Multiple levels of senior housing options
Contributing columnist Lenna Scott GRID: Senior column tease pic
Updated: March 14, 2013 1:30PM
Recently in California an individual died when a retirement community would not perform CPR. This incident has lead to many questions about different levels of senior housing. What do the different levels provide and what should be expected from each level?
In Illinois, the Illinois Department of Aging is a reliable resource for senior housing information. There are several documents available online and in addition, they operate a Senior HelpLine for more specific questions. Below is a basic overview to help seniors and their caregivers to understand the most common types of senior housing options available.
Retirement Communities or Senior Apartments are usually apartments designed for older individuals who are able to care for themselves. According to the Illinois Department on Aging, no medical services are provided.
Independent Living Communities are designed for residents that can be self-sufficient. They are usually apartments with dining options available and social programming. Some Independent Living Communities may provide transportation. Nursing or other medical care is not a part of the services provided by the community. An Independent Living Community may have a separate Home Health Company on site to provide nursing services.
Assisted Living facilities must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health. According to the Illinois Department on Aging, “assisted living may be offered in residential housing, an independent living facility, freestanding facility, sheltered care facility or nursing facility.” In Assisted Living environments assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL) are provided, but not nursing care. Common ADL’s include bathing, dressing, and toileting.
Sheltered Care Facilities also provide assistance with ADL’s, but also provide “meals, housekeeping, medication assistance or supervision.” These are included as part of the care in the facility. They are also licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Supportive Living Facilities “are affordable assisted living settings administered by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Medicaid is accepted.”
Skilled Care Facilities are what most people call Nursing Homes. They provide 24-hour nursing care including administration of medications, including IV medications, tube feeding and wound care. Some offer short-term rehabilitation and some accept Medicare or Medicaid. Skilled Care Facilities are reviewed annually by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) offer a continuum of care that usually begins with Independent Living. Many CCRC’s also have Assisted Living facilities on site as an intermediate step.
The Senior HelpLine is available Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The toll-free number within Illinois is 1-800-252-8966. They are also available by email email@example.com or online www.state.il.us/aging.
Lenna Scott is the Director of Marketing at The Wealshire, a short-term rehab, skilled nursing and assisted living community in Lincolnshire. She lives in Buffalo Grove with her husband and two children. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org