Levels Of Care For Seniors In Denver
Okay, so you’ve come to the conclusion that you need more care and support, and that you’re ready to make a move. First of all, congratulate yourself, because this is a hard decision to arrive at. No one wants to admit that they need help and may need to move out of their home.
Many seniors – and their families – wait too long to come to that conclusion, which can lead to an accident, injury, or health crisis. By being proactive, you’ve given yourself the widest range of options, and the time and emotional space to make a good decision. Again, congratulations!
Now that you’ve come to terms with the bad news (that you might have to bring help or move), here’s the good news: The Denver metro area has some of the best senior living options in the country. We have an abundance of choices, at reasonable prices, particularly when compared to other major metropolitan areas.
And the senior living industry has changed, significantly, in the recent past, and it continues to evolve to better meet the needs of seniors. If you helped someone else look for independent living or assisted living twenty years ago, or even five years ago, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by the senior living options that are out there today.
The primary choices for seniors include the following:
- in-home care
- independent living
- assisted living
- residential care facilities (board and care homes)
- memory care
- multi-level care communities (independent living, assisted living, and/or memory care, all in one complex)
- continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs)
- respite care
- short-term stays
- hospice care
Let’s take a look at the different levels of care that are available for seniors in Denver, so that you can better understand your options and begin to narrow down your search.
In-Home Care In Denver
Many seniors start with in-home caregivers, in order to get the support they need to continue living in their own homes. There are dozens of in-home care agencies in the Denver area, which offer support with meal preparation, housekeeping, laundry, and transportation – as well as companionship. Most of the in-home care companies require a minimum of 3-4 hours per caregiver shift, with at least one shift per week. They charge an hourly rate, typically from $25-$35 per hour.
Using an in-home care agency can be a great option if you can function independently, for the most part, but need a little help. To be able to safely remain in your apartment, condo, or house, you might also need to make some modifications, such as adding grab bars in your shower or a wheelchair ramp.
Independent Living In Denver
Independent living is exactly what it sounds like – seniors must be able to live independently. No daily care or assistance with medications is provided with independent living, but there are a bunch of great perks. For example, most independent living complexes in the Denver area offer 2-3 meals per day, individual and group transportation, emergency call systems and check-ins, and a slew of daily and weekly activities.
Assisted Living In Denver
Assisted living is a great choice for seniors who need help with daily living tasks and/or medications or incontinence. In assisted living, caregivers can administer medications and help with dressing, bathing, grooming, and toileting. All meals and snacks are included in the monthly fee, and there are usually a variety of activities at the larger assisted living facilities in Denver. Some assisted living facilities even offer individual and group transportation.
Residential Care Facilities (“Board and Care”) In Denver
For seniors who would prefer to receive assisted living care in a smaller, more “homey” environment, residential care facilities are the answer. Sprinkled throughout neighborhoods in Denver and the surrounding suburbs, residential care facilities typically have just 6-10 seniors in them. All meals and snacks are provided, and caregivers can help with all aspects of daily living, including dressing, bathing, grooming, and toileting. Also known as “board and care” or “personal care boarding homes,” these small facilities are licensed and regulated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Memory Care In Denver
Memory care can be provided in a variety of ways in the Denver metro area. Some assisted living facilities and residential care facilities integrate light memory care into their daily caregiving. Some multi-level care communities offer a secured, separate memory care environment. And there are also facilities that exclusively offer memory care.
If you’re experiencing memory issues, it’s important to be candid with the facilities (and potentially have an assessment done), in order to make sure that the facility you’re choosing can adequately provide the memory care support you need.
Multi-Level Care Communities In Denver
Multi-level care communities offer the best of all worlds, because they offer independent living, assisted living, and memory care in the same complex. In the Denver metro area, these tend to be large communities, with 100-200+ residents in them. Because of their sheer size and scale, most multi-level communities not only provide the gamut of care options, but they also offer extensive amenities and activities. Some even have skilled nursing options, which can be especially helpful if you require help with wound care, diabetes management, or other healthcare issues.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities In Denver
Continuing care retirement communities in Denver offer “lifetime care,” with independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care provided, for as long as you need it. Also known as “life care communities,” these types of complexes require a large move-in fee ($200,000 or more), but then guarantee care at a predictable monthly cost, for the rest of your life. Depending on the continuing care retirement community’s policies, a portion of the move-in fee can be transferred back to your estate after you die.
Skilled Nursing Facilities / Nursing Homes In Denver
Skilled nursing facilities (more commonly referred to as “nursing homes”) can be a godsend for seniors who are suffering from a short-term illness or recovering from an injury, accident, or surgery. But few seniors choose nursing homes as their permanent homes, if they can help it. Nonetheless, if your medical needs are ongoing or complex, you may need 24/7 care from skilled nurses, which can only be provided in a skilled nursing facility.
Respite Care And Short-Term Stays In Denver
Some assisted living, residential care facilities, and memory care facilities offer respite care, or the option of short-term stays. Respite care can be extremely helpful for families who are providing 24/7 care for seniors, but need a break, from time to time. Short-term stays might be required for seniors who are being released from the hospital but aren’t yet able to return home or to an independent living environment.
Hospice Care In Denver
Hospice care and palliative care can be brought into all types of senior living settings, including: in-home, independent living, assisted living, memory care, nursing homes, and hospitals. There are also stand-alone hospice care centers that provide care and housing for seniors who are dying. To qualify for hospice care, you need to be “terminally ill,” with less than six months life expectancy. You also need to agree to stop all medical treatments except for comfort and pain relief care.