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When Assisted Living Isn’t Enough

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

When Assisted Living Isn’t Enough

You and your family may be beyond frustrated and sad about your aging loved one’s situation, and you may think you have no options. However, the truth is that there’s always something that can be done to optimize health and wellbeing when assisted living isn’t enough.

Whether it’s consulting a geriatrician for expert advice and care information, finding a senior care community that specializes in memory care, or exploring Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE); there are services and expertise available to you and your family.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation’s 65+ demographic, which currently accounts for 13% of the overall population, is expected to more than double by 2050 to more than 89 million – roughly 20% of the population – and 5% accounts for people 80 years and older. It’s no mystery that people are living longer these days, so families have to make tough choices for aging family members on a daily basis.

Discover options that may be available to you, depending on your loved one’s unique situation.

Continuing Care and Memory Care Communities

If your aging family member’s needs have outgrown their family home, senior living community or assisted living community, there are other options available.

Some families know in advance that they want a community that offers different levels of care as their loved one ages, and these communities are known as a continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), or lifetime communities. CCRCs are retirement communities with accommodations for independent living, assisted living and nursing home care, offering residents a continuum of care. Your elderly family member can spend the rest of his or her life in a CCRC, moving between levels of care, as needed. This type of community is often called ‘aging in place’ as the services and accommodations offered evolve as level of care progresses with age. As with any living arrangement, it is important to look at services offered by each community, the possible benefits and disadvantages, the costs, and the contractual obligations of the CCRC.

Memory care communities have become very prevalent these days for people who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Memory care caters to residents’ specific needs, and the communities are often in a secure assisted living or nursing home setting, usually in a separate floor or wing with layouts to accommodate wandering. Residents may live in semi-private apartments or private rooms and have structured activities delivered by staff members trained specifically on caring for those with memory impairment.

A person who suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s will eventually require 24-hour supervised care in catered settings, making memory care a preferred choice for many families. But, again, it’s important to do your research and find a community that compliments your loved one’s needs and personality; while also keeping the family budget in mind.

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

PACE is a Medicare and Medicaid program that helps people meet their health care needs in the community instead of going to a nursing home or other care facility.

If your aging loved one qualifies for PACE, he or she would have a team of health care professionals working with your family to get the care needed for your family member’s specific medical condition.

PACE organizations offer care in the home, community and the PACE center, but there are specific requirements needed to participate in this program, so you’ll need to research whether it’s right for your family. Follow this link to find out more information about the Sutter PACE Program.

Speaking with a Geriatrician

Last, but certainly not least, a geriatrician is always an excellent source of information for families. As a medical doctor who specializes in senior care, a geriatrician is specially trained to meet the unique healthcare needs of older adults, and answer medical questions for both patients and family members. If you are looking for another perspective or second opinion from your loved one’s doctor, a geriatrician is an informed professional who can help answer questions and discuss unique care needs.

Geriatricians are in fairly short supply, as to date relatively few doctors have chosen to specialize in aging adults.

As an added benefit, geriatricians are cross-trained in palliative care, and are experienced in helping families navigate goals of care, difficult symptoms, and other challenges that come up in the last years of life.


We specialize in helping families with Assisted Living, Residential Home Placement and In-Home Care Services.

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