[Narrator] At some point, older adults who live at home may require services that go beyond what friends, family, and local programs can provide. That’s when facility-based long-term care can play an important role. The most common types are nursing homes where much of the focus is on medical care.
[Linda Velgouse] Nursing homes provide 24-hour housing, health care, and personal services, supervision 24 hours a day, and most nursing homes also provide rehab services. [Narrator] Many facilities provide several levels of care in one location. They are called continuing care communities. The Lincolnia facility in Northern Virginia provides both assisted living and independent living. Assisted living is housing that provides some supervision as well as help with personal care, meals, and activities. It does not generally provide health care.
[Charles Woznak] Assisted living – we help them with tasks of daily living, be it taking their medicines or getting dressed, brushing their teeth. We prepare three hot meals a day, provide two snacks.
[Narrator] Assisted living residents usually live in their own apartments or rooms and share common areas.
[Mary Louise] Living quarters are all the same as you see it here. We share a bathroom and we share the basin. We have our own bed. We have our own TV, our own radio, and our own privacy.
[Narrator] A typical day for someone in assisted living might go something like this.
[Carolyn] You get up at the crack of dawn and we walk on down, get our medicine, then we come down and have breakfast. Then I take my morning nap which is until about 11 o’clock. Then I stay down here pretty much for the rest of the day. We do activities. [Narrator] Independent living at a continuing care facility is for people who can still live on their own and don’t require the level of care provided in assisted living. Roberta has lived independently at Lincolnia for over 20 years.
[Roberta] I came here with my husband because my husband was diagnosed as having cancer and I knew that as time went on I was going to need help caring for him. So both of us agreed that the thing to do was enter a senior citizen home and sell our double-wide mobile home over in Chantilly. So that is what we did, and I’ve never been sorry.
[Carolyn Martin] Independent living allows our residents to live their life with freedom of choice, being able to prepare their own meals. They can set their own design of living, whether it be a living room area, with a sofa bed or if they have their own bedroom set, their own furniture.
[Narrator] Those who live independently can still enjoy the activities and opportunities for companionship that a continuing care facility offers.
[Roberta] Sometimes I will eat here in my apartment. Sometimes I will go down to the dining room in the recreation center and have dinner there. And it’s always nice to be able to sit down and chat with my neighbors. I really enjoy that a lot.
[Narrator] Social and recreational activities provide opportunities for people to interact with one another, which can help reduce isolation and loneliness.
[Resident] You meet nice people here and they take you to meet other people that are nice.
[Resident] Keeps you from being lonely.
[Narrator] If you are considering a long-term care facility, a good rule of thumb is to first make sure the facility is licensed and then pay a visit in person before you make a decision.
[Linda Velgouse] First off, go to a facility and kind of just get a feel for what that facility is and talk to people there, either to the administrative people, to staff, get a sense of it. And also, talk with friends and family who’ve already had experience with long-term care and that will help you to make decisions and get information.
[Narrator] For more information about facility-based long-term care, contact the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116. Or visit www.eldercare.gov. You can also contact your local area agency on aging.