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Understanding the Levels of Care in Senior Living

Senior living communities offer different levels of care to accommodate a range of resident needs and preferences.

In this way, these communities can offer true “aging in place,” where no matter how a resident’s care needs change over time, staff members are equipped to care for them.

Levels of care can range from more independent services to advanced memory care.

Learn more about the levels of care in senior living communities, including the types of care provided, how residents are evaluated for their needs, and what you should look for in your options for senior living.

How activities of daily living (ADLs) are used to determine levels of care in senior living

Activities of daily living (ADLs) are the skills we use to care for ourselves, such as eating and bathing.

They can also be used as an indicator of how much support an individual needs, based on which ADLs they are able or unable to accomplish on their own.

Senior living communities use ADLs to determine the level of care a resident needs, including which daily services they need and where they will best fit into a community.

Basic ADLs include the following functions:

  • Ambulating, or the ability to move and walk independently
  • Feeding, or the ability to feed oneself
  • Dressing, or the ability to select and put clothes on
  • Personal hygiene, or the ability to bathe and groom oneself
  • Continence, or the ability to control bladder and bowel function
  • Toileting, or the ability to get to and from the toilet and clean oneself

Evaluating an older adult’s ADLs helps ensure they are getting the right level of support.

Seniors who have mild issues with ADLs may benefit from independent living, while those who struggle with several will need more advanced levels of support or high acuity care.

Independent Living

In an independent living community, residents are free from the burdens of homeownership and can simply enjoy their time however they would like.

The focus in independent living is on helping seniors with a range of daily tasks, and allowing them the space to enjoy friendship and recreational activities.

Examples of tasks that are taken care of in this setting include:

  • Booking appointments
  • Delivering packages or groceries
  • Providing weekly laundry and housekeeping
  • Arranging transportation
  • Providing all meals

As we age, we naturally develop a higher risk of dangerous falls, as well as the negative health effects stemming from senior loneliness and isolation.

An independent living community keeps loved ones safe by removing the dangers of home maintenance and upkeep, and providing plenty of social activities to keep our minds and bodies sharp and healthy. 

An independent community keeps seniors physically safe and offers many opportunities for social interaction. It is crucial for seniors’ mental health to stay socially active, entertained, and busy, as isolation can bring about depression and other problems. 

Then, if a senior’s care needs change over time, they can join the assisted living community for more support. Consistently assessing the level of care ensures that services can adapt with their needs. At Kensington Park, we hold family meetings every six months to discuss resident care levels and care plans, and if they need to be reassessed. 

What is assisted living?

Assisted living communities typically offer varying levels of care, from low levels of care to high levels.

Within an assisted living community, residents have as much support with their ADLs as they need. 

This includes access to registered nurses and 24–hour support and supervision, as well as meals, administering medications, rehabilitation services, personal care assistance, laundry and housekeeping, recreational activities, and socializing.

Residents have their own private rooms and share common living spaces.

The idea is to help residents maintain as much independence as possible, while providing just the right level of assistance.

Assisted living levels of care

While each resident is assessed individually, there are certain communities within assisted living that are created to meet general areas of need.

For example, Kensington Park Senior Living has independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities all on the same campus.

Independent living is designed to accommodate lower levels of care, assisted living can accommodate moderate to higher levels of care, and memory care can accommodate the highest levels of care.

Let’s dig into what you can expect from each type of care.

Assisted living

Kensington Park’s assisted living community offers individualized care plans to address specific needs and an activity-rich environment to keep seniors busy and entertained.

There’s a strong emphasis on activities, events, and socialization, but it’s expertly weaved with professional medical care.

Licensed nurses are onsite 24 hours a day, and rehabilitation services are available as well to help residents maintain their optimal level of independence with their everyday activities.

If a resident develops memory loss as a result of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they can receive customized dementia care in the memory care community.

Memory care

Many assisted living communities offer specialized memory care for those in any stage of Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease dementia, or any other form of dementia.

One of the best forms of care for neurodegenerative diseases is mental stimulation. That is why communities specifically designed for these residents are the best option for the senior’s quality of life. 

Even if they can handle a certain amount of independence, it is so easy to slip into stagnation and isolation. These communities are designed to keep the mind stimulated and provide the face-to-face contact with others that seniors need. 

At Kensington Park Senior Living, we use proven methods of positive interaction for memory care residents that include music therapy, sensory activities such as arts and crafts or gardening, and other pocket programming.

Additionally, memory care communities are designed specifically for the safety, security, and maximum comfort of an individual experiencing memory loss.

This includes wander management technology, cheerful spaces filled with natural light, and other features to help minimize confusion and enhance recognition.

The ultimate goal is comfort, joy, and preserving precious moments between residents and their family members.

Higher level of care, or acuity care

Enhanced assisted living also includes specialized care providers that can accommodate the progressing need of residents. 

Other assisted living facilities that are not trained to this level may not be able to care for the resident once their symptoms and the disease gets to a certain point. 

Medical professionals use acuity levels to accurately provide the right levels of care to an individual.

Higher level acuity care is for residents with particularly challenging medical conditions that require frequent support and observation.

This includes residents with progressive illnesses, dementia, chronic illnesses, or chronic pain.

Assisted living communities offering acuity care are able to provide the high levels of care that skilled nursing facilities provide, but in a cozy, intimate setting with multiple caregivers.

When a care plan changes: re-evaluating levels of care

Older adults’ care needs are likely to change over time. 

Based on day-to-day observations and attention by the care team, changes in residents are noted and identified. There are systems in place to update the residents’ plan of care as well as notify interested parties, such as family members.

This is the true definition of aging in place, where a resident can comfortably age in their community knowing their needs will always be met no matter how they progress over time.

Kensington Park Senior Living provides all levels of care

At Kensington Park Senior Living, Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.

This Promise drives us in all we do, which is why we are able to offer all levels of care and specialized services.

This includes independent living, assisted living, memory care, and high acuity care.

No matter the level of care, residents will receive the services they need, which includes fresh, nutritious gourmet dining, fitness and wellness services, rehabilitation, and a packed calendar of life enrichment activities.

We want our residents to thrive at their maximum level of independence, no matter how their care needs evolve over time.

Reach out to us today to schedule a call, so we can learn more about your loved one and how we can best accommodate them.

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