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Retirement Living – So Many Options

By Mary Holmes

The number of options for retirement living and downsizing continue to increase. There was a time when seniors would move from their lifelong home into a nursing home when a transition was necessary. Thankfully, many more wonderful choices exist today. Read on for a better understanding of the new retirement living landscape.

55+ Communities

This type of community is typically condominiums or stand-alone houses that are part of an association. As part of the association, there may be some services, such as plowing or landscaping. Primarily, though, this is the same as owning your own home – but you have the advantage of having neighbors that are similar in demographic to you. Obviously, there are no medical or transportation services. Residence who need extra services can hire one of the many non-medical home care companies in the area, e.g. Home Instead, Advantage Home Care, and Casco Bay Home Care. These organizations can provide transportation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, companionship, and other services. Two local 55+ Communities in our area are Royal Mariner Estates in Yarmouth and Rockwood Condominiums in Cumberland Foreside. You may also find 55+ communities within a broader retirement community, such is the case at The Highlands in Topsham.

Independent Living Most times, this living situation will be part of a retirement community. It could be a stand-alone house, a condominium, or an apartment within a building. Although there may be an opportunity to have meals in the community’s dining room, most times the homes will have a full kitchen for meal preparation. Seniors considering an independent living situation should not need to move for medical reasons and they should be able to accomplish all the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs – eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, and continence) on their own. If additional assistance is needed, you can utilize the non-medical services mentioned above or medical service companies, such as Kindred at Home. Some local communities that have independent living are Piper Shores in Scarborough, Plant Memorial Home in Bath, and The Woods at Canco in Portland.

Assisted Living

There are three levels of care that fall under the definition of assisted living, ranging from minimal assistance to needing help with all ADLs – but these communities stop short of 24-hour skilled nursing care. As a matter of fact, since assisted living facilities are considered non-medical facilities and are not required to have medical staff on site, quite often, the assistance is provided by non-medical personnel. Most facilities will have some level of medical staff on duty or on call, however. These type of facilities will typically offer three meals per day, help with ADLs, some housekeeping, transportation arrangements, and group social activities. A few communities in the area that offer assisted living are Thorton Oaks in Brunswick, Stroudwater Lodge in Westbrook, and Park Danforth in Portland. This category also includes memory care, either as a stand-alone facility such as Avita of Brunswick, or as part of a community, e.g. Bay Square in Yarmouth.

Nursing Homes

Nursing Homes are also known as Skilled Nursing Facilities and provide medical treatment prescribed by a physician. Some residents will go to a skilled nursing facility for a short time as a way to rehab after surgery, but others will require a long-term stay under medical supervision. These facilities will have 24-hour skilled nursing, rehab services, assistance with ADLs, social services and activities. The first 20 days of a Skilled Nursing Facilities stay will be covered by Medicare insurance if it was proceeded by a hospital stay of at least 3 days. The Cedars in Portland and Gorham House in Gorham both have skilled nursing services.

Also notable is that many communities are known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC). This allows a senior to age in place, moving from independent living to assisted living and finally to skilled nursing, if necessary. Some also will have memory care units. For the most part, you will need to change locations within the community as you move through the levels of care. However, some facilities allow you to stay in the same unit and only the level of care (and price) changes, such as Sunnybrook Senior Living in Brunswick.

As always if you have questions or need help downsizing or moving, please Contact Us.

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