There is an infinite number of very good reasons why you or a family member might be considering moving to a senior living community. Everything from the cost of living, to the effort of keeping up a home, to a simple desire for more socialization are all a part of the equation for making the decision. In this month’s blog, we’re going to look at the differences between active living, assisted living, and memory support. Every community has different standards as to amenities included in the programs offered, but the general descriptions will apply to most communities you’ll look at.
Active living is not that different from living on your own, but much better! Think of it like living at a resort hotel, but one that’s full of your personal items and priceless mementos with amenities similar to those you would find on vacation. You’ll find that an abundance of diverse, hosted activities are a key component to independent or active living at all communities. Stay as busy as you like or simply enjoy coming and going at your leisure. You’ll have time to relax and just enjoy life with weekly housekeeping and linen service provided, transportation if needed, and a service rich living environment. At Cascades of Tucson, that includes meals enjoyed with friends in our on-site restaurant, delivered to your door or prepared by you in the privacy of your apartment home. Life is carefree from worrying about utility bills, home repairs, cooking meals and more. All of that is taken care of.
Assisted living allows you to remain independent longer because it provides a level of support that runs the gamut from just needing help organizing medication, to needing assistance with the activities of daily living like showering and dressing. You still have your privacy in your own apartment home, but you have more assistance in your day-to-day life on a regular basis. One advantage of Cascades of Tucson, that you won’t see at most communities, is the ability to add or remove services should your needs change permanently or temporarily. While many communities are integrated when it comes to care and will transition residents from independent living to assisted living in the same apartment, some communities do require you to move to another location within the facility. Services provided should be determined by the resident, the resident’s representative, your physician and the health services director of the community who is trained to assess an individual’s health status not only at move in, but throughout residency.
Cognitive decline is a difficult subject to broach, but it’s important not only to make sure that your loved ones are safe and have the help they need, but that you recognize the toll it takes to try to provide this care on your own. Communities that offer memory care are secured for the safety of the residents. An integral part of memory support will focus on maintaining a person’s dignity and self-worth and the resident’s day should revolve around a sense of purpose providing opportunities to participate, whether in organized activities, taking a sensory garden walk, enjoying a book full of artistic pictures, or a communal area to chat in. Memory care spaces are intentionally designed. At Cascades of Tucson we’ve done that with simple floor plans, visual cues that help keep residents oriented, and most importantly, an outdoor courtyard with a continuous walking path that helps keep residents’ minds, senses, and bodies active but calm. Nutrition can be a challenging part of life with dementia so a well-orchestrated dining program where residents enjoy meals on their schedule is necessary and should be geared to provide for the specific needs of the resident. A good memory support community will make sure that residents don’t just live, but thrive there.
The differences between these levels of care are going to vary from community to community and program to program, but we hope that this will help you understand the broad strokes and give you an idea of what to consider when you’re ready to begin your search.