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What is Independent Living?

Independent Living, or Retirement Living, is for people who are able to live on their own but do not want to maintain a home.

Why would I choose Independent Living if I can stay in my home instead?

For people tired of living alone in a house that was once full of family, an Independent Living community offers social interaction and meaningful activities. For people who don’t want to cook for themselves, many retirement communities offer prepared meals in restaurant-style dining rooms. And for people whose families worry about their safety, Independent Living communities generally have staff on-site 24 hours a day.

What should I look for in an Independent Living community?

When you tour the campus, notice what kinds of activities the residents are involved in, and check the walls to see what other recreations are posted. Ask for an opportunity to enjoy a meal on-campus — and spend that time interacting with other residents and asking questions about the menu. If you plan to spend a lot of time outside of your apartment, look at the community areas, game rooms, coffee shop, and fitness center. Also drive or stroll around the neighborhood where the community is located, to make sure the library, post office, and other establishments are convenient.

Which Providence communities offer Independent Living?

Providence Life Services has communities in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan that offer Independent Living:


What is Assisted Living?

An Assisted Living residence is a combination of community living with personalized supportive services and some health care designed to meet the needs of people who need help with activities of daily living. The goal of Assisted Living is to ensure safety while preserving as much independence as possible.

What should I look for in Assisted Living campuses?

First determine the needs of the person you are looking for, and set your goals from there. Tour the campus — together if possible — and take notice of:

  • how happy the residents seem
  • how friendly and helpful the staff seem
  • what kinds of recreational activities are posted
  • what levels of care are available, and what is included in each level
  • whether the community is licensed

If you have an opportunity to eat in the dining room, use that time to interact with other residents while you are sampling the food.

How does an Assisted Living community differ from a nursing home?

Nursing homes offer a higher level of medical care, usually for very frail people who have numerous healthcare requirements. Assisted Living communities are intended for people who are generally able to care for themselves except for a few activities with which they require help — for example, preparing meals, bathing, dressing, or performing household chores. Assisted Living services are also helpful for people who are sometimes confused or experiencing memory problems.

What about costs?

Costs vary according to the residence, apartment size, and the types of services needed. A basic Assisted Living fee may cover all services or there may be additional charges for special services such as injections or transfers from bed to chair. Most Assisted Living communities charge month-to-month rates, but a few require long-term arrangements.

Who pays the bill for an Assisted Living residence?

Residents or their families generally pay the cost of care from their own financial resources. Depending on the nature of an individual’s health insurance program or long-term care insurance policy, costs may be reimbursed.

Which Providence communities offer Assisted Living?

Providence Life Services has communities in Illinois and Michigan where Assisted Living services are available:


What should I look for in a Skilled Nursing community?

First determine the needs of the patient. Most skilled nursing communities offer both long-term medical care and short-term rehab/therapy services. If the patient needs long-term care, you’ll want to be sure the surroundings are comfortable. It will probably never feel like “home,” but the staff, the food, and the recreation opportunities should all be high quality. If the patient needs rehab, ask about the success rates in dealing with this particular diagnosis. Tour the building and the rehab area, using all your senses to make an assessment: Does it smell clean? Is there clutter in the rooms and work areas? Are the staff and other residents noisy? How appetizing is the food? In what ways do the staff interact with the residents? Do the other residents seem content and well-groomed? What kind of activities are posted on the monthly calendar? Is there a sample menu you can review? All these details will help you make a decision after you’ve done some research.

What is 'Skilled Care'?

“Skilled care” requires the daily involvement of licensed nursing and/or rehabilitation staff. By contrast, help with basic “activities of daily living” (dressing, bathing, walking, etc.), is considered “custodial care” and is not covered under Medicare.

Where does Providence Life Services offer Skilled Nursing care?

Providence offers both long-term medical care and short-term rehabilitation therapy at these locations:


What kinds of care can I get in my own home?

Just about any kind of care or service you need can be provided in your home. But different kinds of providers offer different types of care, and Medicare coverage varies depending on what senior care you need. Adding to the confusion is the fact that different providers call their care by different names. Listed below is a description of different types of care and the names they go by.


  • Home Health (also called medical care, skilled care, licensed care) — medical services delivered by licensed professionals following a doctor’s orders, for patients who are homebound and under a doctor’s care; an agency offering home health services must be Medicare-certified
  • Private Duty (also called home care, in-home care, sitter services, non-medical care) — services such as light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, transportation to physician appointments, help with bathing and dressing, medication reminders; usually the aides providing private duty services are not licensed
  • Hospice (also called Comfort Care, Compassionate Care, End-of-Life Care, Palliative Care) — nursing care intended to make a patient comfortable when there is a life expectancy of six months or less; hospice is not designed to hasten death or “help” someone die, but rather to help patients live the remainder of their lives as fully as possible
Why should I choose in-home care?

In-home care works well for people who are for the most part independent but may need some help, either at a specific time of the day, or with specific tasks. If you prefer the assurance of knowing that help is available at the press of a button, checking into an Assisted Living or Independent Living community might be a better option, unless you choose to hire a full-time, live-in caregiver. If you have decided to move into an Assisted Living community, and you need help while you are waiting for your home to sell, at-home services might be just what you need.

What should I look for in an in-home care provider?

An independent private duty caregiver is someone you pay directly for your caregiving needs, as opposed to paying an agency to send one of their caregiving employees. Paying an independent caregiver is usually less expensive, but the risks can be higher. For example:

  • If you hire an independent caregiver, the IRS considers you that person’s employer, and you become liable for Social Security taxes, unemployment compensation, payroll taxes, and possible criminal penalties.
  • If you hire an independent caregiver, you could be responsible to pay medical expenses and disability coverage if he or she is injured while working for you. If the caregiver doesn’t have insurance, you will be liable if he or she is injured on your property. You could also be considered liable if the caregiver causes injury to you, a loved one, or a third party.
  • If you hire an independent caregiver, it is up to you to screen the person and make sure he or she can be trusted in your home and with your personal well-being.

Working through a licensed agency relieves you of the above worries.

What kind of at-home services are offered by Providence Life Services?

Providence Life Services has a division called Providence At Home which offers Home Health, Private Duty, and Hospice services in Illinois, and Home Health and Private Duty services in Indiana. To find out how our services might benefit you and your family, call (800) 509-2800.

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