As a generation of Floridians transition into retirement age, they and their families may have questions regarding what senior care facilities have to offer.
Keystone Place at Terra Bella is providing information to help the public find those answers.
The Land O’ Lakes senior living facility had several open house sessions in January to explain the different levels of care available in senior homes.
“In general, we did the topic for what is assisted living; what is memory care; [and] what are the benefits,” explained Arlana Guckenberger, community relations and sales director at Keystone Place.
Many people do not understand the distinctions between different levels of care, she said.
Independent living for seniors refers to elderly people who are self-sufficient and have few or no cognitive impairments.
They tend to be seniors who are on the younger end of the spectrum, and simply don’t want the responsibilities of owning a home, Guckenberger said.
Assisted living facilities cater to residents who are somewhat independent, but have physical limitations that may require help with grooming, dressing or getting around.
There are others who need around-the-clock assistance.
“The memory care community is designed for people with Alzheimer’s [disease] or certain forms of dementia, who being out in a larger population is too much stimulus for them,” Guckenberger said.
While individuals vary, residents with dementia can be agitated by loud noises and other stimuli.
They also are prone to wander off in states of confusion.
In memory care units, residents have free range to move about the community, but for their safety, are secured from leaving the premises.
A physician evaluation can determine the type of residency that works best, Guckenberger said.
Those suffering from cognitive declines may be eligible for assisted living, rather than memory care units, she said.
Others, who are recuperating from severe body trauma, may be placed in skilled nursing facilities, she added.
Admission can be a result of incidents, such as falls or strokes, and are Intended to be short-term.
In some instances, a case manager, along with a physician, may decide that an individual is not able to live alone.
When that occurs, the individual may be referred to an assisted-living facility for long-term care.
Some facilities offer a single type of care, but others, such as Keystone Place, offer independent-living, assisted living and memory care residents.
Helping people to understand the different types and levels of care can help dispel the notion that seniors are stuck in a bed at these facilities, Guckenberger said.
Offering various daily options can help residents remain physically active and agile.
And, besides sharing meals in the dining room, residents congregate for other kinds of gatherings, too.
Many facilities have a “Happy Hour” to promote opportunities to enjoy refreshments, listen to music and socialize.
At some senior living facilities, current residents serve as ‘ambassadors’ — welcoming newcomers, showing them around and introducing them to other residents, to help them feel at home.
Making arts and crafts is another avenue — allowing residents to be productive and showcase their creative works.
At Keystone Place, the warm outdoor pool is a big hit, Guckenberger said, noting, “we’ve found that aqua-fitness is huge.”
There are also field trips, where residents can visit museums, malls or restaurants.
In addition to knowing what types of residencies, care and amenities are available, it’s also important to check into the financial aspects of senior living, Guckenberger said.
At the open houses, Keystone addressed not only insurance plans, but also encouraged seniors to compare expenses related to living at home versus those from living at a senior care facility.
While Medicaid and Social Security may help offset costs, there is still other coverage available – especially for former military.
For instance, there’s an Aid and Assistance benefit available to veterans and their spouses that many are unaware of, Guckenberger said.
Through the Elder Resource Benefits Consulting program, those who have served in the military may be eligible for financial assistance, if they meet certain criteria.
There’s a growing need for these types of living facilities, Guckenberger said.
Keystone Place opened last May, and its independent living section already has a waiting list.
Two upcoming open house sessions are scheduled at Keystone Place, 2200 Livingston Road in Land O’ Lakes, to help people gain a greater understanding of interacting with individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Those sessions are set for Feb. 27 and March 6, from noon to 1:30 p.m.
Lunch will be provided and guests are encouraged to RSVP.
Reservations can be made at (813) 388-2121 or online at KeystonePlaceAtTerraBella.com/RSVP.
Published February 13, 2019