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Long Term Care: Understanding Types of Support 

As we age, there is an increasing likelihood that we need assistance with daily activities due to chronic illnesses, disabilities, or simply the natural process of getting older. Long term care is a vital aspect of healthcare that provides the necessary support and services for individuals who require assistance with daily living tasks over an extended period. In this blog, we will delve into what long term care is, explore the different levels of care available, and help you gain a comprehensive understanding of this crucial aspect of aging. 

What is Long Term Care? 

Long term care (LTC) refers to a broad range of services designed to meet the medical, personal, and social needs of individuals who have lost some capacity to function independently. These services aim to improve the quality of life for those who can no longer perform essential everyday tasks on their own. Long term care can be provided in various settings, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities such as The Cedars. 

The Three Levels of Long Term Care 

There are three basic levels of long term care, skilled care (also called healthcare living), assisted living, and independent senior living. The Cedars offers all three levels of care and it’s important to understand the differences. 

Skilled Care 

Skilled care, or as we call it, Healthcare Living, is the highest level of long term care, offering comprehensive 24/7 medical supervision and professional healthcare services. It is typically provided in nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities, such as The Cedars. Individuals who require skilled care often have complex medical needs that demand continuous monitoring and specialized medical attention. Our skilled care residences are staffed with registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants. 

The services provided in skilled care include wound care, medication management, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other medical treatments. Our facility is equipped to handle chronic medical conditions like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or other debilitating illnesses that require ongoing care and management. Residents in healthcare living at The Cedars also enjoy daily community and social activities. 

Assisted Living 

Intermediate care falls between skilled care and personal care in terms of the level of support provided. This level of long term care is suitable for individuals who do not require constant medical supervision but still need regular assistance with daily activities and healthcare monitoring.  

In assisted living, residents can receive help with tasks like bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and medication reminders. The focus is on promoting independence while ensuring that individuals receive the support they need to maintain a decent quality of life. Trained staff members are available around the clock to attend to residents' needs and ensure their safety. In addition to access to medical care and assistance, our assisted living residents also enjoy social activities and other community amenities. 

Independent Senior Living 

While this type of care requires less hands-on medical assistance, independent living is a crucial part of a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) such as The Cedars. Residents who live in independent living enjoy the comfort of their own home—a duplex—complete with appliances, and safety features such as low-entry showers and handrails if necessary. 

Residents living independently have access to our community amenities including the wellness center, therapy pool, and can enjoy walking paths on our beautiful campus. We also offer social activities and optional religious and spiritual activities. These residents find comfort knowing that as they age, they can move to the level of long term care they need—whether assisted living or skilled nursing. 

Choosing the Right Level of Care 

Deciding on the appropriate level of long term care for yourself or your loved one can be challenging, as it depends on the individual's unique needs and circumstances. Here are some factors to consider when making this important decision: 

  • Medical Needs: Evaluate the person's medical condition and determine whether skilled nursing care or a lower level of support would be sufficient. 
  • Daily Activities: Assess the individual's ability to perform daily activities independently, such as bathing, dressing, and cooking. Choose a level of care that provides the necessary support. 
  • Social Interaction: Consider the social needs of the person. Assisted living facilities and residential care communities can offer a sense of community and social engagement. 
  • Cost: Understand the financial implications of each level of care and explore available options, such as long term care insurance or government assistance programs. 
  • Personal Preferences: Involve the individual in the decision-making process and consider their preferences regarding the type of care and setting. 

Is Long Term Care Right for Your Loved One? 

Long term care is a critical component of ensuring a dignified and comfortable life for individuals who require assistance with daily living tasks. Understanding the three levels of long term care - skilled care, assisted living, and independent living - can help you make informed decisions about the most suitable level of support for yourself or your loved ones.  

Remember to consider individual needs, medical requirements, social preferences, and financial considerations when choosing the right level of care. By doing so, you can ensure that you or your loved ones receive the appropriate support and maintain the best possible quality of life throughout the aging journey. 

You can tour The Cedars campus with our Assisted Living, Healthcare Living and Independent Living residences by calling 620-241-0919 or reach out online

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