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Navigating the Spectrum of Senior Living

smiling seniors

As we listen to the news, it’s common to hear the term ‘assisted living’ bandied about. Often times, in fact, maybe even most times, it’s used as a catch-all phrase that is not necessarily accurate in the depiction of the story being reported. Senior living is a spectrum of different options. Each option or level is designed to provide for optimal independence and engagement while offering the appropriate level of assistance and support. ‘Assisted living,’ while a very important component of the spectrum, is not all-encompassing for communities in which older adults live.

Multi-Level Spectrum

The full spectrum of senior living is often broken down into the following: independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing. The uniting factor is that senior living, or retirement living, is exclusively for older adults, and provides opportunities for social interaction and often dining and transportation along with other amenities.

Independent living is for seniors who are still predominantly healthy, active, and able to care for themselves. Seniors live in their own distinctive apartments or homes privately and have complete freedom to come and go and do as they please.

The benefits of independent living include being able to live among other seniors with few if any responsibilities for housekeeping or home maintenance, and ample opportunities for social engagement. Independent living communities often include dining service, transportation, housekeeping, fitness programming, lifelong learning, and more.

Assisted living is a good alternative for older adults who are unable to live alone but don’t need extensive care. Similar to independent living, assisted living occurs in a residential setting and encourages and, in fact, enables and empowers residents to maintain as much independence as possible while providing a hand as needed. The assistance provided typically involves activities of daily living (ADLs), including taking medications, dressing, grooming, bathing, eating, making and keeping doctors’ appointments, etc. 24/7 staff offers peace of mind to residents and their loved ones.

Memory care is similar to assisted living, but with a higher level of daily support and supervision for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia and cognitive impairment. Memory care communities provide these specialized services in a safe environment, with specially trained staff and programs designed to help each person maintain their utmost degree of independence.

Nursing care/skilled care offers room and board and access to activities while also providing 24-hour nursing care. Nursing or skilled care facilities are designed with the ability and expertise to provide medical treatment. This sometimes means that they are able to offer care for acute illnesses or conditions, without requiring transfer to a hospital. This is typically the only level of senior living that can provide this service.

While the spectrum of care in senior living is similar in definition, it is not the same, across the board, in terms of quality, amenities, and unique features.

Monticello West

Monticello West offers independent living, assisted living, enhanced assisted living, and memory care. Because we recognize the value of our residents remaining within their apartments as long as possible, we offer unparalleled services for our residents.

Our unique enhanced assisted living option means that we can provide help with two-person transfers, sliding scale diabetes, and hands-on care with acts of daily living (ADLs.) This means that our residents receive personalized care in the comfort of their own apartment.

While we do not provide skilled nursing at Monticello, we do have access to wonderful sister communities within close proximity that can provide medical care and rehabilitation. Each of our residents has priority admission to these skilled communities.

Our strong dedication to aging in place means that we will do everything within our power to enable residents to remain living in their apartments as their needs change, bringing needed assistance and care to them.

Our unique, Jefferson Bridge initiative is a transitional memory support program. It allows residents with mild cognitive issues to remain living within their apartment home while having access to our specialized memory support services and programming during the day. This is ideal for individuals who are in assisted living but would benefit from extra cognitive and social stimulation. It also works beautifully for senior couples who wish to remain living together but have different levels of cognitive abilities.

Heartfelt Connections-A Memory Care Program® is uniquely developed to promote resident-centered physical and emotional well-being. Heartfelt Connections, which is based on the latest in memory care research and best practices, is a-a comprehensive, person-centered, and activity-focused program developed by Life Care Services, which manages Monticello West.

In navigating senior living opportunities, it’s important to be informed about the complete spectrum of options with attention not only to similarities but also distinctive programs that differentiate the community.