Trends in aging: Specialized and CCRC facilities
In addition to independent, assisted and skilled nursing facilities, specialized care for seniors with a specific impairment can be found in the Crossroads region as well.
Homewood Residence and Sodalis Elder Living on John Stockbauer offer services specifically for residents with Alzheimer's and dementia.
Sodalis also has a facility in Cuero. Although still in the planning stages, Hospice of South Texas intends to build a facility to accommodate those patients who are in the very last stages of a life-limiting illness as an alternative to living one's last days in the hospital or if the family has become too overwhelmed caring for the patient in their home.
According to community relations director Kathleen Card, the hospice has now been in our community for 25 years, providing support for end of life patients and their families. An inpatient unit is just the next step in their evolution.
One type of housing option that is not found in the area, however, is a continuing care retirement community. Such communities offer a full continuum of housing and services within the same community.
For example, seniors can initially move into an apartment in the independent living facility when they are relatively active and in good health, move into an assisted living apartment as they become unable to perform activities of daily living, then move into the skilled nursing section if needed.
As senior housing expert S.M. Golant once remarked, "Visitors who tour the different levels of shelter and care found in a well-run, full-service CCRC often feel as if they are watching the aging process unfold before them."
My grandmother lived in such a facility in Philadelphia, and she ultimately resided in each of these sections of the facility as her health declined.
I can remember visiting her in her two-bedroom apartment with all of her antiques, then helping her move to her smaller assisted living apartment without a full kitchen as she could no longer prepare meals for herself.
Lastly, when her arthritis took its toll and she became bedridden, she had to move into skilled care. Although we do not have such a facility in the Crossroads region, there are several of them in Texas, the closest being in Houston, Austin and San Antonio.
As this concludes my series on area senior housing options, my next series will focus on the decision to "age in place," and what is available in the area to assist seniors wishing to remain in their homes throughout their golden years.
Wendy McHaney is a certified senior adviser and the owner and director of operations of Senior Helpers. For more information about Senior Helpers, visit seniorhelpers.com/victoria.