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What Is the Continuum of Care and Why Is It Important?

Aug 14, 2020 | Senior Living Resources

If you’ve been looking into senior living for yourself or a loved one, you’ve probably come across the phrase “continuum of care.” This is a phrase that gets bandied about quite a bit in this industry, and it can be a little confusing as to what it is and why it’s important. Mary Scott Russell, Director of Community Relations at East Ridge at Cutler Bay, Miami-Dade County’s only true Life Plan Community, says that perhaps a better phrase is aging in place.

“While aging in place and continuum of care don’t quite describe the same thing, they stem from the same philosophy of helping seniors receive the care they need as they age without them having to move locations,” she says. “The theory of a continuum of care enables seniors to stay in one place throughout their later years while still receiving the care they need – no matter how that may change in the future.”

Aging in place is something that most, if not all, seniors would like to have as they get older. Generally, people think about “aging in place” in their current home. For a long time, that was the default because seniors didn’t want to move into a “nursing home.” However, today’s senior living communities are a far cry from the facilities of yesteryear.

“The boomers have completely reinvented what being a senior means and what senior living looks like,” says Mary. “Today’s communities provide a continuum of care that’s unparalleled and designed specifically for the needs of aging adults. Residents can truly age in place, because communities like East Ridge at Cutler Bay have been constructed to provide independence for as long as possible.”

Here’s how that works – and why it’s important.


Independent Living: For Active, Independent Seniors
Independent living is exactly what it sounds like. This level of care is the “lowest” in the continuum of care, and is focused more on maintenance of your home and other details so active seniors can live the life they want, free of most chores.

Residents in independent living at East Ridge can choose from standalone bungalows or Garden Homes. It’s the privacy and independence of owning your own home, plus the benefits that a community can provide, like dining, maintenance, activities, fitness and so much more. As an added benefit, independent living homes are set up to maximize independence as you age. That means everything is on one level, showers and tubs are step-ins, hallways and doorways are wide enough to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs, there are grab bars in the bathroom … in other words, it has the features you’ll want for the future while providing the independence and lifestyle you want now.


Assisted Living: The Assistance You Need While Maintaining Independence
Assisted living is the next level of service in the continuum of care. This level of care is designed for seniors who require a little extra help in order to live an independent lifestyle. For example, if you need assistance getting dressed, bathing, managing medication, mobility assistance or other tasks of daily life, assisted living is a natural choice.

Residents in this level of care live in their own private home while receiving a personalized care plan that is designed to meet their individual needs. Care is certainly not one-size-fits-all – it flexes according to the individual’s needs or desires. It’s all about choice and providing assisted living residents with the ability to enjoy their senior years as they see fit.


Memory Support: Dignified Support that Honors Individuals
When a senior is living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, they will eventually require around-the-clock, specialized care. This is a very emotional and difficult thing for many residents and family members. One of the benefits of living in a place with a continuum of care is that residents who are diagnosed with memory issues can receive the care they need without having to move away from the community they know and love. This means a much better transition, a higher quality of life and a happier lifestyle for the resident and their families.

Memory support takes place in a specially designed section of our community that is completely secured to ensure the safety of our residents. Everything has been crafted with the needs of dementia patients in mind, and professionally trained care team members use best practices to care for each resident wherever they are in their journey. The focus is on providing memorable moments, an enjoyable lifestyle and a caring atmosphere where residents know they are home.


Skilled Nursing: A Higher Level of Medical Care
As we get older, our health needs can become more severe. It’s possible that a resident may require more assistance than the other care levels provide on a daily basis. In that case, residents receive skilled nursing care right on campus – again, eliminating the need to move away from their home in order to get the care they need.

Skilled nursing services at East Ridge provide long- and short-term care for those recovering from an illness or injury. Besides the specific medical care required, residents also enjoy all the benefits that our community provides, including dining services, activities, events and social opportunities.


Rehabilitation: Getting You Back On Your Feet
Therapy and rehabilitation services are also offered at East Ridge. This level of care is for individuals who don’t need the consistency of skilled nursing, but require services in order to help them recover from an illness or injury so they can return home to their normal lifestyle. Rehabilitation services include therapies such as speech, occupational and physical, as well as pain management, wound care, joint protection and more.

“Ultimately, a continuum of care is all about providing seniors with choices,” says Mary. “We understand that when you make the move to a senior living community like East Ridge at Cutler Bay, you’re doing so because you’re ready to enjoy everything your senior years have to offer – with the peace of mind of knowing that you never have to move again. Our goal is to provide you with the assistance and choices you need so that your golden years are your best years yet.”


About East Ridge at Cutler Bay

East Ridge at Cutler Bay, a SantaFe Senior Living Community, is Miami-Dade County’s only true Life Plan Retirement Community. The nonprofit community draws from the neighborhood charm of suburban Cutler Bay and the vibrancy of Miami in a lush tropical setting of 76 acres, located at 19301 SW 87th Avenue. The community offers a full continuum of care including independent living garden homes in a neighborhood setting, assisted living, memory support, respite care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation services.