Is a Continuum of Care Community Right for You?

Senior couple smiling outdoorsMany active seniors want to live independently and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. But the cost of maintaining a house, condo, or apartment may be crippling for some seniors. Association fees, lawn care, housekeeping, and cooking place a financial and physical burden on many seniors. Social isolation is also a problem for elderly people living alone.

Another problem many seniors face is caring for their sick or disabled spouse. Even with home health aides and visiting nurses or therapists, the bulk of the care falls on the healthy partner. Some spouses must make the painful choice to move their ill loved one into a long-term care facility.

Continuum of Care Communities: An Alternative

Traditional 55+ communities are great for the younger set. It offers a mature environment with people all in the same stage of life. They’re usually gated neighborhoods with 24-hour security, so you know you’re safe. And there are also cleaning, dog-walking, and lawn care services that take on those chores for you.

But what happens when you age and you’re no longer independent? What if you fall and need hip replacement treatment and rehab? What if your spouse deteriorates to the point of needing skilled nursing care? The senior living community no longer meets your needs.

That’s where continuing care communities like Bridgeway of Bensenville have stepped in to fill the void.  It offers everything in one location, so you don’t need to move when your or your spouse’s healthcare needs change. At Bridgeway, seniors can choose completely independent or semi-independent living with optional recreation, dining, and social activities. As your needs change, other options become available.

Here are five advantages unique to continuum of care communities:

1. You don’t need to move often

Moving homes is stressful on everyone, particularly seniors. When your agility or eyesight is declining, you don’t want to be busy with packing up a lifetime, or even a few years. Having to sell a home is also a hassle and headache you won’t have the mental space for when you’re dealing with a medical challenge. Moving to a continuing care community while you’re still healthy and independent may ensure you don’t have to move again.

2. You can maintain your social circle

When you stay in the same place for all your care, you can make friends—and keep them. Research shows having a strong social network is associated with longevity. Losing your friends if you have to move for a higher level of care could actually have a negative impact on your health. With this aging-in-place arrangement, you can stay near your friends even when you—or they—need more care.

3. You don’t need to separate from your spouse

If your husband needs rehabilitation after a fall or your wife moves into memory care, you can be right there. Instead of living at home without them, you can be at their side all day—without having to drive over or arrange transportation. When it’s freezing and snowy, as it often is in Chicago’s winter, you know you can still be with your loved one.

On the same note, it’s easier for your family and friends to visit when you and your spouse are together. Instead of having to alternate days or weekends, your loved ones can visit with both of you at the same time.

4. You can develop close relationships with the staff

When you live in the same place for years, the staff members become like family. You develop relationships that go beyond typical provider-patient communication. When your care professionals are so familiar with your needs, they can provide better care. Plus, if you need a higher level of care, you will enjoy a seamless transition.

5. You have less stress in your life

Change is stressful. And having to move to a new facility right when you’re feeling vulnerable is even worse. At a continuing care facility, you stay in the same environment even as your health needs increase.

Another way continuing care arrangements reduce your stress is by taking care of everything. At Bridgeway, you don’t have to worry about housekeeping and laundry, remembering to pay your utility bills on time, or snow removal. Everything—meals, security, housekeeping, transportation, maintenance, etc.—is included in your monthly fee.