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Independent Living Vs Nursing Homes

Articles April 3rd, 2015
independent-living-vs-nursing-homes

This is part of our ongoing series to illustrate the difference between various senior living homes. When you want to find elder care, you do not simply sit down and look up the nearest “old folks’ home” or even the outdated, generic term “nursing home.” Likely you’ll want to compare care, cost, and communities.

For most people, cost comes first; they want to find a home that they can comfortably live in. While we’re not going to say, “cost shouldn’t be a factor,” the first thing you should always consider is the type of care your elder needs. Plus, depending on the type of care the cost with be affected.

In this article, we’re going to tackle independent living vs nursing homes. These two are essentially polar opposites. Independent living provides the LEAST amount of senior care whereas nursing homes provide the MOST amount of elderly assistance. However, in regards to cost, independent living can be more expensive than nursing homes (more on that in a minute).

Independent Living

Independent living provides minor care. There are staff that check up on the seniors, but don’t invade privacy – it’s just one of the many ways they avoid any mishaps they may have at home, like a fall. As we’ve discussed in other blogs, falls are the buzz word for seniors with one senior falling every 14 seconds. So, checking in is important.

However, independent living (synonymous with retirement homes) is as its formal name suggests: independent. There are staff to help with yard duty and maintenance in the home, but otherwise it’s a senior living community. Elders are free to come and go as they please, but the benefits are innumerable. You get a community of your peers, close access to a nurse (many are on-call), and numerous events hosted by the community.

Interestingly enough however, retirement communities can be the LEAST and MOST costly. See, by deciding on independent living, you’re opting for the minimum amount of care needed, so there’s fewer amenities, less staff trained in geriatric fields, etc. So, if you want a basic retirement community, the price will be minimal. However, retirement communities can also be home to palatial estates and, should your elder need more care, you can use an independent in-home care nurse to assist them — this can be quite costly. From this example, you can see how “type of care” should always come before cost.

Nursing Homes

When deciding between independent living vs nursing homes, consider your elder’s condition. Nursing homes are typically short-term care facilities for people in need of rehabilitation or therapy (e.g. speech therapy after a stroke). Some facilities provide long-term care as well, typically for people suffering dementia or cognitive function. Essentially, nursing homes are for seniors that require 24-hour care from skilled nurses.

Unlike independent living, these offer little to no independence (for the safety of the seniors). They are secure facilities so the seniors cannot leave. If this sounds like it matches your senior’s health, then you’ll want to find a nursing homes.

If you’re still unsure though, contact us and we’ll walk you through the various options; after all, our services are free.

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