Home could be described as the center of an individual’s universe. It is where one feels safe, where needs will be met, and where self-expression is welcomed. Realizing this ideal has much to do with a person’s ability to accept outward change with calmness, wisdom and understanding. Continuum care is a concept of senior living also termed ‘aging in place’, which evolved to minimize change in the later years.
Graduated care for senior citizens provided on one residential campus allows entry to the community at varying levels of independence. The range of accommodations generally includes units for private living, assisted living environments, and intermediate to skilled nursing care. St. Anthony Health Care first offers assisted living with flexible degrees of support, and includes in-unit nursing care for different health needs of couples. Sub-acute care is available for people simply seeking rehabilitation with medical services.
A recent posting on a retirement website states that almost one hundred retirement communities are being developed near or on college or university grounds. A wide assortment of activities from art to sports will keep elders learning and growing. In addition, there are many commonalities among Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), creating a consensus on the fundamentals of well-being in advancing years. Physical activity, mental stimulation, a sense of play, interaction with a larger community, cultural events, a spiritual life, and good nutrition form the backbone of healthy living.
Physical security is provided through adaptation. When activities of daily living (ADL) are harder to accomplish, professionals on campus and family members can work with the resident to re-evaluate care needs. Although dressing and personal care may be challenging, overall physical and emotional health could remain very good. The amount and type of social activities can be customized, along with mode of transportation and degree of independent decision making.
A sense of safety increases when the unit, building and grounds are maintained well and proactively. Reliable services provided with consistency, such as housekeeping, meals in a dining room and visible security personnel, allow relaxation and comfort. Health care staff and services right at hand prevent unnecessary concern and anxiety. The campus employees can set a positive tone for each resident by sharing in the idea of creating a home environment.
Connection to loved ones is a golden thread of happiness. Family members can draw on multiple resources to plan the best living situation for older relatives and parents. Children must ask the right questions and listen to the answers, thus allowing a perhaps uncertain elder to express himself clearly in decision-making. Being heard is crucial throughout life.
One important ingredient of any successful continuum of care recipe is the wellness check. Regardless of one’s measure of independence, a nearby, familiar voice asking ‘How are you today?’ can make the difference between being a tenant and being a family member. In addition, emergency alert programs in units enable residents to enjoy life more fully and relish the fruits of their lifetime endeavors. Safety, security, and self-expression contribute to lasting well-being.