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A Place for Mom and Dad: Senior Housing Options

When it's time to revise your own-or your parents'-living arrangements, it pays to plan ahead. Understand the types of housing options available and how to determine the best fit.

A Place for Mom and Dad: Senior Housing Options
Photo by Todd Buchanan

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Memory Care

If you know someone living with a form of dementia—such as Alzheimer’s disease—you know about the feelings of despair, confusion, loss, and pain that go side-by-side with memory loss.

But even with memory loss, life can still offer many rewards. Certified memory-care facilities go to great lengths to take care of residents struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Many times, residents start out in assisted living and then move to a more secure environment.

After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Mary’s mom moved to The Shores in Duluth, part of the beautiful Ecumen Lakeshore community. At first, Marsha lived in an apartment with assisted living services. She had a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom, ate all meals in a common lakeside dining area, and socialized with other residents. “She felt like she was part of a family,” Mary says. “Every week she had her nails done, and she often did craft projects or played group games led by the staff. She was also able to attend a church service every week, which was important to her. Since the facility was right on shore of Lake Superior, they often took all the residents on walks near the lake, which was a highlight.”

When it became clear that Mary’s mom needed a more secure environment to meet her changing needs, she moved to Lakeshore’s sister community, Bayshore Health Center, to receive skilled nursing care.
“They provided and coordinated the transfer, which made the process seamless,” Mary says.

Mary and her family have peace of mind knowing her mom is in a memory care neighborhood that provides the right balance of safety, security, and independence; a warm, welcoming, vibrant environment that feels like “home.”

Skilled Nursing Care

Twenty-four hour skilled nursing services are available from licensed nurses. Many nursing homes also now provide short-term rehabilitative stays for those recovering from an injury, illness, or surgery. Long-term care residents generally have high care needs and complex medical conditions that require routine skilled nursing services. Residents typically share a room and are served meals in a central dining area unless they are too ill to participate. Activities are available. Some facilities have a separate unit for Alzheimer’s residents.

Residential Care Homes

Residential care homes typically serve residents who live together and receive care from live-in caretakers. These homes offer assisted care services for seniors who want a more private, home-like community. Assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing, are provided.  

Home Care

Home care allows people to remain in their homes, while receiving the assistance they need to remain independent. Home care providers come over on a regular basis to help with bathing, dressing, meals, transportation to appointments, companionship, and emotional support. Care plans are created based on circumstances and needs. If the plan changes, the home care provider will try to help the homeowner find the right level of care depending on the medical, social, functional, and financial realities of each individual situation.

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