As you begin exploring your retirement living possibilities, you may be introduced to the term “continuum of care.” While the concept of a continuum of care may not be new, how it relates to your health and wellness in retirement—as well as where you decide to retire—is vitally important. As such, a little information and understanding would certainly go a long way, especially as you make important life and living decisions.


So, what is a continuum of care?


A continuum of care is simply the increasing intensity of healthcare services you will need as you age. In other words, as you get older or enter new stages of life, your health needs also change—often requiring different attention, greater attention, and in some cases special attention. Think of this continuum of care of as a spectrum:


Independent Living — Personal Care/Assisted Living — Skilled Care/Nursing


On one side you have independent living, most often designated for those who are self-sufficient enough to live on their own and manage their own needs. As it relates to health care, this might include handling regular checkups, seeking specialist care, fulfilling prescriptions, etc.


The next phase on the spectrum is personal care and assisted living/memory care. This stage is designated for those who need help with certain aspects of daily living as a result of age-related or cognitive decline. This may include help with activities like dressing and bathing, or memory conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In many cases, depending on the issue or severity of needs, individuals may require greater regularity of care or even be encouraged to not live alone for safety reasons.


On the other end of the spectrum you have skilled care or skilled nursing. This stage is typically designated for those who have major health issues or cognitive decline and are no longer able to care for themselves. This level of care often requires full-time assistance and, in many cases moving to a specialized care center.


Where you fall on this spectrum will not only inform you or your loved ones of the care you currently need, it will also inform them of how to plan for the possible care you may require in the future.


This is where a LIFE PLAN COMMUNITY can be immensely beneficial.


When considering a move to a retirement community—especially when you’re still relishing your independence—it’s easy to focus on the immediate perks the community offers, such as location, amenities, and lifestyle opportunities. But one of the most important factors to consider in your decision is your personal plan for every phase of the health spectrum. Equally important is the need to consider how the community you choose will help you achieve your plan’s goals, as well as help you avoid the uncertainty and stress often associated with health changes or having to move from one location to another in order to receive proper care.


Some communities are focused on a specific point along the continuum of care, such as those dedicated solely to independent living or assisted living residence. While others, such as Life Plan Communities, are equipped to offer lifestyle opportunities paired with a complete continuum of care to match every phase of the spectrum. This innovative life-plan model not only produces better health outcomes that provide more fulfilling and meaningful experiences in retirement, it also allows residents to live comfortably knowing they have a home for life that offers affordable, priority access to whatever care they may need, whenever they may need it—all in one easily accessible community location. And that kind of peace of mind is priceless.


To learn more about the continuum-of-care possibilities available in a Life Plan Community, call 385-715-1280 to speak with one of our retirement counselors today.