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Nine Types of Assisted Living & Explanations of Each.

It is never to early to learn about the types of assisted living, this information may be needed for a friend, neighbour, family member or eventually for ourselves. Be prepared and know what types of services are available, how much the cost will be, how to set up these services and who to contact.

A good starting point is the Office On Aging, The American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging and AARP; although there are other resources too.

Families are increasingly involved with caring for an elder person at home and with the influx of Baby Boomers this number will rise. This can be one of the most rewarding things a family member can do but it can also be one of the most challenging.

Family members have to learn new skills, be willing to give up their time and deal with many unfamiliar problems.

The elder person must also have emotional support and be able to be involved in the decisions that are made. This can take a toll on the caregiver both emotionally and physically and the caregiver must take care of themselves so their body and mind stay strong.

The elder person may have different types of problems and the caregiver should be knowledgable about each one in order to give the best care some of the areas may be; breathing problems, incontinence, bone weakness, constipation, forgetfulness, hearing problems, pain, swallowing problems, sleeping and many others. It is best if the caregiver is allowed access to the physician of choice at the very least for questions on care.

Independent Living
Seniors would like to live on their own for as long as possible and there are ways of helping to make this a good experience for the senior citizen. set up Meals on Wheels to make sure they have at least one good meal a day and they don't have to cook, possibly contact a meal site and have the Handi-care bus come to pick them up at their home on a daily basis, this helps to get them out of the house and around other people with the plus of being in control and an independent life. The Handi-care bus can also be available for doctor appointments and various other services. If the person is affiliated with a church it is wise to check to see what services are available through the church office.

Retirement Homes
An apartment like atmosphere that is inside a central community with medical staff available is something that makes a senior feel safe and yet independent. Their apartment is a room that is large enough to hold a bed, T.V., dresser, table, favorite chair and a few other small pieces of furniture and may have pictures hung on the wall to make it a home within a home. Medical staff will give the medication and is available if needed although not for long term extensive care. The person may come and go as they wish and keep a car on premise should they have one available.

In Home Care
There are many associations and organizations that can help in this area. The senior can stay at home and have someone come in to help with cooking, cleaning, washing clothes and various other services. This is if the senior only needs limited care with basic household maintenance.

Shared Housing
This is not only rewarding but saves on expenses for the senior citizen. Two people can move in together and share expenses and look out for each other. It may mean splitting all of the cost of running the household or a monthly rent.

Adult Foster Care
Many families are willing to take in a senior citizen to care for them and find that this is a very rewarding experience. It could be that their children don't have grandparents, a retired CNA or nurse may open their home, some one that cares is willing to adopt a senior and care for them.

Adult Day-Care
The individual is dropped off at a daycare provider and is there for set hours, normally their meals are provided, they are in a nurturing atmosphere, they receive their medication as needed and they are around other people, but most of all they are cared for and safe.

Group Homes
Seniors live in a home with other seniors and a caregiver. These are normally with a 6 person maximum per home and have a family atmosphere. The individuals work together to make a home environment although they each have separate accommodations.

Assisted Living
An room type setting in which the person may have some of their own furniture, meals are furnished for them and washing clothes may be added for an extra charge. Medical staff is on hand and administers medication and takes care of minor problems that arise. It is a home where there are staff to assist the senior only, not take over 100% of the care.

Nursing Homes
Comprehensive care may be needed on a daily basis, not only medically but physically. Medical staff is on duty twenty four hours a day, medications are given, therapy may also be given. Rooms may be shared giving the room a dorm-like atmosphere. All meals are provided and some have a snack bar or coffee center for in-between. This is where twenty four hour care is necessary.

The choice is up to the individual as to how they would like to proceed.

If the individual can no longer live alone, they may opt for any one of the remaining solutions, but at least they know that they have a choice as to where and how they are going to live.

Helping to make that transition easier for them and a good experience helps to make the person feel secure and confident that they made the right decision.


"Old Age Home" - a portal for senior citizens and their families in South Africa - sponsored by Incolae Home for the Aged.