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Choosing Senior Living: What Level of Care Does Your Loved One Need?

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An older adult man smiling as he receives his lunch from an assisted living staff member.

Senior living is a wonderful way to get a loved one the care they deserve. However, many people don’t know that there isn’t just one type of community—there are plenty, all with their own individual differences. 

From assisted living and memory care to respite care—how do you choose the right community for a loved one?

There are a few guidelines:

  • If your loved one wants to stay independent but needs a hand with some daily activities, assisted living is often the right choice.
  • If your loved one is experiencing cognitive decline, memory impairment, or dementia, memory care is often the right choice.
  • If you’re beginning to experience caregiver burnout, or your loved one wants to try out senior living, respite care is often the right choice.

The Basics of Senior Living

Senior living communities are a special kind of haven dedicated to older adults over the age of 55. These communities provide an environment rich with all kinds of services and experiences designed to improve your loved one’s quality of life.

From fun social events to wellness programs, and dining options to planned group outings, these communities can be an excellent way to get a loved one the care they need. With so many different levels of care available, you can find the right fit for your loved one, giving them a home in an environment designed to cater to their needs.

Here at Bellevue Village at Woodstock, we offer 3 types of care:

  • Assisted living
  • Memory care
  • Respite care

So what’s the difference?

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living, often called “personal care,” is a type of senior living designed for older adults who are cognitively and medically stable, but need some help with their daily tasks like bathing and housekeeping.

In personal care, your loved one gains access to:

  • On-site caregivers around the clock
  • A licensed nurse on the premises
  • Emergency response systems
  • Chef-inspired meals
  • Plenty of activities and events, from arts and crafts to movie nights in the theater

These communities promote and encourage independence and autonomy for every resident. In personal care, your loved one gets a customized care plan tailored toward their unique needs. This way, they can get the care they need to maintain a higher quality of life each and every day.

How to Tell If a Loved One Needs Assisted Living

An assisted living staff member helping a resident with her medication.

So how can you tell if a loved one needs personal care? It may be the right choice if they are:

  • Struggling with daily personal care tasks, like bathing or dressing
  • Forgetting medications or taking the wrong doses
  • Experiencing falls or mobility issues
  • Showing signs of loneliness or depression
  • Having difficulty maintaining their home, leading to clutter or disrepair
  • Experiencing a loss of interest in preparing or eating meals
  • Increasing safety concerns, such as forgetting to turn off the stove

If you’ve noticed any of these signs, it might be time to talk about personal care.

What Is Memory Care?

Memory care is more specialized. These communities cater to the needs of seniors living with dementia, memory impairment, and cognitive decline. In memory care, the on-site teams undergo additional training to better understand the complicated nature of neurodegenerative disorders. This way, they can provide the right type of care to seniors in need.

In a memory care community, your loved one has access to:

  • A safe, supportive, and structured community
  • Activities designed to support cognitive abilities
  • 24/7 monitoring and assistance to ensure their safety and comfort
  • Therapeutic programs tailored to enhance memory and cognitive functions

These communities create a nurturing, supportive, and loving space where your loved one can receive care that’s as compassionate as it is comprehensive—all while maintaining their quality of life. Memory care is an incredible option to support a loved one living with any degree of memory impairment as it provides a community tailored to meet their needs in a way that truly matters.

How to Tell If a Loved One Needs Memory Care

There are some key indicators that a loved one could benefit from a move to memory care. Keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Frequent disorientation
  • Increasing difficulty with communication
  • Repeated confusion about time, people, and places.
  • Noticeable changes in personality or behavior
  • Difficulty performing daily activities

If any of these sound familiar, it might be time for a move to memory care. However, if your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia or any kind of memory impairment, don’t wait for symptoms to start. An earlier move to memory care may be an ideal way to preserve cognitive abilities.

What Is Respite Care?

Sometimes, your loved one may not need a long-term solution. Caring for a loved one at home can be extremely rewarding—but that doesn’t mean it’s always the easiest. Caregiver burnout is common and can lead to long-term health effects if you aren’t careful.

In respite care, your loved one temporarily moves to a senior living community that can properly meet their needs. These communities take over caregiving responsibilities while you take time to focus on yourself. 

Meanwhile, your loved one can enjoy being pampered by a team of trained caregivers, so you can focus on meeting your own needs without compromising your loved one’s care.

When Is Respite Care the Right Choice?

If you notice any of the following signs, you might be at risk of burnout:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Getting too much sleep or not enough
  • Gaining or losing a lot of weight
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Becoming easily irritated or angry

If you’ve felt any of these symptoms, it’s time to think about respite care as a solution for both you and your loved one. This short-term type of senior living is designed to give caregivers a much-needed break.

It isn’t just about burnout, though. Some seniors use respite care as a chance to try out a senior living community, while others use these services as a short-term recovery from an injury or surgery. Respite care is a versatile, but effective, answer to many kinds of situations.

Find Your Loved One’s Future Home

Whether you think your loved one would benefit from personal care, memory care, or respite care, our team at Bellevue Village at Woodstock can help. Our community provides several levels of care designed to help support your loved one. Schedule a visit with us today, and let’s work together to find the right home for your loved one.

Written by Angela Clark

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