peers, alleviating the isolation and loneliness that often plague them.

While traditional senior centers cater to active older individuals seeking exercise and classes, adult daycare centers are designed for those with physical or cognitive disabilities. They provide specialized services and supervision, with over half of attendees experiencing cognitive impairment according to NADSA.

Residential Care

If your parent’s medical needs can no longer be met at home, you have several options:

  • Independent living
  • Assisted living
  • Nursing home/Skilled nursing facility
  • Memory care
  • Continuing care retirement community
Independent Living

Senior living communities often offer a wide range of amenities and services, including dining options, social and recreational activities, security measures, and fitness centers. These offerings aim to enhance the lives of seniors and alleviate some of the responsibilities that would otherwise fall on their families.
These residences are designed for independent seniors who do not need assistance with daily tasks or medical care. However, they seek additional amenities and services beyond what active communities offer. Further assistance is usually provided at greater cost.

Assisted Living

Assisted living communities provide custodial care, as well as access to health and medical services such as physical therapy and hospice. But they also emphasize social and wellness programs, and typically include libraries, game rooms, or other community spaces.

Residents live in private rooms or apartments but assisted living is more hands-on than independent living and is geared toward those who are starting to need help with daily tasks but don’t have major medical needs. Assisted living facilities provide meals and usually offer recreational activities and exercise, transportation to medical appointments and on-site amenities like beauty salons or movie theaters.

Nursing Home

Nursing homes share certain similarities with other facilities, yet their distinctive characteristic lies in their unwavering commitment to delivering round-the-clock skilled nursing care. These establishments adhere to stricter regulations and boast a staff with enhanced medical expertise, which generates a more clinical ambiance.

When a senior requires assistance beyond daily tasks and faces health challenges, a nursing home is often the ideal choice as it provides continuous skilled nursing care. Some seniors may only require short-term stays in nursing homes, such as for rehabilitation following a hospital visit, while others may opt for long-term residency to receive ongoing support and round-the-clock medical attention.

Memory Care

Memory care facilities can either function independently or be part of a larger assisted living or nursing home facility. Regardless, these specialized care units cater to seniors dealing with dementia or Alzheimer's, as their needs differ from those without cognitive impairments.
These specialized facilities offer a range of features and resources to provide exceptional care for seniors diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's. Given the propensity for wandering among this population, these facilities are equipped with additional staff members who provide close supervision and enhanced security measures.

Apart from providing nursing services, this form of care offers a higher level of personalization, incorporating activities aimed at enhancing the quality of life for residents. These facilities can offer significant respite to family caregivers who face the difficulties associated with memory loss.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) provide a range of senior care options on one campus, accompanied by luxurious amenities. This seamless transition allows residents to effortlessly move from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing care, adapting to their evolving health and requirements.

Although residents may have to move within campus housing, they still remain part of the same community. This provides a valuable sense of stability and eliminates the usual inconveniences associated with relocation. Moreover, it offers an ideal solution for elderly couples who wish to stay in the same community while accommodating their individual needs.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) present a convenient hybrid choice, yet they may come with a significant price tag. These communities generally offer various contract options, with some maintaining a fixed fee regardless of the level of care required by seniors, while others entail increased costs as seniors transition to more advanced levels of care.

Which Senior care Option is Right for You?

There are many paths to consider for these unchartered waters and they are difficult to navigate on your own.

If you feel like home care is the right option for you, LeanOnWe can connect you with vetted and experienced caregivers. Call us at 844-532-6669 or schedule an appointment at a convenient time.

About The Author

Betsy is a LeanOnWe co-founder and leads the Care Advisor Team that provides day-to-day support for their clients. Before LeanOnWe, Betsy was an award-winning journalist and business editor.