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How to Determine the Level of Care Your Loved One Needs

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A senior living facility that would be a perfect fit for one person might be inappropriate for another person.

The Level of Care your loved one needs is a threshold consideration for moving to a senior living facility, both for the person in need of care and for the facility. The decision of where to live is highly individual. A senior living facility that would be a perfect fit for one person might be inappropriate for another. Here are some factors that can help you know how to determine the level of care your loved one needs when looking for the right senior living community.

Evaluate Your Loved One’s Health

Several decades ago, elderly relatives who did not live independently or with family moved into one of two places, a nursing home or a rest home. An older person in good health lived in a rest home, and a person who needed daily assistance with medical or personal care went to a nursing home. Both facilities were somewhat institutional, with little privacy or personal space.

We now have many different levels of care available for seniors. If your loved one still enjoys robust health, he can consider an independent living center. These planned communities usually do not have younger people or children living in them. There is very little difference between these centers and a person’s previous home, except the age of one’s neighbors.

On the other hand, some seniors need ongoing medical treatments, like assistance with medication and monitoring of blood sugar and blood pressure. If the older person can walk fairly well and take care of her own personal care, like bathing and dressing, she has several options. She could live in an assisted living facility that provides these services onsite. Assistance with the evaluation can be with your doctor, a social worker, or gerontologist.

Does He Need Memory Care?

A common misconception is that a memory care facility is only for people with advanced Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. In reality, living in a memory care center can help delay the progression of memory issues and cognitive decline. If your loved one has any level of memory or cognitive concerns, you should consider a memory care facility that can help keep him sharp for as long as possible.

Her Level of Activity

If a healthy, active person moves into a facility that does not offer many opportunities for physical exercise and social interaction, she can quickly decline physically, mentally, and emotionally. Try to find a senior living community that will stimulate her to stay active and healthy.

His Personality

Some of us enjoy being around people all the time, and other people need their own space. When evaluating which facility would keep your loved one happy and healthy, consider his personality. In a development that is a bad fit, your relative could be miserable and also make everyone around him miserable.

Her Need for Assistance with Daily Living Activities

Take a straightforward look at your loved one’s ability to meet her daily needs. Has the lady who used to prepare family feasts developed into someone who eats a packet of saltine crackers and calls it dinner because she is now too tired to prepare a nutritious meal? As we age, our bodies become less efficient at extracting nutrients from the food we eat, so it is even more essential to eat nutrient-dense foods when we are older than in our younger years.

Assess whether her personal grooming, laundering, and housecleaning could use some assistance when determining the appropriate level of care in order to make the right move. Make a list of all the life skills she still performs at an appropriate level and the ones for which she can use some help. Refer to this list when comparing senior living facilities to make sure the place she moves into provides all the services she needs.


A Place for Mom. “Finding the Right Fit.” (accessed April 14, 2019)

See also Moving to a Continuing Care Community? Check the Fine Print