Most people know of large Assisted Living facilities. They are often big
and prominent on streets you drive on, to and from work. Some, who have
needed heavier care for their loved one, have been introduced to “Board
and Care homes.” A residential home that is licensed as an RCFE
and has live-in staff, or staff that works 24 hour shifts. The best way
to describe a Residential Assisted Living facility is to peg them right
in between Assisted Living and Board and Care.
A Residential Assisted Living has all the professionalism and great service
of a large corporate Assisted Living (or Memory Care) and the home feel
of a residential setting. The greatest asset of Residential Assisted Living
is the amount of care someone can receive due to the high staff ratio.
Residential Assisted Living is the best option for people who have increased
needs. Whether it be physical limitations, mental confusion or someone
who has an emotional need for more assistance, Residential Assisted Living
is the best care model to meet those higher needs. Because of the high
care-staff ratio, families can be assured that their loved one will receive
assistance the minute they need it.
It’s difficult to cater to an individual’s preferences in a
large group setting. But the activities coordinator of a Residential Assisted
Living can plan for individualized engagement. Each persons preferences
can be focused on, in addition to planned group activities. Another big
consideration in choosing a small home setting is the lifestyle preferences
of the elderly person before they needed assistance. Not every person
is a social butterfly and enjoys meeting lots of new people every day.
The Residential Assisted Living model allows for a quieter and private
lifestyle, which is the preference of many elderly.
Board and Care homes, to an extent, can also be a solution for those who
need the close attention and more one on one care. Residential Assisted
Living is a solution for families with loved ones who need more assistance
than can be offered at a Board and Care. Elderly people often times need
to use the restroom several times at night. Unassisted, a trip to the
restroom creates a huge fall risk, and is one of the greatest risks to
elderly people’s health and safety. Everyone has heard of a horror
story of someone’s grandmother laying for hours on a cold floor
calling for help. In Residential Assisted Living, full service night staff
assures residents that they can get help the minute they need it.
Another added benefit to not having live-in staff or 24 hr shifts is that
caregivers are always fresh and rested every eight hours. The work of
a caregiver is extremely difficult and constantly demands one-sided giving.
A caregiver that has been home with family and is rejuvenated with new
energy is the caregiver that is able to provide the best care. It’s
easy to imagine burnout and caregivers who have little energy for anything
except to park residents in front of a television screen. Constantly working
double shifts and being on-call for emergencies at night is a recipe for
burnout for even the best of caregivers.
That’s a lot of comparing and contrasting. It’s difficult to
define Residential Assisted Living except by comparison to the current
existing models. There are not many homes that meet this high level of
care. The Sacramento area alone has less than a dozen facilities that
fit this model. We suspect that as our aging population finds more ways
to stay home longer, the needs of those going into long-term care homes
will be ever greater. Residential Assisted Living is the model that is
most able to meet the growing need for higher acuity care of our aging seniors.
Are these terms new to you? Have you experienced the care difference in
one of the several RCFE levels?