Home and community-based care may include assistive devices, personalized care plans, assisted living and resident services. Other seniors have lived in large housing facilities with amenities like restaurants, movie theaters, and shopping centers.
A program to preserve the right to senior housing is important for the sustainability of the system. Proper senior housing strategy planning requires careful consideration of what the program can do for seniors, as well as what’s in the best interest of seniors who need assisted living.
New retirement standards of care established under the Americans with Disabilities Act mandate that states address the needs of older adults with more comprehensive access to advanced nursing, physical therapy, and supportive services. State programs such as Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and Pennsylvania have begun using federal grants to implement home-based services in their facilities. Arizona Department of Aging partnered with local seniors to design a community-based senior care approach in Tucson.
Existing programs are linked through networks with established seniors services, which gives the participating facilities the ability to build strategic partnerships that help those who need our help.
Existing program work may also be enhanced by leveraging state and local policies and other information from longitudinal studies, social service and advocacy groups, and the community that serves seniors. For example, elderly-specific information can be collected through a collaborative study funded by a TANF grant in Minnesota, which allowed for a community-based approach to advocate for state-level options to prevent senior suicides.
Choosing to serve less than the full need and for community-based services in support of appropriate state policy decisions is more than a public policy choice, it’s a moral decision. For many, serving less than the full need means knowing that care could be given in a less hospitable environment than a facility that has some pride and faith in its residents. And without those who have been through the process of living independently, if those seniors have lived through that experience, the sad truth is that they have suffered enough.
The best type of care for those who need it: home-based living
Housing should be based on capacity. That is, you serve those who need care. Housing that’s fully served and can be sustained with minimal changes needs to be smaller, more portable, and in close proximity to home.
In providing less need-based care and in communities where senior housing is not being used, residents may be exposed to less stimulation and more isolation. Residents of community-based senior living may have fewer opportunities to meet others, while those with other senior living programs may have more interaction with volunteers, and at times may have opportunities to practice behavioral health strategies and social skills.
Lack of space and less mobility creates many challenges for residents. Because they are closer to home, residents often miss out on many services that seniors could receive if they live in facilities that are greater than capacity.
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