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Personal Care vs. Assisted Living: What Is the Difference?

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A group of smiling seniors sitting around a table indoors in a personal care community.

When it’s time for a move to senior living, it’s crucial to make the right choice for your loved one. This way, you can help them get the care they deserve in a community that truly meets their needs. But there isn’t just one type of senior living community; there are plenty of options designed for older adults in unique situations. Two of the most popular choices are personal care and assisted living.

While at first, these may appear similar, they do have some key differences. Personal care is designed for older adults who want to prioritize their independence and get some help with their daily activities, promoting autonomy and caregiving in a careful balance. On the other hand, assisted living has more regulations; there are more specific laws and requirements in place regarding layout, medical assistance, and more.

What Is Personal Care?

Sometimes, aging can pose unique challenges. Daily tasks that were once simple may be a little more difficult, and over time, this can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. So if you have a senior loved one who loves their independence but struggles with some daily activities, what can you do?

In this situation, personal care may be the right decision. In a personal care community, your loved one moves to a home-style environment where they can be surrounded by caregivers.

These communities aren’t just places designed to give your loved one care; they offer a rich community life full of programs, services, and events, all designed to improve your loved one’s quality of life. Every resident gains access to all of the on-site amenities so they can spend their days pursuing their passions.

Here at Fieldstone at Chester Springs, our residents can enjoy easy access to:

  • Locally-inspired restaurant-style meals
  • Wellness-driven events
  • A full-service salon
  • Media rooms
  • Beautiful common spaces and outdoor lounges
  • Transportation services
  • Planned outings to nearby destinations

Meanwhile, there’s a team of trained caregivers available 24/7 to help your loved one with the tasks that give them trouble. With a balanced blend of caregiving and independence, personal care offers a place where your loved one can enjoy each and every day.

What Is Assisted Living?

Assisted living is similar to personal care, but typically takes it a step further. In 2011, Pennsylvania announced new regulations to better separate these two options clearly.

Assisted living communities also carefully balance autonomy and caregiving, but also need to meet some specific requirements in Pennsylvania. To be classified as assisted living, a community must arrange for, or provide:

  • Cognitive support
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Hospice care
  • Skilled nursing services

Assisted living communities also need to offer:

  • Public spaces and living spaces of a certain size
  • Appliances in each unit
  • A door that locks (with some exceptions for residents in need of more advanced medical care or accommodations)
  • A bathroom in each unit
  • A licensed nurse on duty at all times
  • A registered dietician on-site
  • Emergency response systems

These regulations make assisted living an ideal option for seniors who enjoy being independent but need access to more advanced medical care than can be found in other communities. It’s an excellent way to help a loved one in need—without compromising on medical care. 

A senior woman and her daughter smiling while holding hands on a couch while talking about senior living.

Signs It’s Time for Senior Living

Recognizing when it’s time for senior living can be difficult. That’s why it’s essential to learn the signs that a loved one is struggling to keep up with their day-to-day tasks; by recognizing the indications, you can intervene sooner rather than later to get your loved one professional care.

Here are some signs that it’s time to consider a move to senior living:

  • Increasing difficulty with daily living tasks
  • Frequent falls or safety concerns at home
  • Isolation or withdrawal from social activities
  • Changes in health that require professional supervision
  • Difficulty managing medications

If these sound familiar, it’s time to start researching nearby communities.

How to Choose the Right Senior Living Community

When it comes to senior living, a proper plan is key. It gives you the reassurance of knowing that your loved one is safe in an environment designed to meet their needs.

Fortunately, senior living communities offer the chance to book a tour ahead of time. This way, you can see the area for yourself to make sure this is the right home for your loved one.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a senior living community:

  • Location. Is it close enough for family and friends to visit regularly?
  • Services and amenities. Does the community offer the support and activities your loved one needs and enjoys?
  • Staff. What are the qualifications of the caregivers and medical staff? Are there specialists available if needed?
  • Safety and security. What measures are in place to ensure the safety of residents? Are there emergency response systems, and how often are they tested?
  • Cleanliness. Is the facility well-maintained and clean? Cleanliness can be a good indicator of the overall quality of care.
  • Resident feedback. Talk to current residents and their families about their experiences. Their firsthand accounts can provide invaluable insights.
  • Cost. What is the pricing structure, and what is included in the monthly fee? Are there additional costs for specific services that might be needed later on?

Then, all that’s left is to make the move itself.

Finding Your Loved One’s Future Home

At Fieldstone at Chester Springs, we’re here for you and your family. We understand that the decision to move to senior living can be a significant one, and we’re here to help. Book a tour with our community today, and let’s work together to find your loved one their future home!

Written by Fieldstone at Chester Springs

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