When Is Long-Term Care Necessary?

According to her biographer, Anglo-Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen said of aging, “I think the main thing, don’t you, is to keep the show on the road.” Sometimes, the best way to keep the show on the road is with some help. If the natural aging process, declining memory, or even short-term setbacks like illness are causing disruptions, long-term care for seniors may be an ideal solution, offering support so seniors can live as well and independently as possible.

What Is Long-Term Care?

Long-term care for seniors is designed to meet the needs of people who have lost their capacity to function without assistance. In retirement communities, long-term care typically refers to assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing.

Assisted Living

Seniors who are no longer able to perform certain activities of daily living (ADLs) can get the help they need in assisted living. ADLs include dressing, grooming, bathing, going to the bathroom, getting in and out of bed, walking, preparing meals, and eating. Personalized support with ADLs means residents can get the support they need to continue to enjoy their lives.

How do you know when it’s time for assisted living? Many seniors are reluctant to admit that once-easy tasks now pose a challenge, so it can be helpful to notice signs that they’re  struggling. These signs include:

  • Noticeable weight loss may indicate difficulty grocery shopping, preparing meals or eating.
  • Poor hygiene may suggest that bathing and doing laundry are increasingly difficult.
  • Bruises, scrapes or falls can point to increasing mobility issues.
  • Messy or unsanitary living conditions may indicate that regular daily chores have become too demanding.
  • Moodiness, irritability, fatigue, insomnia or sadness may be signs of depression.

If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to a doctor who can help determine the cause and evaluate whether assisted living is an appropriate solution.

Memory Care

Seniors with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia can get the support they need in a safe, structured environment staffed with memory care professionals. Much like assisted living, memory care offers help with routine tasks of daily living. But the environment is also tailored to the unique needs of people with impaired memory. Structure and routine help allay the residents’ anxiety; the staff is trained to deal with the confusion and potential anger that impaired memory can cause; and alarms on the doors and other security features ensure that residents prone to wandering are kept safe.

Memory care often becomes necessary when memory impairment causes safety or behavior concerns. In addition to struggling with ADLs, a senior who would benefit from memory care may also:

  • Get lost, even along familiar routes
  • Forget to eat or drink
  • Forget medications or take incorrect dosages
  • Leave stove burners or other appliances on
  • Wander
  • Appear confused and disoriented
  • Become physically aggressive or verbally abusive
  • Become withdrawn or decline social invitations

Skilled Nursing

Seniors who need full-time care and assistance with many activities of daily living receive the care they need in skilled nursing. Here they’ll find trained medical staff, round-the-clock medical care, and access to rehabilitation services such as occupational, speech and physical therapists. Typically, seniors move into skilled nursing because of a doctor’s referral following injury, surgery, or an acute illness such as a stroke, or because of a chronic, debilitating condition. The duration of a person’s stay in skilled nursing can vary. Seniors who are recovering from surgery or illness may have a brief stay, while others with chronic conditions requiring ongoing medical supervision may need skilled nursing for an extended period of time.

Long-Term Care at Sedgebrook

The long-term care for seniors offered at Sedgebrook gives residents the specialized attention they need to live their best lives. Independent living residents who need a helping hand as they recover from illness or injury can enjoy in-home health services in the comfort of their apartment homes. For those who require long-term assistance or are coping with impaired memory, our certified assisted living memory care provides security and support from specially trained staff. And for residents recovering from surgery, injury or acute illness, or those who simply need ongoing medical support, our skilled nursing facility Radford Green has a 5-Star  rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Contact us to find out more about the long-term care options offered at Sedgebrook.

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