senior care options

11 January Senior Care and the Many Options Available

Posted at 8:49 pm in by

As your loved one heads into their golden years, it may be time to start considering senior care options — whether it’s due to a disability, injury, or just because they need some extra help. However, before you make a decision, it’s important to know the different types of care available. Here is a list of senior care options to take into account when your loved one reaches the point that they need assistance.

Bluebird CEO, Stuart Brunson, and Stephanie Visage, Regional Director, discussed this topic on our podcast, Senior Care Conversations. Listen to the episode here.

Senior Care Options

Short-Term Acute Care

Short-term acute care — or STAC — “refers to a form of secondary healthcare in which a patient receives active but short-term treatment for an injury or illness, urgent medical condition, or after surgery,” according to Definitive Healthcare. Short-term acute care can occur in either a hospital or outpatient center. These establishments aim to discharge patients as soon as their condition is stable. Acute care services can include wound care, radiology, nutritional services, and IV therapy.

Long-Term Acute Care

Long-term acute care — or LTAC — is similar to STAC, except that it focuses on patients in need of care for more than 25 days. Patients in these facilities typically come from the intensive care unit at hospitals and are in need of specialized attention over an extended period of time. Unlike a rehabilitation facility, LTAC facilities are focused on acute medical needs; they treat respiratory problems, neurological disorders, complex wounds or burns, infectious diseases, chronic conditions, and surgery complications.

Independent Living

Independent living is for individuals who can still care for themselves but would like access to assistance when needed. There are no nurses nor aids in an independent living community, but individuals have access to dining, entertainment, and cleaning services. Residents typically have their own private living quarters in addition to access to common areas. This option is best for those seeking minimal assistance and additional convenience in their daily lives.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is for individuals that require help with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, and taking medication. At least 1 certified nurse practitioner is available to help with these activities 24 hours a day. The nurses are not equipped to provide care for any serious physical ailments. However, some assisted living facilities are able to serve patients with cognitive disabilities such as dementia and have increased security. Similar to independent living, they have regular activities that residents can participate in.

Skilled Nursing Facility

A skilled nursing facility goes beyond an assisted living facility by providing a high level of specialized medical care. Physical, speech, and occupational therapists, along with registered nurses, are available around the clock to treat patients. This type of facility offers both short-term and long-term care depending on a patient’s needs. Unlike other options, a skilled nursing facility offers a wide range of medical services with the help of trained professionals. This is a viable option if your loved one is in need of post-surgery care.

Nursing Home

A nursing home is defined as “a permanent residence for a person who needs help with activities of daily living but does not require specialized medical care,” according to Senior Advice. Nursing homes typically provide room and board, personal care, general medical care, 24-hour emergency care, social and recreational activities, transportation services, and housekeeping services. A licensed nurse is present 24 hours a day, with a dietician and activities director typically on staff.

Home Care

Lastly, home care is any professional support service that is provided in what a patient calls their home. There is a common misconception that home care only takes place in a traditional home, but this service can be utilized in any of the above situations.

Home care can range from help with everyday tasks to hourly nursing care for an illness or disability. Whether you’re recovering from an operation or dealing with a chronic condition, home care allows your loved one to receive the care they need from the comfort of their home. According to Johns Hopkins, “conditions requiring home health care most frequently include diabetes, heart failure, chronic ulcer of the skin, osteoarthritis, and hypertension.”


It’s important to evaluate what senior care options best fit you or your loved one’s situation. With so many options to choose from, you are sure to find one that provides the best quality of life.

At Bluebird, we’re committed to caring for our clients while ensuring they feel safe and comfortable. If you or someone you know could use in-home assistance, contact us today to learn more about our services.