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An Introduction to Modern Senior Health Care

The more you know about the different types of senior health care, the better focus you will have on what you can provide.

With more people living longer, the options for senior health care expand every day. Seniors entering the marketplace look to strike a balance between maintaining the lifestyle that they want with the care and medical attention they need. Proactive care centers are exploring their options to stay on the cutting edge of senior service. Care centers need to evolve to stay successful. You can reach out to more seniors who might benefit from your help by delivering a wide variety of services for your clients.

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Types of Senior Care: The Basics

Elderly woman receiving medicinal injection from senior health care professional

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Assisted living, the blanket term for this kind of service, provides housing, support services and medical care for residents as needed. Assisted living starts with helping individuals who need assistance with their meals, making sure they take their medications or getting them to and from doctor’s appointments. A higher level of care can be given to those who might have mobility, incontinence or other health issues. Assisted living also provides high-level, long-term care for residents suffering from illnesses or memory disorders.

Most people equate assisted living with nursing homes, but there are several different styles that fall under this category. Independent living allows seniors to live much as they would outside assisted care, but their rental fees provide in-home services such as cooking and cleaning. Elderly housing like this can also provide additional services or programs that the residents may participate in for socialization and activity. These services are often known as congregate housing, and they contract out for meals and transportation from the living area. Home health care sends nurses and other care workers into family homes to help with seniors suffering from injuries or long-term illnesses. This also provides various types of therapy to help regain independence. Nursing homes are often used for long-term senior health care, but also assist hospitals by providing space for convalescence and short-term care. Medicare and Medicaid also provide some amount of assistance in paying for nursing home care.

Starting a Senior Health Care Center: Facility Needs

Your facility may focus on a specific type of care or it may offer different levels of support for your residents. Depending on what your facility does, it may have special needs that it requires to function properly. Most nursing homes and facilities that care for more than three persons not related to the owner must seek out State and Federal licenses to provide care. Applying for these licenses allows the facility to partake in Medicaid and Medicare funds which allow a wider variety of seniors to get care from the facility. Your facility might also consider special care units that specialize in caring for seniors that suffer from specific illnesses. Many assisted care providers have specialists that handle Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and other treatable illnesses. Some larger campuses experiment in spanning various types of assisted living in the same facility. These continuing care retirement communities offer independent living, assisted living and nursing home care in a central location.

photo collage showcasing modern senior healthcare of womenResident needs must be top priority. A good senior health care facility goes beyond medication monitoring and communal living. Eco-friendliness is an area many facilities are exploring to get an edge on the competition and to offer their residents a better quality of life. Going green is an excellent way to save money and give your facility a notable and unique feature to mention to potential residents. Activities and outings build a sense of community and appeal to those members of your community that don’t feel like they need assisted care yet. Residents appreciate not only a wide variety of activities but a staff that checks in and ensure those residents get and stay active.

Today’s Seniors: Demographic Trends

The entry of the Baby Boomers into the senior health care market means a wide variety of trends and options. Boomers don’t want the traditional hospital-style facility with a clinical feel. They want places that feel like home where family and friends can come for a visit, eat a good meal and enjoy spending time with a resident. They also enjoy things like continuing education, which could allow your facility to partner with a nearby college or university to help residents grow their knowledge base. Some facilities provide specialized care for a certain segment of the market. Aegis Gardens, for example, focuses on Chinese culture and has staff that’s bilingual.

More and more residents take advantage of the Internet as well. Installing Wi-Fi and high-speed Internet in your facility allows for modern device functionality. Seniors want to be able to talk to grandkids via programs like FaceTime and Skype. These facilities also offer Device Days, where experts can show residents how to operate newer technology like smartphones and tablets without making them feel embarrassed. Many residents and families in the market for assisted care go online to seek out reviews. Making sure your facility has an online presence and monitoring reviews and disputes can go a long way to encourage new residents to check you out first.

Assisted care and senior health care providers have a wide variety of options when looking to expand the types of care they can provide. Everyone needs a different level of care. The wide variety of facilities on the market means that the one-size-fits-all nursing home is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. These facilities range from large campuses with a variety of choices to small, intimate care providers focusing on a small clientele. New ideas in assisted care push the industry forward, whether its niche care appealing to a certain demographic to user feedback posted online for everyone to see. If your facility can master these differences, it will thrive to enhance the lives of your residents.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Daniel Oines licensed under CC by 2.0. Images licensed for use under the Creative Commons.