If you have an aging parent who may no longer be safe living alone, you have probably been forced to explore the living arrangement options available to you. While moving them in with you may be the easiest thing to do, it is not always to best plan for either of you. If you choose to move them into an independent, or an assisted living arrangement, it is important to ensure that the facility offers a continuum of care. Hopefully, this will keep you from having to look for living arrangements ever again.
What Is A Continuum Of Care?
Due to declining health, and an increase in the need for assistance many seniors face during the last phases of their lives, there is no one size fit all when it comes to choosing their care. The level of care you choose should provide the services they need while allowing them to continue to maintain the highest level of independence they can. By choosing the level of care with this in mind, where they live will not only keep them safe, but will meet many of their other needs such as socialization. The levels of care typically available listed from the least amount of care to the most amount of care are:
- Independent Living
- Assisted Living
- Alzheimer's And Memory Care
- Nursing and Rehabilitative Care
What Are Continuing Care Retirement Communities?
A continuum of care, when applied to senior housing, is designed to allow a person to live in one place for the rest of their lives without having to move again. In that one community they will be able to receive all the services they need ranging from no care or total independence to total care.
Many of the communities who are now offering this type of continuum of care are referred to as Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). They made up of independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care, and even memory units, all on one campus, or within one community. CCRCs are designed on the sole premise of being the last place a person will ever have to reside. It is often in such a community that you are first exposed to the terminology of person centered, or family centered planning.
What Is Person Centered Planning And Why Is It Important?
As a way to provide the best level of services within the community, as well as a means to identify the services that your parent may need, most CCRCs are trained in, and have started to practice, person centered or family centered planning. This is a concept which originated as a medical model for the delivery of medical, as well as supportive services.
When put into practice, there will be a team approach put into place to determine what types of services, or what level of care your parent will receive. This team should include:
- You and other family members
- Your parent or parents
- Your service providers
- Social worker
- Medical providers
- Community manager, and others
Once created, the team will not try to squeeze your parent into an existing situation which may or may not be appropriate for them. The team will use the resources available within the CCRC to develop an individualized plan designed specifically to meet the needs of your parent. The plan will be focused on your parent's preferences, strengths, needs, capabilities, and will work towards producing agreed upon outcomes and goals.
When patient centered planning is done correctly it will produce:
- Higher levels of independence for a longer period of time
- Greater consumer satisfaction with services
- Services provided with dignity and respect
- More choice making and input by the person receiving the services
- Higher degrees of wellness and more
When choosing the next level of care for your parents, do not just look at what you will need during the next year. Try to come up with a plan to address what will be needed for the rest of their lives. This will not only give them a peace of mind that they will be taken care of, but it will also provide you with a peace of mind that you have done the right thing.