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Family Resources

At Monticello West, we believe you should have access to reliable information and resources that might help you understand just about everything you need to know about senior care.


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The Assisted Living Federation of America defines assisted living as a long-term care option that combines housing, support services, and health care, as needed. Assisted living is designed for individuals who require assistance with everyday activities such as meals, medication management or assistance, bathing, dressing, and transportation. Some residents may have memory disorders including Alzheimer’s, or they may need help with mobility, incontinence, or other challenges.

While skilled nursing care provides the highest level of care for seniors outside of a hospital, assisted living is best for those who need some help with bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming, and eating, but do not require 24-hour-a-day health care by doctors.

Assisted living may be a good choice if:

  • Personal care needs have become too great to handle at home or in another senior living community, or if safely completing the activities of daily living has become an issue either at home or with care from another
  • Your parent or loved one could benefit from a community atmosphere with round-the-clock assistance and oversight

Glossary of Senior Living Terms

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Helping someone you love explore retirement community or care options often requires a little translation. This brief glossary will help you differentiate plans, services, and senior living options.

Most retirement communities require that residents have reached a given age before moving in. You’ll find 65+ is a common benchmark.

Assisted living communities typically provide services which allow the resident to maintain a degree of independence, while offering a helping hand with given tasks such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and taking medications.

CCRCs are senior living communities that provide multiple lifestyle options and choices, generally including independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing residences or suites.

In an independent living community, residents are capable of living in a residence with or without assistance.

Life Care is a term often used to distinguish communities that offer lifestyles and care—for life, with virtually no additional increase to monthly fees, whether a resident is in a residence or a residential health services program including assisted living, memory care, or skilled nursing. By contrast, some CCRCs provide continuing care with a fee-for-service contract, requiring additional fees for living at higher levels of care.

Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance developed specifically to cover the cost of skilled nursing, assisted living, home health care, and other long-term care services. These services are usually not covered by traditional health insurance or Medicare.

The federal health insurance program called Medicare is designed for people who are 65 and older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease. Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D cover specific services and care.

Financed by state and federal governments, Medicaid is the program of medical assistance designed for those unable to afford regular medical service—available to fund care in a skilled nursing setting.

A specialized type of care, memory care is tailored specifically for the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive disorders.

Skilled nursing care facilities, commonly referred to as nursing homes or health centers, are licensed health care communities that are inspected and regulated by a state’s Department of Health Services. They offer long- and short-term care for individuals who need rehabilitation services or who suffer from serious or persistent health issues that are often too complicated to be tended to at home.

Services designed to help an individual recover from an injury, operation, stroke, or illness. These may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and memory care. In most cases, services are planned to help the individual return as closely as possible to pre-challenge levels. The services may be residential (inpatient), or outpatient, and may be short- or long-term, depending on the needs of the person.

The term retirement community encompasses a wide scope of variations—several of which are covered here. Rental communities, continuing care, Life Care, assisted living, and skilled nursing care communities all fall within the spectrum, as do age-restricted communities of individually owned homes with common services and amenities.

Skilled nursing care communities offer daily nursing care, provided or supervised by licensed medical personnel.