The plethora of acronyms used by senior care providers can be intimidating at best and perilous at worst. Helping seniors, families and churches navigate the various levels of senior care is one of the services provided by the Baptist Homes. The principal levels of residential care are identified by the abbreviations IL, ALF, ICF and SNF.
Independent Living (IL) communities are often designated as residential homes or neighborhoods. IL is the perfect option for the person or couple who wants to downsize their home while living in community with others in the same season of life. The days of lawn mowing and home repairs are past, while activities such as gardening, travel, socializing and church are enjoyed.
Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) are designed for persons or couples who need assistance with one or more activities of daily living. Although we do not like to think of losing our independence, ALFs help only where necessary, be it managing medication, bathing or dressing. Meals and laundry are provided. Residents in ALFs enjoy apartments with their own furniture or comfortable furnishings provided by the facility. One of the ALF requirements is that the resident need only minimal assistance to be mobile.
Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF) are for those who require 24-hour accommodation, board, personal care, and basic health and nursing care. This includes eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, transferring and walking. Services are under the daily supervision of a licensed nurse and direction of a licensed physician.
Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) offer 24-hour skilled nursing care and treatment services performed by or under the supervision of a registered nurse. Candidates for skilled care are those who need around the clock observation or management of such medical interventions such as IV’s, ventilators and tracheotomies as prescribed by a licensed physician, or other nursing functions requiring substantial specialized judgment and skill.
Memory care, which is also called Dementia or Alzheimer’s care, is usually tailored for the unique needs of the resident. The Baptist Homes practice Inclusive Memory CareSM that includes specialized training for our staff that allows residents to stay connected to their campus’s community and chapel services rather than being locked away in an “Alzheimer’s Ward.”
When the time comes to downsize or the need for assistance arises, four steps will help you and your loved ones navigate this season of life. First, pray. The prayer of Psalm 71:9 is an example of conversing with God as one ages. It is always appropriate to “seek first the Kingdom of God.” Second, research wisely. The long-term care industry consists of numerous quality communities, but many come at a steep cost. Most long-term care is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid, so ask a lot of questions, get “bottom line answers” and be wary of high-pressure sales. Third, get wise counsel by talking to those who have traveled the journey you are embarking upon. Since most levels of care require a physician’s referral, be sure to talk to your medical provider. Finally, take into consideration the person’s spiritual health. As a pastor, I have preached in many nursing homes. It is not uncommon to find chapel service schedules involving Baptists one week, Latter-Day Saints the next, the Church of Christ the following week, and so on.
Our team at the Baptist Homes will be happy to help you navigate this season of life. We are available to answer general questions about the best level of care for you or your loved ones, whether it be at one of our four locations or in your local community. All four Baptist Home campuses offer independent living, whereas advanced levels of care are provided at the Arcadia Valley, Chillicothe and Ozark campus. It is our joy to serve Missouri Baptists. For more information, go to www.thebaptisthome.org.