With winter and the holidays approaching, many families will be able to finally reconnect. It’s likely that several months may have passed since the last time they’ve seen each other.
COVID-induced isolation is a problem for seniors living at home, and its effects may accelerate memory loss and aging.
This holiday season, if you notice signs of mild cognitive decline, depression, or memory loss in loved ones, you may want to consider an enhanced assisted living community.
In this article, we’ll explain the difference between traditional assisted living versus enhanced assisted living and what to look for when picking the right community for your loved one.
Enhanced Assisted Living and Traditional Assisted Living
Like traditional assisted living, seniors living in an enhanced assisted living community get their own apartment or shared suite, and access to community amenities.
The key difference between the two is that enhanced assisted living communities can offer increased healthcare services and supervision.
Assisted living communities that have their Enhanced Assisted Living Residence (EALR) license, such as Kensington Park, can truly allow their senior residents a home to “age in place,” with an adaptable acuity of care.
Many seniors moving into traditional assisted living are in relatively good shape. Although they may require extra assistance from their community’s staff. The fundamental problem with traditional assisted living is that they are unable to keep up with aging seniors’ changing health needs.
Traditional communities simply aren’t equipped with the personnel and equipment to adapt to these changes. This means that their residents will be discharged once the community is no longer able to care for them.
Enhanced assisted living is the preferred choice for seniors and their families looking for a permanent community for their loved one.
Unlike traditional assisted living, an enhanced community is able to assist residents with special healthcare needs, including:
- A team of skilled licensed nurses on staff 24/7
- Insulin injections and diabetes management
- Wound care
- Specialty diets, including pureed food
- Hoyer Lift to support safer transfer
- A Physician’s office on-site
- Personalized Care Coordinator for every resident
- On-site rehabilitation
To put it simply, enhanced assisted living is for seniors who need extra assistance, or who expect to need extra assistance in the future. Kensington Park offers these services and more for their residents.
What to Look For in an Enhanced Assisted Living Community
While it may be hard to have an initial conversation with your loved one about moving into enhanced assisted living, there are numerous benefits and amenities for residents. Look for the following characteristics when choosing the right community.
All-Day Nutritional Dining
Excellent nutrition should be part of every residents’ daily experience. Find a community that can offer its residents a rotating menu, filled with dishes that are flavorful, nutritious, and beautiful.
The benefit of all-day dining is that residents can dine in or swing by the cafe to pick up a snack.
At Kensington Park, our Chef Morissa transforms each mealtime to create a sensational dining experience.
We even have innovative dining solutions, including our “Pick-Up Menu” which includes finger foods to help residents who have difficulty using and holding utensils.
We can accommodate specialty diets, including low-sodium, gluten-free, health-healthy, and pureed diets. Just let us know!
Ever-Changing Life Enrichment Activities
Social engagement and participating in shared activities are the main reasons seniors choose to enter independent and assisted living communities.
It’s important that an enhanced community provide each resident with a full event calendar. This gives them lots of opportunities to stay active and socialize with their community neighbors.
Research has shown time and time again that socializing with friends improves a senior’s wellness, including their physical and emotional health.
At Kensington Park, we employ full-time Life Enrichment coordinators. Their job is to keep our event schedule full of diverse and stimulating activities.
On-Site Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy
A senior’s mobility is directly linked to their physical and emotional wellbeing. This is why it’s common for seniors to become depressed after a recent fall or injury.
For this reason, many enhanced assisted living communities will offer on-site rehabilitation services. These services can range from:
- Physical therapy to help seniors gain strength and balance
- Occupational therapy to help develop fine motor skills to use utensil and dress themselves
- Speech therapy to help those with trouble speaking and swallowing caused by Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease
Kensington Park partners with Genesis Rehab’s multidisciplinary rehabilitation team to offer on-site physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.
Memory Care Support Neighborhoods
Memory care neighborhoods and communities are specialized residences for seniors living with memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and other neurological disorders.
Many enhanced assisted living communities will have their own separate memory care neighborhoods located on campus. These memory care neighborhoods can provide extra medical support and supervision for residents who are prone to wandering off, becoming confused, and who need a greater level of assistance completing their daily activities.
Kensington Park is uniquely equipped with two distinct memory care neighborhoods that offer customized levels of memory care — Connections and Haven.
Connections is our neighborhood for people in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
Haven is our neighborhood for those in the middle to advanced stage of Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Residents in this community receive a higher level of assistance and care to help them complete their daily activities of living.
Both neighborhoods provide a calming and fully secured environment to maximize safety for residents with memory loss.
Transportation Services and Concierge Services
While most enhanced assisted living communities have everything on-site, including nurses, doctors, food, and laundry services, there are times when residents need to run outside errands.
This is why it’s important to learn about transportation services offered to residents before selecting the right community.
At Kensington Park, we offer concierge services to help book personal appointments and arrange transportation, either to doctor’s offices, grocery trips, or wherever our residents’ errands require them to go!
Assisted living communities that offer enhanced care are able to go above and beyond the types of care available in traditional communities.
This means that in addition to providing lighter assistance for those who live more independently, enhanced communities provide a full spectrum of clinical support — including specialized memory care and end-of-life care.
In this way, residents in enhanced communities can truly “age in place” in a community where no matter how their needs change, they have a home.
Learn more about enhanced assisted living and how Kensington Park’s many levels of care provide an environment where residents and their families are supported through every stage of their journeys, no matter how complex.
