What is the Continuum of Care for the Elderly?

Continuum of care for the elderly means healthcare and daily care that is needed to care for and provide safety to the elderly. If you have been searching and reviewing the various senior living options like including independent living facilities and nursing homes, you have probably heard the words continuum of care. Continuum of care addresses the increasing needs of services as a person gets older.

Image a timeline. 

On the very left of the timeline is independent living, where an elderly individual can live on their own while being self-sufficient. 

As you move to the right on the timeline, this person may start to need personal care, memory care, or assisted living arrangements. This group of people require daily living activities, have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, and/or age-related cognitive decline. They may or may not live safely on their own. 

To the right on the timeline are individuals who require skilled medical care, including skilled nursing care. They cannot live on their own because of significant health and safety issues.

As you can see with the use of the timeline, those functioning on the left side need less care than those to the right.

Phases of Continuum Care for the Elderly

Independent Living Facilities

Independent living is the best option for those who can live on their own safely. This group may need occasional help with instrumental activities of daily living, or IADLs. IADLs may include household maintenance and housekeeping. With ever-improving technologies and other supports in place, the elderly can live independently longer now than ever before in history. According to the AARP, Retirement communities are offering more now than ever before. 

Assisted Living and Personal Care

Assisted living facilities offer non-medical care services for individuals who require help with one or more ADLs. The ADLs mainly comprise dressing, eating, toileting, bathing, transferring from one place to another. There may also be a need for medication management. The help begins typically in the senior’s home and then ultimately shifts to an assisted living facility. When living at an assisted living facility, there is no need for around-the-clock skilled nursing care.

Long-Term Care Facilities and Memory Care

Memory care is a common component for both skilled care and assisted living, as many seniors can be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In many areas of the United States, there are dedicated memory care centers. As dementia progresses, the level of care increases for their safety and well-being.

Skilled Nursing Care

Skilled nursing care includes rehabilitative services and healthcare. This type of care can consist of physical therapy, nursing, speech therapy, and occupational therapy; registered nurses provide the step up from basic memory and nursing care. Hands-on care is provided by nurses, which include starting IV drugs and administering shots. Skilled nursing facilities are also known as nursing homes.

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Choosing a Retirement Community and Proper Continuum Care

For those who are considering a move to a retirement community for a loved one or themselves, it’s fundamental to understand what your local community offers. While many folks want the perfect location and amenities, it’s not all you look for in the community. When reviewing retirement communities, it is essential to know which phases of the continuum care are offered when needed.

To locate a senior living community that can serve your needs, be sure to use the helpful tool located on our site here at https://carewindow.com/.