When thinking of senior care alternatives, many people tend to bundle assisted living communities and nursing homes into the same category. While in the past, this may have been accurate, over the last several decades, the terms (and services offered at each) have grown less synonymous. Today, “nursing homes” are not the one-stop-shop senior care option they once were.
So, what are the different senior care alternatives to in-home care, and which one best fits the needs of your loved one?
Assisted Living Communities and Nursing Homes: A Comparison
Assisted living communities like Baxter Senior Living in Anchorage, Alaska, are excellent options for older adults who remain mostly independent. Seniors in assisted living communities require some assistance with activities associated with day to day living; however, they do not require extensive skilled nursing care.
Conversely, nursing homes are often better suited for seniors who require medical supervision and skilled nursing care on a 24-hour basis. The need for this level of care could be due to a physical or mental condition that leaves them unable to care for themselves to the extent necessary for their health and well-being.
What is Assisted Living?
An assisted living community is an excellent housing option for seniors who are no longer capable of living alone or in an in-home care setting; however, they want to maintain a social and active lifestyle. Many assisted living communities have exceptional satisfaction rates, some as high as 95%. That said, it is safe to assume that today’s modern assisted living community is not what your loved one has in mind when they insist, they do not want to move to “a home.”
What Do Assisted Living Communities Offer?
Assisted living communities provide many services and offerings that may not be easily accessible for seniors utilizing in-home care services. For example, restaurant-style dining, activities based on resident interest, outings, and transportation to local stores, theaters, and museums are just a few examples. Certain activities of daily living, such as medication management, bathing, and grooming, can become difficult for seniors as their physical abilities change. At a senior living community such as Baxter Senior Living, our caring and compassionate staff will assist your loved one with these activities and other necessary parts of their day, such as laundry and housekeeping.
When it comes to living arrangements, some senior living communities offer suites with mini-kitchens or larger apartments, which allow couples to remain together as they transition into an assisted living community. While these living arrangements are likely smaller than the family home and downsizing is often necessary, there is an added safety and security level for many seniors knowing they have access to help and care whenever needed.
Who May Benefit from Assisted Living in Anchorage, Alaska?
Assisted living may not be the best choice for all seniors. However, an assisted living community like Baxter Senior Living may be an excellent choice for your aging loved one if:
- Your loved one needs minor nursing assistance or medication assistance but does not require full-time (24-hour) medical supervision and care.
- They need some assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing and bathing.
- They want to remain active and social but can no longer drive or lack reliable transportation.
- Your loved one wants to continue engaging in hobbies and activities such as golf, art, or religious studies, in a community with those who share their interests.
- They are currently in good health but know they will need additional help soon, and in-home care is not an option or no longer suitable to their needs.
What is a Nursing Home?
Nursing homes often go by many names. Sometimes called convalescent homes or skilled nursing facilities, these environments are for seniors who require 24-hour medical supervision, assistance, and monitoring. Many nursing home residents struggle with severe, debilitating physical or mental health conditions, which leave them unable to live independently. For example, nursing home residents may be bedridden, wheelchair-bound, or need daily skilled nursing care. Often, these conditions and ongoing medical care needs make in-home care options unsafe or too difficult to manage.
What Do Nursing Homes Offer?
The goal of nursing home care is to ensure the safety and comfort of your senior loved one who needs care around the clock. Nursing homes offer some services which are similar to those of assisted living, including assistance with laundry, housekeeping, and activities of daily living. Also, meal options that meet each residents’ unique dietary needs and daily nutritional requirements are provided each day.
Alaskan nursing homes differ from assisted living facilities in the level of medical care provided. At a nursing home, specialized rehabilitative services such as speech, physical, respiratory, cognitive, and vocational therapies are offered. In addition to specialized therapy options, ongoing palliative and preventative, long-term care services are available. Many residents in the nursing home environment are often unable to manage medication administration on their own. Therefore, prescription medication management and administration are part of the daily care provided by nursing staff.
Who May Benefit from Nursing Home Care?
Like assisted living, the nursing home environment is not appropriate for all seniors. This is especially true if your senior loved one is still mostly independent and does not require constant medical supervision and care. Nursing homes are not commonly the “next stop” for seniors transitioning from in-home care unless there has been an injury or debilitating medical change. A nursing home may fit the needs of your senior loved one if:
- They need constant care due to injury, chronic conditions, or failing health.
- They can no longer feed themselves independently.
- Your loved one prefers amenities such as religious services, dental appointments, on-site salons, and nutritious meals that would not be available in an in-home care setting.
- They have a progressive medical condition such as Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.
For some families, the decision to transition from in-home care to a setting where care is provided by nursing staff can be emotionally challenging. Deciding on “when” and “where” seem like a daunting process. In some cases, however, your loved ones’ medical condition or desires might help make the “where” easier to establish. There are distinct differences between the services and level of care provided in nursing homes and assisted living communities like Baxter Senior Living in Anchorage. When talking with your senior loved one about transitioning from in-home care to a setting such as Baxter Senior Living, it helps to understand their medical needs and their wishes for where and how they want to age. If your loved one has decided assisted living is right for them, contact Baxter Senior Living to tour our community. Come and see why our residents love aging in place at their senior residential community.