Once you start struggling to live on your own, it may become time to discuss moving into a care facility.

If you’ve decided to go this route, skilled nursing facilities are only one of your options. Nursing homes may get all the press, but there are other communities that may match your needs better. All it takes is researching what care facilities are around you and determining which suits you best.

The Four Types of Nursing Homes and Care Facilities

Independent Living Community

Independent living communities offer the least health care, but the most freedom. They aim to ease the burden on their residents without intruding in their lives. Many offer different types of living arrangements, from small apartments to houses. A lot will also include services like:

  • Housekeeping
  • Lawn and home maintenance
  • Cooking and on-campus restaurants
  • Calendar of events and activities

It’s important to note that independent living communities rarely have full-time medical staff. You must also be fully independent and able to take care of your daily needs to live in this type of place. If you need additional services, you may need to pay extra, especially for health care.

Assisted Living Facility

Assisted Living Facilities are a step up from independent living communities in regard to care provided. In other words, they assist with a greater degree of your daily tasks. Often, assisted living helps you with bathing, meals, and dressing, or provides supervision.

Visiting multiple facilities to see which fits your personality and needs best is essential.

If you decide that an assisted living facility is for you, research your options. Each community is unique and varies on their service packages or layout. Visiting multiple facilities to see which fits your personality and needs best is essential, especially if you need extra health care. Similarly to independent living communities, assisted living facilities are not required to have health care services on site. Many will offer emergency first aid or pharmacy services, but not nursing services.

Assisted living facility costs, like independent living community costs, are also generally not covered by Medicare insurance. This means you’ll be covering most of them out-of-pocket, unless you qualify for assisted living benefits from Medicaid.

Skilled Nursing Facility

If you feel you need more help for your medical and daily needs, a skilled nursing facility is probably your best option. Often called “nursing homes,” these facilities provide 24-hour health care from licensed nurses, as well as access to registered nurses (RNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). While they’re generally used for short-term stays, they do provide long-term care for medically-necessary cases.

Besides health care, skilled nursing facilities may also provide therapy, dietary counseling, and daily care.

Skilled nursing home staff can help residents with wound care, acute medical conditions, or even general rehabilitation. Besides health care, skilled nursing facilities may also provide therapy, dietary counseling, and daily care.

The Medicare program will cover some expenses of a skilled nursing facility, but also requires the facilities to be in compliance. When investigating nursing homes, you can also look to the five-star quality rating system.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) use health inspections, staff ratings, and quality measures to help consumers get an accurate picture of each facility.

Continuous Care Retirement Community

If you’re not sure which type of facility you need, or suspect your needs will change, a Continuous Care Retirement Community (CCRC) may be a good option. CCRCs are campuses that combine the services of all the other care facilities.

You’ll usually enter their independent living community first. As your needs change, you’ll move into assisted living or skilled nursing. This offers residents a “continuum of care,” so that they can receive the help they need at the same location. CCRCs are also beneficial for couples, as they can stay together while receiving care.

Many CCRCs require a one-time entrance fee (ranging from $1,800 to $750,000), as well as monthly maintenance fees.

The biggest downside of CCRCs is their cost. Most of the expenses related to a CCRC are out-of-pocket, though the Medicare program and Medicaid may cover some costs. Many CCRCs require a one-time entrance fee, as well as monthly maintenance fees. The entrance fee alone can run anywhere from $1,800 to $750,000, with the average fee costing $249,857.

The monthly costs are within the range of a few hundred dollars all the way to a few thousand dollars. With most of these payments coming out-of-pocket, this can be unaffordable for certain individuals.

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If you’ve made the decision to seek out a care facility to help you with your medical needs or day-to-day tasks, knowing your options is critical. There’s most likely a facility out there that suits you. With the help of your loved ones and your physician, you’ll find it.

Further Reading

Interim Healthcare — Different Types of Elder Care Communities