Institutional Care for Older Adults

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  • 0:03 Late Adulthood
  • 0:56 Levels of Care
  • 3:07 When It's Needed
  • 5:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

As people age, staying in their home is not always possible. In this lesson, we'll explore institutional care for older adults, including examining different types of institutional care and how to know if a person is ready for it.

Late Adulthood

Keith is in his 80s, and he's facing some big decisions. He used to be very active, and loved playing with his grandkids and golfing with his friends.

But recently, his life has changed. Over the past decade, Keith has become less and less active. He's not able to get around as well as he used to. In fact, sometimes he has trouble just getting around his home. Not only that, but he sometimes has difficulty doing everyday things like cooking, shopping, and cleaning.

Keith is in late adulthood, or the time of life after age 65. For many people, this time comes with some challenges, including less mobility and difficulty getting through their days.

Let's look closer at institutional care for people like Keith, including the levels of care and when it's needed.

Levels of Care

Keith's son Seth is worried about him. Seth has noticed that his father isn't taking care of himself properly, and he worries about Keith living all alone in his house. He also noticed that Keith sometimes loses track of time and doesn't always remember to eat. Sometimes, he stays in his pajamas for days, just because he doesn't realize that time has passed.

Seth thinks that Keith might need institutional care, or care provided to someone living in a health care facility.

There are several different levels of institutional care for older people, like Keith.

  1. Independent Living facilities offer people some help with daily things, like cleaning and meals, but generally require that seniors be self-sufficient. Generally, independent living involves moving into an apartment in a building designed to provide seniors with help and support. Keith might be a good option for independent living, since he's generally OK on his own, but his forgetfulness could be a problem, since he won't have someone watching over him as closely as other types of institutional care.
  2. Assisted Living facilities offer housing, support services, and health care services. They offer a little more attention than independent living facilities. This might be a better option for Keith, since he can have someone checking in on him every day to make sure that he is doing OK.
  3. Nursing Homes offer full-time, around-the-clock medical care. They are usually for people who are not able to live on their own without medical care, like people with serious illness or dementia. Since Keith is generally OK in his life, he probably doesn't need to be in a nursing home.
  4. Continuing Care Retirement Communities are not technically their own level. Instead, they are institutions that offer different levels of care. For example, Keith could move into a continuing care facility as an independent living resident. As his needs change, though, he could move from independent to assisted living or even nursing home care, all while staying in the same community.

When It's Needed

So, should Keith move into institutional care? How can he and Seth know what's right?

There are some signs that Keith and Seth will want to watch out for when deciding whether or not Keith is ready for institutional care. They include:

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