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The Guide You Need for This Important Decision

For some seniors, a comfortable retirement means having a bit of extra help to make day-to-day life more comfortable and enjoyable. And for others, the level of assistance needed to maintain a standard level of comfort is much higher.

If you or a loved one needs or wants medical and personal care for a safe, healthy, and happy retirement, there are options available.

Assisted living offers services or those who need a bit of extra help while long-term care facilities provide more intensive or palliative medical and personal care for those who can no longer live independently.

To help you decide which option is best for you or your loved one, consider this comparison of assisted living communities and nursing homes.

Understanding Senior Living – What Are My Options?

Both long-term facilities and senior assisted living communities keep residents safe, healthy, and happy. These senior living options provide personal care support, such as bathing, dressing, and medication management.

Both types of buildings are designed with safety and security in mind, i.e. handrails and emergency call systems. These senior living options also promote life enrichment activities to meet the social, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of residents.

What Is Assisted Living and Who Is It Ideal For?

Assisted living communities provide limited care and assistance for specific day-to-day activities to those with healthcare and physical needs.

Residents in these communities live independently in their own apartments or homes.

The level of living assistance services varies by community, but these communities often provide:

  • Hospitality;
  • Personal care services;
  • 24-hour emergency response;
  • Recreational activities; and,
  • Social opportunities.

Assisted living is ideal for retirees who can live independently for the most part but may need some assistance and would benefit from the convenient lifestyle.

These communities are for people who:

  • No longer want the responsibilities of homeownership;
  • Need only a limited amount of supervision or personal care assistance;
  • Can walk or use mobility devices without assistance;
  • Are lucid or have mild cognitive issues;
  • Are open to getting assistance; and,
  • Will benefit from living in a more socially engaging environment.

Types of Personal Care Services in Assisted Living Communities

  • Some help with personal care such as bathing and dressing;
  • Help managing and dispensing medications;
  • Help avoiding injuries;
  • Round-the-clock staff for emergencies;
  • Nursing or medical care if licensed to do so; and,
  • In-house doctor visits for residents or a medical clinic onsite.

What Kind of Lifestyle and Community Will I Have in Assisted Living?

Assisted living communities allow for independent living while offering the added convenience of amenities, care, and recreational activities.

These communities have:

  • Private or shared apartment-style units with kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces;
  • Communal dining rooms;
  • Regular nutritious meals;
  • Laundry service;
  • Housekeeping service;
  • Shared recreational space;
  • Classes to pursue interests and hobbies;
  • Exercise facilities;
  • Plenty of social opportunities and recreational activities;
  • Local-area transportation and local excursions.

What Is A Nursing Home and Who Is It Ideal For?

A nursing home provides extensive and ongoing nursing care to residents who cannot live independently due to physical or mental conditions.

Also known as long-term care facilities, nursing homes provide comprehensive and frequent care.

Nursing homes are ideal for those who need regular care due to old age, disabilities, medical issues, and other types of physical and mental health issues that need constant supervision or monitoring.

Nursing homes are for people who:

  • Are unable to live independently at home due to frailty or illness;
  • Have moderate to severe cognitive problems;
  • Have severe difficulties with incontinence;
  • Would likely need frequent visits to the hospital;
  • Have complicated physical and/or mental health problems;
  • Display problematic behaviour;
  • Resist when being assisted;
  • Are unable to walk or use a mobility device without assistance;
  • Need daily medical care and/or plenty of personal care assistance;
  • Require constant monitoring and supervision.

Types of Personal Care Services in Nursing Homes

  • Help with bathing, dressing, eating, and other daily personal care activities;
  • Manage and administer a full range of medications;
  • Frequently monitor the medical conditions of residents;
  • Regular visits from doctors and/or nurses;
  • Medical treatments;
  • On-site emergency medical equipment;
  • Manage residents with behavioural problems.

What Kind of Lifestyle and Community Will I Have in A Nursing Home?

  • Shared or private hospital-style rooms;
  • Communal dining and living areas;
  • Regular nutritious meals;
  • Laundry service;
  • Housekeeping service;
  • Local-area transportation;
  • Spaces for social interactions but tend to have less recreational space.

The Fundamental Differences of Each

Assisted living communities are upscale apartment communities for residents who can live independently, and who only require minimal personal care assistance from housekeeping staff and nurse aides or assistants.

These communities also offer more recreational activities and opportunities for residents.

Nursing homes are usually institutional facilities that employ skilled nurses, such as registered nurses, to provide round-the-clock health care and monitoring for those who need extensive care and cannot live independently.

When to Get Help Finding A Senior Living Community

If you are worried about your safety or a loved one’s safety while living alone, it’s time to consider a senior living community. Contact an assisted living community in Ottawa to see if it’s a good fit.

If memory loss or physical ailments are impeding your lifestyle, but you can still live independently, consider assisted living in Ottawa.

But for more ongoing severe medical conditions, a long-term care facility will provide the appropriate medical care needed to stay safe and healthy.

Making the decision to find a new home can be difficult. But with quality senior living communities available, you can be rest assured knowing that you or your loved will be safe, happy, and healthy receiving the needed care and being surrounded by others in a community.