Not so long ago, when most people thought about senior living, the first image that popped into their mind was a dreary nursing home. It likely consisted of bland, institutional decor, multiple seniors crowded in one room, and constantly rotating staff who never really get to know the residents.
Fast forward to the present and there are more options for senior living than ever before. Gone are the beige walls and hospital-like feel. Today’s best senior living facilities are smaller and focus on creating a home-like atmosphere for your parent.
If living at home is no longer safe or desirable for your senior parent, a small assisted living facility is a fantastic, homey alternative to a traditional nursing home or large facility.
While there are more options than ever to choose from when it comes to senior living, not all long-term elder care facilities are created equal.
Nursing homes are more hospital-like. This type of facility might be the most appropriate if your parent has extensive medical needs and requires nursing care around the clock. Some seniors may also stay at a nursing home temporarily to recover from an illness or injury before moving to a less intense living situation.
Assisted living is for seniors who need help with their daily activities, but not as much as seniors in a nursing home. They may need help with hygiene, cleaning, making meals, or remembering to take medications. Seniors may have medical conditions and need regular contact with a healthcare provider, but not as often as those that live in a nursing home.
Board and care homes, also called residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs), are like small assisted living facilities. They offer many of the same services as assisted living but have fewer residents. This allows for a more home-like environment and closer relationships between staff and residents.
Small, intimate facilities that provide care to seniors can go by many names including:
These facilities allow seniors to feel like they are living at home while still receiving extra help with personal care and not having to worry about daily upkeep. In many cases, these facilities are located in homes that have been converted to suit seniors who need assisted living.
Since there are fewer residents, there is more interaction between staff and residents. Home-cooked meals are served to residents around a dining room table. Residents frequently interact and have a chance to form friendships. This interaction is vital for warding off depression and cognitive decline.
The small assisted living facility model can have tremendous benefits over a larger facility for your senior parent.
Moving from living independently into a senior living facility is a big change for most seniors. As a result, they may be hesitant or even afraid to make the change.
Choosing a small assisted living facility can help soothe your parent’s concerns. Fewer residents and more personalized attention from staff can help your senior parent feel more comfortable with this transition.
Privacy and personal space are common concerns for seniors who transition from independent living into a senior care facility.
Smaller assisted living facilities, such as Parentis Health’s Verona Court homes, have a maximum of 6 residents at each home. Private or semi-private bedrooms allow your parent to have a quiet and personal space when they desire it.
With a maximum of 6 residents in each home, the staff and residents at a small assisted living facility form a closer relationship than they could at a larger care home.
Staff members are quickly able to get to know each resident’s unique:
In addition, staff in a smaller home are more likely to notice problems early on, when they are small, and intervene before they become serious.
Isolation can negatively affect your parent’s physical and mental health. Choosing a smaller assisted living facility can also help your parent make friends with the other seniors in the home easier than in a larger facility.
Smaller care homes can also offer a variety of activities that give your parent a chance to find others that have similar interests to them.
In larger senior living facilities, meals are often prepared in bulk in industrial kitchens. They may meet nutritional needs but they often lack the flavor and variety of home cooking.
In contrast, meals in small assisted living facilities are home-cooked and prepared fresh each day. This makes it easier to accommodate each senior’s medical, religious, or ethical-based dietary needs.
The last few years have been difficult when it comes to the health and safety of seniors due to COVID-19. You may have serious concerns about the ability to control infections in large senior facilities. A small assisted living with only a few residents may be a safer choice for your parent.
A 2020 study of 9,395 nursing homes across 30 states found that the size of the facility was significantly related to the chances of having a COVID-19 case. Smaller facilities were more likely to be able to avoid infections than ones with more residents.
If you’re searching for a small assisted living facility in the Southern California area, schedule a tour at Verona Court.
Verona Court homes are located in upscale neighborhoods in Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, and Mission Viejo. They’re intentionally capped at a maximum of 6 residents to preserve the warm, intimate home environment experience. The 3:1 resident-to-caregiver ratio ensures that everyone receives the individualized care they need.
Seniors living at Verona Court experience all the comforts of home and then some.
Through Verona Court’s parent company, Parentis Health, residents can also receive home health, transportation, and hospice services as needed.