What Level of Care Do You Need?

What Level of Care Do You Need in a Retirement Community?

“I (or my loved one) needs more care, but I don’t know what level of care is needed or where to start looking for help.”

This is a common statement often heard from those who are at a point in their lives where they need to look at senior care or housing options. The entire process of learning about senior living options can be terribly confusing. On one hand, we are very fortunate that there are so many options to choose from, but that also means making the best decision can be more difficult. You often hear the terms independent living, assisted living, nursing home, and rehab… but what does it all mean? Hopefully we can make it a little clearer for you.

Independent Living

This could be referred to as senior apartments or residential apartments. Typically someone moving into independent living is looking to downsize or give up their home because it has become too much to care for; or they are looking for an opportunity to socialize and be around people. They are able to care for themselves, but may be looking for services like meals, housekeeping and transportation.

The GreenField Manor offers one- and two-bedroom residential apartment homes with nine styles to choose from. The kitchens are fully equipped with a refrigerator, range and dishwasher, and each apartment has its own washer and dryer and an emergency response system. Some styles offer a fireplace and a patio or balcony. The residents of the Manor enjoy services including one meal each day in the dining room, weekly housekeeping, transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping and an array of activities.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is sometimes referred to as Enriched Housing or Adult Home. At this level, the person needs assistance with their activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and grooming, as well as medication management due to physical or cognitive impairments. Typically, there is nursing staff available to help with these services and to provide general supervision. This could be in a room setting or an apartment setting.

“What makes someone appropriate for assisted living and not a higher level of care?” is a common question. Typically, a resident in assisted living must be able to ambulate (or move around) independently, be it with a cane or a walker. Some assisted living facilities allow wheelchairs or motorized wheelchairs. Residents also need to be independent with transferring (i.e. getting up out of a chair on their own, moving from a bed to a wheelchair on their own, etc.) and toileting.

The GreenField Court offers one- and two-bedroom apartments in their enriched housing, equipped with a kitchenette and private bathroom. Included in the services are three meals each day served in a beautiful dining room, weekly housekeeping and laundry service, daily activities, transportation to medical appointments and grocery shopping, and 24-hour assistance with the activities of daily living and medication management. At GreenField Court, residents with early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s cannot be at risk for wandering.

Assisted Living Memory Care

This refers to an assisted living level of care that specializes in services and programs for individuals with more advanced cognitive impairments, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Memory care facilities have locked units for those residents that are at risk for wandering. GreenField Terrace provides this level of care.

Skilled Nursing

This could be referred to as a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or 24-hour skilled care. At this level, the person needs high intensity medical care and supervision provided by doctors, registered or licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing aides.

The GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center is a licensed skilled nursing facility. It also offers respite care which provides a short-term stay for someone whose caregiver needs a break from their duties for personal or medical reasons.


This could also be referred to as subacute care. Typically this level of care is provided after a hospitalization and offers comprehensive care designed to treat illnesses, injuries or disease processes that are inappropriate for acute care, such as a hospital. Treatments can include physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Outpatient Therapy

This service is often ideal for people recovering from joint replacements. They are able to continue their physical therapy after being discharged to their home. As a rule, those who have rehabilitated at The GreenFields find that continuing their therapy with staff and programs with which they are already familiar makes it easier for them and their recovery.

The GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center offers inpatient rehabilitation, along with aquatic therapy, outpatient therapy and a wellness center.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: A great source to help you with your search is the Senior Care Assessment Tool which you can find at LeadingAge WNY. This tool was developed to help family members assess the situation of caring for an elderly loved one by answering a series of questions. Once the questions are answered, a list of the best available options to suit the needs of the person are posted.

Although each of these types of stand-alone facilities can be found throughout the Western New York area, the beauty of The GreenFields Continuing Care Community is that residents at any level have priority access to each level right on the same campus, without any large entrance fee. To learn more about The GreenFields Continuing Care Community or to discuss what might be the best level of care for you or your loved one, call the Senior Living Department at (716) 684-8400.

Hear this topic as presented on WBEN radio.


The GreenFields resident



5959 Broadway
Lancaster, NY 14086

The Niagara Lutheran Health System does not discriminate in the admittance of residents or the hiring of employees relative to age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, sexual preference gender, gender identity, blindness, handicap, sponsor, marital status, or religion.

Niagara Lutheran Health Foundation

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