Different needs may require different physical layouts in community living.
I recently had a conversation with an 87-year-old gentleman, we’ll call Joe, who needs to move out of his life long home.
This fellow described himself as single, very active and generally in good health. He takes care of himself, including bathing, medication management, and food preparation.
On the other hand, his family feels he may be having some memory issues that need to be addressed soon.
So what is the best living situation for him?
Joe has had a very successful career in business and has enjoyed an active social life.
His desire is to continue living an active life without the burdens and responsibilities of homeownership.
As I asked him more questions about his plans and wishes for the future, it became apparent that he is ready for a very active and diverse community.
A large and multifaceted facility may be best for now. He enjoys tennis, swimming, and various physical activities, and some communities offer these amenities.
There is a caveat.
Since he may be developing some memory issues it is necessary to think of the future in any chosen community.
If that facility is a full continuum of care, meaning they have every level of care a person might need, then the ability to stay could be made available. That is an extremely important question to pursue with any community.
There are retirement communities in Kansas City that say they are a full continuum of care, but they lack a memory support unit.
Predicting the future is difficult at best, so being advised of all situations is important.
If every level of care is available what does the physical environment look like?
In one phase of lifestyle a large active community may be a good fit, but at the same time when care levels increase it may be preferable to be in a smaller more manageable and homelike environment.
Assisted Living and Memory Care units in Kansas City are better designed as smaller communities.
At a time in life when healthcare support is necessary, being in a large community with long hotel-like hallways, dining rooms that resemble large restaurants and medical care that feels institutional may actually be detrimental.
This is a time in life when the feeling of home is most important. Space that is manageable, secure and homey is very important for Elders in need of care. The size and configuration of the community is an important consideration.
The issue of Memory Care is particularly important.
Memory care is best provided in a small, intimate setting where the same caregivers are present every day. Large spaces can be threatening and add confusion and insecurity to the individual with Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Suddenly the large active community is not the right setting for advanced care.
Anticipating this need is important and future planning needs to be considered.
As I told Joe, there are times when a large multifaceted community can be a wonderful environment for an independent person.
In addition, it is important to think of the environment for more advanced care. The physical plant and the philosophy of care must be carefully considered.
At The Piper we provide the unique household model for Assisted Living and Memory Support because we believe that the best possible future for our Elders is provided in a homelike setting.
If you are interested in assisted living or memory care facilities in Kansas City, contact The Piper today to schedule a tour!