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Senior Care Lingo: Defining the Terms (Feb. 2019)

February 19, 2019

In today’s senior care/senior living landscape, it seems like there are SO MANY terms and expressions that one can easily become confused or overwhelmed. And as much education as we try to provide, we still get a lot of questions about the different terminology.

Here are some commonly-asked questions we get at Concordia from families and individuals just starting their search for senior care services or a retirement community. (Here are links to past articles on this subject: January 2017, January 2018 and October 2016.)

1 CSH Couple OutsideWhat is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) and how can living in one impact my long-term needs?

According to CARF-CCAC (an international, independent, non-profit accreditor of health and human services), a CCRC:

"provides and/or arranges for a continuum of residential and support services from residential living through nursing care... The persons served have the choice of flexible accommodations that are designed to meet their changing needs over time."

What exactly does this mean for you or your loved one? Simply put, a CCRC is a facility/campus that offers at minimum, three levels of care: independent living, personal care/assisted living and skilled nursing care. The important point to note, however, is that any organization with multiple levels of care can claim to be a CCRC. To ensure you or your loved one will be in the best environment possible, verify that the organization is CCRC-accredited by an independent third party (like CARF-CCAC). Additionally, if an organization has more levels of care than the standard three, it is possible that the facility/campus will offer more comprehensive accommodations.

How specifically will living in a CCRC impact an individual’s long-term needs? The answer is simple: a CCRC promotes seniors to “age in place” by offering multiple levels of care/service. As an individuals’ long-term needs evolve, the type of care needed transitions as well. Relocating can be difficult for anyone, let alone someone who possibly had a health episode. When that person is able to stay on the same campus, or at the very least, within the same organization, it can reduce the “transfer trauma” significantly.

What is Memory Care and how is it different from standard personal care/assisted living services?

Memory Care is a special type of care designed specifically for individuals with memory-impairing ailments. This type of care involves making specialized accommodations that permit individuals to receive the attentive and expert care they require. Accommodations may include: higher staffing ratios, more comprehensive safety measures, more activity hours per resident and structured daily routines. Some personal care or assisted living communities (including Concordia’s) can sufficiently care for those with a memory impairment, but not all are appropriately equipped.

What is the difference between Type A, Type B and Type C retirement communities?

Type A retirement communities, also known as “life care communities,” typically have considerably higher entrance fees and monthly rates than Types B and C. The benefit of this model is that there are no dramatic price increases if an individual were to need additional care services later on. The downside of this model, however, is that an individual may never need additional care services and therefore would pay a greater initial cost for no reason.

Type B retirement communities are a hybrid of both A and C models. An individual can expect to pay higher entrance fees and monthly rates compared to type C, buy not as much as type A. This model offers a limited range of personal care services; however, the extent of services is based upon the discretion of each facility.

Type C retirement communities, also known as a “pay as you go” models, typically have the lowest entrance fees and monthly rates. The benefit of this model is that an individual pays for only the services they receive at a market rate. This model effectively eliminates the possibility of overspending. For individuals who know initially they will need long-term personal care services, this model may not be the most cost effective compared to types A and B. However, the length of time individuals spend in higher levels of care (such as skilled nursing or assisted living) has been decreasing for years.

What is the difference between in-home health care and private care?

Typically, in-home health care is when an individual is receiving health care services in their home environment from a skilled medical professional. This care can be administered by a registered or licensed nurse, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist or physical therapist following a prescribed care plan after an ailment. In-home health care is typically paid for by insurance or Medicare.

Private care, on the other hand, is assistance with everyday activities including housekeeping, bathing/hygiene, meal preparation, pet care, etc. Private care can be long-term or short term and is typically paid for out-of-pocket, so it is not subjected to insurance restrictions. When you or a loved one is looking for private care in your home environment, it is important that you find an agency with a long record of service who screens its employees thoroughly.

Whatever senior care services or senior living you are looking for in western PA, eastern OH, or Tampa, FL, whether for yourself or your loved ones, check out what all of the Concordia locations and home care services can provide for you. With a wealth of care levels and services, finding the right fit for your senior or health care needs is easier than ever. Call our administrative headquarters at 724-352-1571 or message us through our online contact form to ask about what Concordia can do for you.

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