February 1, 2011

The Difference Between Aging In Place and ALF’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — seniorlivingguide @ 3:37 pm

Q
Can you tell me the difference between aging in place and an Assisted Living Facility?
I have also heard the term CCRC. What does that mean? Is this a good option for my
parents to age in place?

A
Over the past decade aging terminology has evolved a great deal, cialis often leaving the
general public more questions than answers. Understanding the options available and
choosing the best fit for your parents starts with an understanding of these terms.
The 2005 White House Conference on Aging developed a glossary of “aging terms”
for this very reason; you can download this helpful tool online at:
http://www.whcoa.gov/glossary.asp

Many people refer to “aging in place,” but what do they really mean?  According to
Senior Resource, “aging in place” refers to living where you have lived for many years,
using products, services and conveniences to enable you to not have to move as
circumstances change.

Others feel that aging in a non-medical facility falls into this category, as it has the
potential to offer a home-like setting. Some organizations are pushing for the development
of “livable communities” designed to meet the changing needs of older adults
(aginginplaceinitiative.org).

In your case, it would be the ability to keep your parents at home or in a home-like
environment as they need additional support.

The second half of your questions speaks directly to level of care. These are criteria often
set to meet program requirements, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Special Assistance.
Independent living would be a setting with no personal care or other support services such
as an apartment. Assisted Living (AL) provides a group setting with support services for those
who do not require 24-hour nursing care.  For example, they might offer meals, housekeeping,
transportation, activities and some personal care assistance.  Skilled Nursing (SN) is the final
level of care at which people require “skilled” services, including 24-hour nursing care. Many
of them offer rehabilitation services in addition to round the clock nursing. A Continuing Care
Retirement Community (CCRC) is a community that offers all three levels of care. They typically
have a campus that includes independent apartments, an option to transition to Assisted Living
and a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF).

To determine the best option for your parents, I recommend several steps. First, have a conversation with them about what is important as they age. What are their preferences, desires, and fears?

Second, determine what options are available in your area and how to access them.  Third, have a comprehensive assessment of needs completed by an aging professional.  And finally, determine what resources they have to pay for these options.  Being at home is typically the older adult’s initial preference, but when 24-hour care is required, it can be very expensive.  The quality of available facilities and amenities offered has also greatly improved over time, and it is worth looking at a few to get an idea of what is available.  Many people truly enjoy being in a designated community as they age and benefit greatly from the social opportunities, age appropriate design and increased support.

Keep an open mind and become educated on your options.

Amy Natt, MS, Certified Geriatric Care Manager and CEO of AOS Care Management, with offices in Cary and Southern Pines, can be reached at (919) 535-8713, (910) 692-0683, or
amyn@agingoutreachservices.com.

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