Jan. 3, 2014 11:00

Senior living gets the home treatment  


This isn't your grandmother's nursing home. As the Baby Boomer generation reaches "senior" status, more and more families are looking for options for their loved ones. And those options are becoming more diverse by the year.

"There is a drive for cultural change," says Nursing Facility Administrator Nandi Linscombe of Cornerstone Village South.

At a national level, senior housing facilities are offering more options like memory care as seniors live longer. Locally, Emeritus offers Alzheimer's and memory loss care specific to each resident's need. 

"For instance, if a resident is ready to go to work as a teacher, then we create an environment in which they would reminisce about being a teacher or how to prepare for their upcoming class," according to Emeritus. 

A move away from a one-size-fits-all approach means amenities tailored for residents' needs, and there's no sign of a demand for these cultural changes waning as more than 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 years old each day, growing closer to considering senior living options.

According to Linscombe, there is a push to make facilities more homelike. "[We're] giving the resident more choices," she says.

At Rosewood in Lafayette there are varying degrees of services based on needs ranging from independent living apartments to assisted living with options like daily bathing, dressing and medication monitoring. Camelot in Broussard offers both in- and out-patient rehabilitation services and an indoor pool for strength and endurance. That facility also offers living options from private to semi-private and therapies - speech, occupational and physical. 

Other facilities are offering options even more diverse, like temporary respite care at Garden View Assisted Living. With a four-day minimum, the temporary care can be either a transition to assisted living or an option post-rehabilitation for seniors before they want permanent residence but need assistance or have family traveling. Garden View also has an Alzheimer's focused unit with activities aimed at cognitive stimulation and security.

It all adds up to care that's closer to customized for each senior. 

As care options change so have state regulations, including a shift in the agency that monitors assisted living - it changed recently from the Department of Social Services to the Department of Health and Hospitals.

"Assisted living facilities were social models - basically apartment living for the elderly with assistance in some of the daily living skills such as bathing or medication," Linscombe says. "There are few social models left as there are more medical models with residents needing more care."

As the culture shifts and Baby Boomers begin to take up residence at senior facilities, the choices will continue to expand. The good news is that facility surveys must be displayed and available anytime to give you a better picture of your options. 

Click here to check out this checklist from the Louisiana Nursing Home Association before you look for the best options for your family. 


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