What is enhanced assisted living?
Enhanced assisted living communities combine the comforts of home with the additional clinical as well as end-of-life care.
These communities are particularly helpful for those with progressive illnesses, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
How do enhanced communities differ from traditional communities?
As your senior loved one’s care needs evolve over time, these types of communities are equipped to meet them where they are, and provide personalized care that helps them thrive at every stage of life.
Enhanced care services typically include:
- Individualized care plans
- Around-the-clock care
- On-site physicians
- Licensed nurses on staff 24/7, and a full-time registered nurse
- Primary care partners that provide medication and diabetes management
- On-site rehabilitation services, including speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy
- Specialized memory care
- Palliative care
- End-of-life care/hospice
All care and services are specifically tailored to each resident.
An individualized care approach helps residents to feel comfortable and secure, as their routines are preserved and preferences are always taken into consideration. In addition to the typical enhanced care services offered, Kensington Park makes a commitment to partner with families on a strong, individualized resident plan of care. Our designated Move-In Coordinator walks the family through the entire process. The director of the community meets with the family prior to and within the first 24 hours to check in with the family. A transition meeting with the family and/or resident is held shortly after moving in to discuss how the resident is doing. This type of communication with families continues for the resident’s entire stay, along with photos of the resident having fun and engaging in events.
What is an Enhanced Assisted Living Residence?
Communities with an enhanced assisted living residence are trained and staffed to care for residents with even the most challenging and complex needs.
While traditional assisted living provides some medical services such as monitoring medication and access to emergency care, they are unable to provide a full spectrum of care.
Additionally, an enhanced community doesn’t require your loved one to move out if their care needs change, because they are equipped to provide all levels of care.
Not all communities are the same
It’s important to find a community that encompasses all aspects of care, including acuity care, a mission rooted in love and compassion, and a focus on individualized health and wellbeing.
What is high acuity care in assisted living?
Medical professionals use acuity levels to define the types of care and treatments a person needs.
Older adults who require high acuity care may have challenging medical conditions that staff must frequently address in a timely, professional, and compassionate manner.
Each community must define acuity levels in their own way, because there are no universal standards.
Care partners and other medical professionals in an assisted living community determine the proper acuity level for residents on an individual basis to ensure the right level of care is executed.
What services does Kensington Park Senior Living provide?
The levels of care an enhanced assisted living community provides depends on the community.
At Kensington Park Senior Living, we offer the following living options and specialized care options within our community.
Kensington Park’s serene independent living community is for seniors who want freedom from the demands of owning and maintaining a home.
To provide a safer and more convenient lifestyle for residents, we offer:
- Three meals a day created by our Executive Chef Morissa Harris, who has a zest for food that transforms every mealtime gathering into a sensational dining experience for the residents and families.
- Concierge services to assist you with all kinds of tasks, from delivering packages and groceries, arranging transportation, booking personal appointments, and much more.
- Weekly housekeeping with personal laundry and linen services
- Maintenance and upkeep of your home
Our community understands the importance of both friendship and solitude, so we also provide plenty of social activities along with peaceful and intimate spaces to relax.
In Kensington Park’s assisted living community, our team of dedicated professionals cares for our residents.
Upon arrival, residents and families will work together with the building director and RN to make sure they have the utmost support.
In addition to providing access to all levels of care on site, we encourage a rich and active social life and a calendar packed with activities, including exercise, music, discussion groups, brain games, book clubs, crafting, baking, gardening and much more. Some unique clinical components to Kensington Park’s activities include our three in-house licensed and board-certified music therapists, two of whom are certified in neurologic music therapy, as well as our BCAT-certified Brain Wellness programs that contribute to the cognitive, social, and emotional well-being of our residents.
Keeping your loved one’s unique preferences in mind, we are able to tailor both care and preferred activities to preserve wellness and foster friendships.
The goal is to preserve independence and quality of life, while lending support whenever it is needed.
Kensington Park Senior Living offers exceptional memory care by capitalizing on our residents’ strengths at every stage, and guiding residents and families to look for the beauty in each simple moment.
Our care is person-centered: Rather than focusing on the illness and what has been lost, we focus on what strength and joy remains.
Our specialized memory care is where acuity care and enhanced care come together to properly evaluate the needs of our residents and accurately execute their care and treatments.
We have two memory care “neighborhoods,” Connections and Haven, that are designed for specific levels of memory loss and care needs.
Connections is our neighborhood for people in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
Haven is our neighborhood for those in the middle to advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Residents in this community receive a higher level of assistance and care to help them complete their daily activities of living.
We also offer The Kensington Club, which takes place in our Assisted Living building, and is available to loved ones prior to joining us in one of our memory care neighborgoods. It is a bridge to the next level of care, designed especially for assisted living residents when mild forgetfulness has begun to interfere with a resident’s daily life.
And at every stage, we ensure families of residents are as involved as they want to be, and always welcomed with open arms.
The Kensington Park difference: enhanced, loving care
Kensington Park Senior Living Promises to love and care for your family as we do our own. This promise is at the root of everything we do.
Our community is the realization of a vision of passionate leaders in the senior living industry, who wanted a community that took assisted living to a higher level.
Through our loving, dedicated team and a cozy, elegant environment, we provide all levels of care and independence to accommodate a wide range of needs and preferences.
To learn more about our community and speak with our team, reach out to us today.
We look forward to learning more about your loved one’s needs and goals, and sharing how we can help them achieve everything and more.