With so many options available, it can be difficult to choose among the different types of housing for older adults. According to the State of Ohio Long-Term Care Consumer Guide, the fist step is to know what options are available. Next, consider your needs, values and preferences, and identify those most important to you. Finally, match these needs, values and preferences to your options.
Independent Living Facilities - These feature apartments in which services are not included as part of the rent, though the residents may be able to get them for an additional fee. Access to these apartments may be age-restricted.
Congregate and Retirement Housing - Apartments in which residents feature some services, such as a daily meal with other tenants. The buildings usually have common areas such as a dining room and lounge, and may have built-in safety features including railings and emergency call buttons. Some may be rent-subsidized (Section 8 housing).
Residential Care and Assisted Living Facilities - Offer private suites or apartments with congregate services, personal care and limited skill care.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities - Offer multiple levels of care (independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care), housed in different areas of the same community. As a result, residents can remain in the same community even if needs change. They have residential services (meals, housekeeping, laundry, etc.), social and recreational services, health care services, personal care and nursing care. They charge a monthly fee and sometimes require a large entrance fee.
Adult Care Facilities and Group Homes - Provide housing and limited personal services for three to 16 adults.
Nursing Homes - These facilities are licensed by the state to offer residents personal care and skilled nursing care 24 hours a day. They also provide room and board, supervision, medication, therapies and rehabilitation. Residents typically share rooms and eat in a communal dining area. Nursing homes may also include Special Care Units with services specifically for people with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, head injuries or other medical conditions.
While there are many differences among each of these housing options, all must provide three basic types of services:
• Hotel services such as housekeeping, laundry service, congregate service and transportation.
• Personal care services assist with “activities of daily living” (bathing, dressing, using the toilet, transferring in and out of a bed or chair, eating, walking) as well as with self-administration of medications and preparation of special diets.
• Skilled nursing care indicates a “higher level” of care (such as injections, catheterizations and dressing changes), which must be provided by trained medical professionals, including nurses and therapists.
For more information, contact the Ohio Department of Aging (866-243-5678) or call the Area Agency on Aging (330-896-9172).