Senior living communities offer wide range of choices, care

Senior living communities offer wide range of choices, care

Many compelling reasons take older adults from their longtime homes to senior living communities — the need for a helping hand, the desire to downsize, to get into a social group or to let the tool shed become someone else’s problem.

“For aging boomers, making the transition from an independent living situation at home to a senior living community can be difficult for all concerned,” said Dan Rowland, director of marketing for Windsor House, which has more than a dozen facilities of various care levels around the region.

“The first step in the process should be to determine the appropriate level of care needed. Do they need around-the-clock care or just someone to keep basic tabs on them?” he said.

The basic types of facilities are independent living, assisted living and nursing homes.

Representatives from several area senior living communities will set up informational booths at the free Boomers & Beyond Senior Expo Aug. 6 at the Metroplex Expo Center in Liberty to discuss all the needs, options and lifestyle.

INDEPENDENT LIVING

Independent living is like living in an apartment building, only your neighbors are your age, and the community likely arranges for group trips, recreation and shopping if the resident is so inclined.

“We’re a retirement complex,” said Karen Ruby of CI Resident Management, which operates North River Commons, 3000 Meadow Lane NE, Warren, and Woodland Park Apartments, 550 Ohio Ave., McDonald.

“It’s good for seniors because you’re in a safe environment and there are still people around. If you want to associate with everybody, we come down every day (in the common area). If you don’t want to, you can stay upstairs,” Ruby said.

Besides not having to handle household maintenance and repairs anymore, socialization is a key to senior communities. Studies have shown that socialization helps keep the mind alert and the body healthier.

“We have dinners. We have get-togethers,” Ruby said. “My motto is you’ve gotta laugh every day.

There are adjustments to moving into a community setting, said Rhonda Gerke of Warren House Retirement Residence, 182 High St. NE, Warren, and Newton Manor Apartments, 571 Ridge Road, Newton Falls.

“They need to know that they will be living in the same building sharing the same common areas. They will need to consider that they will be entering a lease or housing agreements,” Gerke said.

“Advantages are paid utilities, pet friendly, on-staff service coordinator to assist in medical, financial and individual needs, (and) no longer needs to worry about snow removal or lawn maintenance,” she said.

REHABILITATION

Country Club Rehabilitation campuses in Newton Falls and five other northeast Ohio communities specialize in living quarters for people who need short- or long-term rehab work while still living independently.

Rehab can include water therapy programs, fitness and exercise programs, and social, spiritual, cultural and recreational programs, and a back-to-home programs, the company states.

“As our residents’ care needs increase, they may choose to transition to Country Club’s assisted living suites. Assisted living suites offer a higher level of care when apartment living becomes unmanageable, and our smooth transition assures the uninterrupted continuum of care for our residents,” the company states

ASSISTED LIVING

“An assisted living community is a licensed residential care facility that provides personal care services while promoting independent living,” Rowland said.

“The focus of assisted living is to provide personal care services to residents who need help with daily activities. Assistance with dressing, grooming, mobility and management of medications is often provided. Also, assisted living communities have social and recreational programs to encourage residents to stay active, both physically and emotionally,” he said.

NURSING HOME

“A nursing home is a licensed health care organization with a medical director to work with residents’ personal physicians to collaborate and oversee their health care issues,” Rowland said. “Nursing home residents still have amenities to make them feel like they’re living in a comfortable environment, yet with a proactive care program.”

Nurses are on staff to work directly with residents for needs, both physical and cognitive.

FINANCES

“After you decide what level of care is right,” Rowland said, “the most common question is, how do I pay?

“In most cases, assisted living communities are private pay. Some assisted living communities participate in the assisted living Medicaid waiver program. This program, coordinated by your local Area Agency on Aging, can help pay for assisted living care for those who may not be safe at home, can’t afford to pay for assisted living care, and do not need nursing home care.

“Medicare and Medicaid are the more common pay types for nursing homes. Nursing homes may also be contracted with various insurance plans,” he said. “It’s never an easy process, but it’s better to be prepared and have a basic understanding of the various levels of care when it comes to long-term care.”

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