What are the “levels of care” in senior living?

 What are the “levels of care” in senior living? 

By: Kate West, Director of Community Development

 The demographics of the baby boomer generation, individuals born between 1946-1964, is reshaping America’s landscape. By 2030, twenty percent of the U.S. population will be 65 and older (Silva 2016).  Already, the field of aging services has experienced large shifts in the demand for services and in the demographics of senior living residents. 

Long term care comprises the entirety of options for an aging individual to receive assistance with their tasks of daily living such as bathing, dressing and preparing meals. Overall, the levels of long term care are recognized as: home care (unskilled and home health), independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing. In addition, senior centers, adult day centers and hospice care all play an important role as well.  Each of these ‘levels of care’ within long term care can vary greatly in the services provided and financing structures.  

Generally speaking, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities have 24-hour staff that provide direct care and/or medical services. The financing structures that support these organizations also vary greatly. Skilled home health services (physical therapy, wound care, etc.) and short-term rehab in skilled nursing facilities are generally covered under Medicare.  However, to reside long-term in a skilled nursing facility, the payment options are generally to privately-pay, use private long-term care insurance or go onto Medicaid.  In Colorado, unskilled home care (cooking, cleaning, etc.) and assisted living are also covered under the Medicaid home- and community-based services programs (Kaplan 2004). 

 Independent living communities are generally not covered by insurance and services provided can vary greatly. Some independent living communities are simply senior apartments with rent subsidies while others are high-end continuing care retirement communities with hefty fees. 

Eaton is proud to be an affordable senior apartment community, a type of independent living. Both The Residences and The Summit offer the housing plus services model. Many of the services offered at Eaton rival those of high-end continuing care retirement communities. By providing enriching services on-site, such as activities, dining, wellness and spiritual support, residents at Eaton are empowered to age-in-place. 

Kaplan, Richard. 2004. “Cracking the Conundrum: Toward a Rational Financing of Long-Term Care.” University of Illinois Law Review 2004 (1). https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=398800.
Silva, Ezequiel. 2016. “Here Come the Baby Boomers.” Journal of the American College of Radiology 13 (3): 242. doi:10.1016/j.jacr.2015.12.002.