Personal Care vs. Assisted Living: What's the Difference?

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Personal Care vs. Assisted Living: What's the Difference?

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personal care vs. assisted livingMany Louisville families looking for a care provider for their older loved ones begin their search without a clear understanding of the various types of care that are available to them. Assisted living communities, for example, are different than modern personal care homes (PCHs), which are in turn somewhat different than most people’s conception of a traditional nursing care center.

Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) like Episcopal Church Home combine elements of all three. They encompass several levels of the senior care, allowing residents to progress along the aging continuum without having to move to a new home.

Today, we thought it might be beneficial to compare and contrast the various retirement home forms, so that you’ll have a better idea which one might be the best fit for your senior relative’s current and future needs.

Retirement communities function on a social care model

Often, as seniors age, they begin to feel lonely. Their children move away and start their own families, sometimes in towns far away. Friends move away or pass on. After retirement, they 

personal care vs. assisted living

might rarely see their former colleagues, with whom they spent a significant portion of their working lives. And when a partner passes away, a widow or widower might feel intensely isolated.

Retirement communities, or senior communities, are just that: communities whe

re older people live. Retired persons can live near, meet, and socialize with people their own age.

This benefit shouldn’t be overlooked, from a health standpoint. Research has indicated that seniors who maintain an active, healthy social life are less likely to suffer from depression, memory problems, and even early-onset dementia.

Assisted living communities provide help with the tasks of daily living

Slightly more toward the medical management side of the senior care continuum is assisted living. But let there be no misconception here: an assisted living community is not a skilled nursing care center. They’re even licensed and regulated differently by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Seniors living in assisted living communities tend to need just a little bit of help with things the rest of us accomplish as a matter of course. They might need transportation, because they no longer drive. They may need a little bit of help bathing, dressing, cooking or cleaning. They might need management or some gentle compliance monitoring of their medication routine, but otherwise they’re still living quite independently.

Assisted living residents benefit from having help close by when they need it. They don’t receive 24-hour nursing care or round-the-clock personal care.

Personal care homes aren’t the “nursing homes” of yesteryear

True, PCHs provide skilled nursing care. Most often, their residents receive round-the-clock medical monitoring. Some residents in a PCH might require specialized memory care for cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or age-associated dementia.

But residents of personal care homes aren’t helpless or bedridden. They’re not shut-ins. They’re just seniors who need stronger support to stay as healthy and active as possible.

Personal care homes provide socialization opportunities. They plan outings and events for their residents. Most modern PCHs feel “homey.” They have bright, cheery interior decorations and plenty of natural lighting, and they don’t feel at all clinical.

Most provide basic health services and medication management, but don’t provide advanced life support. Residents often have their own apartment homes or private rooms within the community and are free to move about their days as they see fit.personal care vs. assisted living

Residents of memory care units within a PCH might live in a secured environment with stepped-up monitoring, but are free to move about common areas, socialize, engage in activities and live out their lives as normally as possible.

CCRCs blend all three care types

In a CCRC, a senior might begin retirement living completely independently in his or her own cottage or apartment home. Spouses, of course, live together. It’s a bit like living in a condominium complex, except that everyone in the neighborhood is an elder.

As medical needs change, a CCRC resident might begin receiving assisted living services in his or her home, or might move to another area within the same community that can provide closer medical monitoring and more personal care.

Couples with differing medical needs might live on different wings, but they don’t need to live far apart, in separate facilities. This makes transitioning between the different levels of care easier for all parties, and minimizes disruption to seniors’ daily lives when a medical care advancement becomes necessary.

See the difference residential retirement care could make in your older loved one’s life.

Here at Episcopal Church Home in Louisville, residents enjoy just the right level of care they need, wherever and whenever they need it. We provide person-centered, dignified care for seniors, and much-needed peace of mind for their family caregivers.

If your senior loved one might benefit from independent retirement living, assisted living, personal care, or residential memory care, we invite you to come see our community. Click here to schedule your family’s tour today.

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Bryan Reynolds
June 07, 2017
Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

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