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A Guide to Common Senior Living Terms

Searching for the right senior living community for you or a loved one can be overwhelming — there are many different factors that affect this decision, and you want to be sure you’re making the correct choice. This process can be even more difficult when senior living websites, blogs, and staff throw around words and terminology that may be entirely new to you, or which may not fully make sense because you need more context. To help familiarize you with the senior living landscape, here is Ventana’s guide to common senior living terms. (Feel free to bookmark this page, so you can easily come back to it in the future.) 

Senior Living Community

Relatively straight-forward, this general term refers to a residential area that has been designed specifically for senior citizens. The vast majority of senior living communities aim to provide an environment that enhances seniors’ quality of life, and many offer health care services as well.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

A Continuing Care Retirement Community, commonly known as a CCRC, is sometimes also referred to as a Life Plan Community.  A CCRC is a special type of senior living community that provides multiple types of residential spaces and health care options, all on a single campus. This arrangement enables the seniors who live there to access a full continuum of care, should their health needs change over time.  At CCRCs such as Ventana by Buckner, this continuum of care often includes Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, Memory Care, Rehabilitation, and Long-Term Care. (We will discuss each of these in more detail below.) Additionally, CCRCs often provide amenities and services that create a more fulfilling lifestyle and prioritize seniors’ continued health, wellbeing, and social engagement. Life Care CCRC A specialized category of CCRCs, Life Care Communities provide the full continuum of care at preset costs, which are stipulated and agreed to ahead of time — so people don’t have to face unforeseen health care costs, regardless of their health care needs. Ventana is a Life Care CCRC. Full Service CCRC When a CCRC is deemed to be “full service,” that means the CCRC provides all the amenities and services that a community needs to have in order to flourish, on-campus. Examples of these amenities and services are dining options, fitness and wellness centers, home maintenance, and 24/7 security. Ventana is also a full-service CCRC.

Not-for-Profit vs. For-Profit CCRCs

Not-for-Profit CCRCs are owned and/or operated by a communal board of trustees, all of whom are volunteers. These board members ensure that the community’s needs are met. They take any surplus income generated by the community members’ fees and re-invest it back into the community. For-Profit CCRCs, on the other hand, are privately owned and operated — they do not traditionally have boards comprised of volunteers. They may choose to re-invest surplus revenue back into the community, but the goal of these CCRCs is to generate profit and return value to the owners of the property. Ventana is a not-for-profit CCRC.

Continuum of Care

As previously mentioned, the term “continuum of care” refers to the full spectrum of health care options available at CCRCs. These health care options traditionally include the following: Independent Living In Independent Living Communities, people who do not need physical or mental assistance to live in their own homes on the CCRC campus. Many people move into Independent Living residences when they first come to the CCRC, because this allows them to enjoy years of healthy, active senior living, taking full advantage of the amenities and services the CCRC provides.  Independent Living at Ventana provides the finest senior living experience in Texas. Assisted Living Seniors move into Assisted Living Communities when they require professional assistance in their homes, either because of illness, injury, or other limitations. Seniors in Assisted Living receive help based on their individual needs; often, this assistance includes meal preparation, transportation, medication management, and housekeeping and laundry.  Ventana provides Assisted Living care at The Arbors, with individualized assistance and daily activities available on a 24-hour basis. Skilled Nursing Skilled Nursing Communities deliver a higher level of in-home assistance and care, for those who need more individualized help. The staff delivering these services are licensed nursing professionals, highly trained to provide the specific care. Ventana offers first-class Skilled Nursing at The Glen to Ventana Members. Memory Care Memory Care is a special type of Assisted Living Community, in which the staff and activities are specially geared for those living with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and other forms of memory loss. Memory Care provides safe, private environments to live with dignity, respect, and security.  Garden View at Ventana provides exceptional Memory Care services for Ventana Members with mild-to-moderate dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. Rehabilitation Rehabilitation Services provide therapeutic care for those who are recovering from illness, injury, or some other form of non-permanent impairment. The most common forms of Rehabilitation Services are physical, occupational, and speech therapies. Ventana’s Ascend Rehabilitation center provides Rehabilitation Services for Members. Long-Term Care Long-Term Care Communities provide ongoing or recurring services for those who, as a result of illness or disability, have lost some or all of their ability to live without assistance. These medical and support services are delivered by highly trained staff who are available round-the-clock and ensure a comfortable, welcoming living environment. Long-Term Care at Ventana involves a variety of special-care services designed to meet Members’ health and personal care needs over a longer period of time. [ssgsc]

Other Types of Care

Aging at Home Also known as “aging in place,” aging at home refers to the decision to spend one’s retirement years living in their longtime homes — without the amenities, services, or health care options that CCRCs provide. While this option may work for some, it also comes with many complicating factors and costs. Nursing Home Nursing Homes provide 24-hour nursing care, as well as room and board, for those who need round-the-clock care. These types of communities differ from Skilled Nursing or Long-Term Care facilities because Nursing Homes traditionally operate on a stand-alone basis, and do not include a CCRC campus’s full continuum of care.

Other questions? We’re here to help.

At Ventana, we understand how important this decision is for you or your loved ones. We want to make this decision as simple and straight-forward as possible, so the choice you make is one that brings you and your loved ones happiness and peace-of-mind for years to come. To learn more about Life Care CCRCs or Ventana by Buckner, contact us at 214-234-1035.