Now that you know a bit more about Independent and Assisted Living, as well as Skilled Nursing, I will explore the concept of a continuum of care and how it relates to your loved one. I will cover what a continuum of care is and why it is so essential for you to understand.
In the last few posts, I’ve discussed the different types of long-term care, from Independent and Assisted Living to Skilled Nursing. While hopefully, you now understand the services and options each choice has to offer, making that choice for yourself can still be overwhelming. And you probably know that your loved one may need more than just one or two types of care.
Long-term care is a journey with many different stages and stops along the way that require a significant amount of attention. This long journey, and all its moving pieces, make up your loved one’s continuum of care.
What is a continuum of care?
At its very basic, a continuum of care is the services delivered over a period of time and incorporates all the stages and aspects of someone’s care journey. It encompasses everything that goes into providing that care, including adapting and addressing their constantly changing needs. Proper management of this continuum can create a consistency that affords your loved one prosperity and peace of mind.
In senior care, embracing and optimizing your loved one’s continuum of care is also referred to as aging in place. Allowing your loved one to continue living as part of the same community while maintaining an optimal level of care and attention is crucial.
In an ideal situation, this continuum of care is provided in one place or as few distinct places as possible. These different steps can include:
- Independent Living
- Assisted Living
- Skilled Nursing
- Memory Care
- Specialized therapies
- Palliative and hospice care
Think of it like going camping. You may need food, equipment, first aid supplies, etc. You could trek to 4 different stores, or you could go to a big box store to get everything all at once! Which one is easier? Which one is less stressful?
In terms of senior care, some programs and communities offer a wide range and a variety of options to address these concerns. While it may not be possible to have all your needs met in one place, many communities strive to achieve this. The more robust a program or community is, the more stops on your continuum of care it will cover.
Why is this so important?
While a consistent continuum of care is essential for anyone going through treatment or any type of care, it is especially important for seniors. When your loved one’s health and assistance with daily activities become a major priority, it is imperative to understand their needs can often change, sometimes rapidly, and with uncertainty.
These changes can create instability, but it is still vital for seniors to keep a routine that is as uninterrupted as possible. Keeping a schedule can:
- Significantly reduce unhealthy stress and tension.
- Improve memory and mitigate the effects of aging, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Ensure consistency of healthy and beneficial habits, as well as safety, calm and mental health.
- Help you manage your life and reduce your own stress around caregiving.
Minimizing the number of transitions during your loved one’s care is essential to reducing stress and creating a comfortable and independent environment. The fewer the interruptions, the more your loved one can focus on their health and enjoy their life. This isn’t easy to do when you have to move from one community to another to a hospital to another community and so on with continually changing health needs.
It is also not uncommon for seniors to require Skilled Nursing services for a brief time, if not longer. Communities that offer Skilled Nursing with Assisted or Independent Living (or all three in our case here at Waunakee Manor) afford your loved one the care they need with less disruption. This gives you the peace of mind that they are receiving the appropriate care, without interrupting their important routine
What else should I look for?
While all aspects of care are personal and unique to each individual, a general rule of thumb, as mentioned above, is to have as many of your loved one’s needs met in one place. This is especially true if they require advanced care or specialized services.
Communities that have additional offerings such as Memory Care or specialized on-site staff are often more ideal. Be sure when looking for the best community for your loved one, options like these are available. The less anyone has to seek care outside their home and community, the better.
I know long-term care often involves navigating challenging circumstances. Hospice and palliative care is one part of this continuum that also must be considered. Though challenging to think about, having these essential care elements close by can give you security as you plan for the future, allowing you to enjoy the present. We are proud to offer these services here at Waunakee Manor, ensuring your loved one can stay in the community they call home for as long as possible.
What else do you have to offer?
At Waunakee Manor, we are proud to offer a variety of services that can cover an extensive portion of your loved one’s continuum of care.
Our staff is here 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our 20-bed newly built state-of-the-art ventilator unit is just another way we offer a wide variety of services to meet as many of your loved one’s needs as possible – all in our community.
It also makes an enormous difference when your loved one is cared for by someone they know and have faith in. When we provide a majority of their care, we get to know your loved one on a personal level. When we see them every day, and they see us, there is an element of trust and familiarity that is so important to healthy aging.
Reach out to us today to learn more about how our care team at Waunakee Manor can help manage your loved one’s continuum of care in as few steps as possible.