Today we’ll be discussing the differences between Assisted Living Facilities and Independent Living. To help us discuss this topic we have invited Laura Panizza, the Director of the Memory unit at Grand Villa Senior Living Community, to answer some of our questions. She is definitely an expert in this field since her facility, Grand Villa, includes an Assisted Living unit, an Independent Living unit and a Memory Care unit.
So Laura, what advice can you give a caregiver who is ready to place their loved one in a facility?
The first thing is to not feel guilty and look into joining a support group. Placing someone in a facility is not bad, it means that you care about your loved one. They just need more help than you can offer at home.
The second thing is to check out different facilities. Go to more than one or two. Each facility may be different or offer different services which your loved one requires. Try to find the place that is right for your loved ones needs. You should talk to the nurses to gauge their helpfulness towards the patients. Is the staff nice? Does the facility have activities? You want to look for all these things. Also, word of mouth is a great tool to use when choosing the right facility. Ask other families what they think about the facility and whether or not they would recommend it.
What are the differences between an Assisted Living Facility, an Independent Living and a Memory Care unit?
An Independent Living Facility is kind of like a hotel. You move in because you want the interaction that the Independent Living Facility provides. You get to live around people who are the same age. They offer activities, programs and transportation. But this kind of facility is for those who do not require physical help.
An Assisted Living Facility is a place where they can offer assistance with physical tasks. Maybe your loved one isn’t good with medications so someone at the facility would remind them to take their meds. Sometimes, older people need help with showering or bathing, an Assisted Living Facility could help with that. Basically anyone needing minimal assistance would be a good candidate for an Assisted Living Facility.
A Memory Care unit is for seniors with memory impairments who also require assistance with daily tasks. An Assisted Living Facility would not be appropriate for a person with a cognitive impairment because they do not lock their doors. Doors are locked in Memory Care units to prevent wandering outside of the facility. Memory Care units are also more structured than other facilities because people living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia like and perform tasks better when sticking to a routine. There is a lot of guiding, cueing and assistance for these patients.
And finally, a Skilled Nursing Facility is used when an Assisted Living Facility or Memory Care unit is not good enough because the patient has too many medical needs that any other facility can not fulfill.
For more information on this topic or to reach a Care Manager, call us at (561) 588-4545.