Long Term Care

For some seniors, a time comes when either their living enviroment needs adaptation or hands-on care is needed to make living independently easier or even possible. Later, more care may be required or at some point living independently may no longer be safe. In aging, we call this the "Continuum of Care," which usually follows the least restrictive enviroment to the most restrictive. The following is information on the common progression along life's continuum of care.

Independent Living- Remaining in the community in your own residence or that of a loved one.

Independent Living Communities, often referrred to as Retirement Communities, are designed for independent senior adults who want to enjoy a lifestyle filled with recreational, educational and social activities with other seniors. These communities are designed for seniors who are able to live on their own, but desire the security and conveniences of community living.  

Assisted Living Facilities- provide residential housing, personalized supportive services and health care. Residential settings maximize independence, but do not provide skilled nursing care. They are designed to meet the individual needs of those requiring help with activities of daily living, but who do not need the skilled medical care provided in a nursing home. 

Nursing Homes- nursing facilities provide 24-hour per day skilled nursing care to those who are chronically ill or injured, have health care needs as well as personal needs and are unable to function independently.


1. Find out how nursing homes compare in quality.
Quality care means doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, for the right person, and having the best possible results. Nursing homes are certified to make sure they meet certain Federal health and safety requirements.
2. Find out about the nursing homes in your area.
Visit http://www.medicare.gov/ and on the bottom half of the page under "Search Tools" in the right column, select "Compare Nursing Homes in Your Area." Follow the instructions given on the subsequent pages. You will find detailed information comparing staffing, number of deficiencies received in the last state inspection and percentages of quality measures.
3. Before you make a decision, visit the nursing homes you are interested in.
A visit gives you the chance to see the residents, staff and facility and talk with them. Be sure to call the nursing home office to make an appointment to tour the nursing home before you visit.
4. Choose the nursing home that best meets your needs.
When you have all the information about the nursing homes you are interested in, discuss it with people who understand your personal and health care needs like your family, doctor, or social worker.