There are many things we have come to expect from elder care residences. But there are, perhaps, just as many unexpected features, services and amenities that are becoming commonplace among today’s elder care residences.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging, America’s population of senior citizens is projected to more than double to 92 million over the course of the next two generations. As the baby boomer population nears retirement age and the senior population continues to grow in leaps and bounds, elder care residences have begun to increase in size, scope, and quality to accommodate both the needs and desires of a more discriminating elderly populace.
What to Expect from Today’s Elder Care Homes and Communities
The services, amenities, and features available within elder care communities will always vary depending on their location, size, and price point. However, there are a number of things that should always be present, regardless of the how lavish or no-frills the residence may be. In addition to state and local licensing standards, all of which must be met at all times, seniors should expect the following from their elder care residence:
- An environment in which they feel safe and secure
- A staff that is attentive and responsive
- A staff that respects their privacy
- A facility that is not understaffed
- Clean, organized, and inviting surroundings
Today’s Independent Living Facilities and Retirement Communities
Retirement communities are bigger and better than ever, thereby allowing seniors the opportunity to enjoy independent living at its best. Independent living retirement communities now offer seniors everything from spectacular residences to outstanding amenities and features. Independent living residences may feature:
- Many amenities and privileges: Boutiques, hair salons, stores, theaters, and restaurants are just a few of the amenities found in many of today’s retirement communities.
- Housing options: Today’s independent living facilities offer a wide variety of housing options, including single-family residences, patio homes, condominiums, and apartments.
- Services and features: There are a number of services that can be expected from many of today’s retirement communities, such as gated and guarded entrances, swimming pools, fitness centers, indoor and outdoor maintenance, and housekeeping services.
In addition, some retirement communities offer a continuum of care, thereby allowing residents to age in place within the same community. These continuing care residences often feature a number of communities, each of which offers a different level of care. These communities are designed to meet the changing needs of residents throughout their retirement years.
Today’s Assisted Living Facilities
Although assisted living facilities are designed to provide a level of personal care and assistance with the activities of daily living, many of them are just as luxurious and amenity-rich as their independent living facility counterparts. Although assisted living facilities may differ based on their level of care, in general, these facilities should provide:
- A plan of care based on an assessment of medical, social and emotional needs
- A staff that provides around-the-clock medical and personal care
- Structured recreational and social programs
- An environment that promotes the greatest level of independence
Today’s assisted living facilities may also provide concierge services, private living arrangements, a number of dining options, and community amenities, such as fitness rooms, activities rooms, hair salons, theaters, and libraries.
Today’s Skilled Nursing Facilities
Skilled nursing facilities, also better known as nursing homes, provide seniors with a high level of medical care to treat or manage any number of illnesses or diseases that prevent them from living in a more independent environment. Because of the high level of care required in a nursing home, care is of the utmost importance. As such, skilled nursing facilities should:
- Be highly responsive to the requests of residents and their families
- Be adequately staffed
- Be prompt in their disclosure of problems or complications with the residents
- Involve the family in the senior’s care plan
- Provide a superb level of medical care
- Respect the rights of its residents
Today’s nursing homes may also feature a number of amenities and services that are aimed at resident comfort and enjoyment, such as recreational and social programs and activities, outdoor areas, and well-equipped rooms. They may also be designed to accommodate residents with specific care requirements, such as secure Alzheimer’s units.