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A continuum of health care under one roof
Continuing care is a term used sometimes in the retirement residence industry to describe communities with a continuum of senior care options, from independent living to more complex needs. A number of retirement residences in the Greater Vancouver area offer this robust environment, where people might move in when they are still quite independent but anticipate the need for more care later.
In some cases, this is a progressive-minded, cutting edge approach to care that anticipates the needs of an aging population in BC. With our changing values, an increasing number of seniors want everything in one place and do not want to go through the stress of moving, later, in order to meet growing health care needs. Communities like the ones below meet those needs.
Continuing care communities in Vancouver
Why move in to a continuing care retirement community?
There are pros and cons to this type of community but positives far outweigh the negatives. Here's a look at the distinct advantages of moving into a continuing care community in Vancouver:
- Continuous care anticipates aging, and changing care needs. With various levels of care all in one location, people here will never need to go anywhere else, if they have a health crisis, or their health begins to deteriorate.
- Not having to move is, in fact, good for your health. In a traditional scenario, a health crisis often leads to the need for a move, and the stress and huge disruption of moving worsens the crisis. Not so, in a continuing care environment, where an ailing loved one can recover in the same community in which he or she got ill (having moved there when they were independent.)
- Spouses can live in the same community, sometimes together. In many cases, a continuing care environment will be sectioned off into wards or wings, each dedicated to a specific level of care. Even in this case, the community facilitates couples remaining under one roof: the healthy, independent spouse can see his or her debilitated spouse daily. There are many cases where someone requiring care for Alzheimer's Disease will be able to see their spouse often, in a residence like this. Sadly, but inevitably, one spouse will pass before the other, and as we have seen in our pages, the BC continuing care community goes a long way in supporting the spouse who is left alone.
The definition of continuing care is changing (as is so much in senior care)
If we take a look at the varying definitions of continuing care, it gives us an overview of how care for our elderly is shifting.
The definition we are using here is used by Canadians, in some contexts, but more often in the United States. It should probably be used more often, given the value of this model as noted above. More often in Canada, "continuing care" is seen as synonymous with long-term care (where people need continuous care, ostensibly).
The many senior care communities in places like Greater Vancouver that do indeed offer a continuum of care might be seen by some as a new concept, taking an integrated approach to aging in place. Retirement homes with a variety of care options have been around for some time, but the planning and the modernization of the integration is progressive. Some developments like those listed above certainly need to be seen to be fully appreciated. Both existing and newly developed continuous care communities are superb answers to the needs of many aging people and couples in Greater Vancouver.
The phrase "complex continuing care" is used by some other health authorities to mean something distinct (see our glossary). Some seniors' homes in Greater Vancouver offer this as a service. For example, those who are convalescing from an operation may also encounter further care needs as they recover. Increasingly progressive seniors' care homes respond to the needs of a changing, aging population. And, as the senior care industry continues to evolve, Canadians can expect to see more of this integrative approach to senior care.
The phrase continuing care at home is also used by home care service providers to define the service they offer.