By Jaclyn Brandt
The baby boom of the 1940s and 1950s created a whole new generation of modern thinkers and doers. But now that the generation is aging, both the government and private groups are discussing the future of care.
In Wisconsin, the three main options for care include an adult family home, residential care apartment complexes or community based residential facility. All three options are similar, but unique in their own ways. According to Aging and Disabilities Resource Center of Wisconsin, the differences in the three options include things like size, location, amount of independence and amount of interaction with others.
Paul and Jolene Moran recently opened the Century Oaks Residential Care Community in Oshkosh and have only been growing since then. They have owned similar facilities throughout the Fox Valley since 1991, and looked back on their experiences and their staff’s needs when opening their new center.
“How could we make it easier for our staff to do their jobs and spend more time with the residents?” Paul Moran asked. “Our new design of the building makes it easier for not only the residents but the staff.”
With the influx of a new generation, part of those changes included meeting the needs of a new market of residents that need all different varieties of care.
“The residents we are taking care of still own a car and go out and get their hair done, to the point where they are in hospice,” Moran explained.
Those residents at all different stages are different than they have ever been in the past. Newer generations are asking for more, and Century Oaks is doing what they can to make it the best experience for everyone. They made changes like making washers and dryers more accessible to residents. And while they have many residents who are hoping for complete independence, they also house people of all kinds.
According to the Public Policy Institute, 68 percent of Americans believe a family member will take care of them, “but this belief may collide with the reality of dramatically shrinking availability of family caregivers.” As Baby Boomers age, the amount of possible caregivers in their lives decreases.
There is no wrong option when choosing your housing type, but each person must decide what works best for them. The patients can decide to stay at home and be taken care of there, or they can decide to live with others. Community-Based Residential Facilities can vary widely, and can allow very little independence to almost-complete independence.
In the state of Wisconsin, there are nearly 1,500 CBRFs, ranging anywhere from five beds each, to more than 200, according to the Department of Health Services (that number includes not only capacity for the elderly, but also for people with developmental disabilities, alcohol/drug rehab and the terminally ill). There are 296 facilities that act as Residential Care Apartment Complexes, and 483 Adult Family Homes.
There are a variety of organizations that own the facilities, including the government (county or state), non-profits, churches, corporations, and others.
The state of Wisconsin Department of Health Services has an agency set up to help aging Wisconsinites with these decisions. They offer disability benefit counseling, elderly benefit counseling, enrollment and options counseling. They also offer a service consulting with the person who is considering moving out of their home and into care.
“Sometimes people are unaware that there are services and supports that can be provided right in their own home, often making a move unnecessary,” the agency explained. “Those who want to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility (such as a community based residential facility or residential care apartment complex), can find it difficult to know which facility would be the best for them or a loved one.”
The agency offers help with finding a specific facility to meet your needs within your county and to discuss your options.
“I think the market is changing. Were taking place the actual nursing homes of the past,” Moran said. “I think people are demanding more… and I believe that assisted living homes are being depended upon more than what they ever have before because they are trying to direct people away from nursing homes and toward a less restricted environment.”