Driving through the retirement community of Lutheran Sunset Ministries, you wouldn’t think it was anything more than an upscale neighborhood. This neighborhood, composed of Rainbow Retirement Community’s intricate assortment of independent living residences, College Hill’s assisted living and a beautiful Health Center, Sunset Home, makes for a picture perfect full continuum of care.
Communities with a full continuum of care must offer accommodations for independent living, assisted living, memory care and health center (nursing home) care all on one campus. The wonderful thing about these retirement communities is a person can downsize and literally spend the rest of their life in one location, moving between levels of support as needed, having the security of knowing that whatever comes their way they will be supported in one location. If one decides a community with a full continuum of care is right for them, it is important to look at services available and benefits offered.
Most retirement communities that provide a continuum of service were begun by religious and fraternal organizations as local missions of service. Lutheran Sunset Ministries first opened its doors in 1954 from the grounds of what had been a vibrant college campus. Breathing new life into the empty grounds, local leaders conspired to begin a ministry to serve the aging population. This “community” within a community has evolved throughout the years and continues to be renovated in order to best support the ever changing needs of those we serve. Each community has a unique story, but most are similar to that of Lutheran Sunset Ministries.
Residing in a community with a full continuum of services generally lessens all worries for the resident and his/her loved ones – it provides an environment where someone can truly enjoy their retirement years with just about everything included and taken care of. The following services are commonly offered:
- Lawn Care
- Garbage/snow/ice removal
- Social/Spiritual/Physical/Intellectual Opportunities
- Health monitoring
All too often, we see couples in the greater community each needing support to some degree and, more times than not, their levels of function are different. This presents a very stressful reality for these individuals. The brilliant thing about the continuum of services concept is a couple can enter one of these communities and live in very close proximity, even if they need differing levels of support. This provides a unique opportunity for the couple to not only receive the support they need, but bypass the separation that is associated with other models of senior living.
The physical, social, spiritual and intellectual opportunities available at a retirement community help all seniors lead a more active, meaningful life. An engaging lifestyle helps keep us happy and healthy. Many times, especially after the loss of a significant other, the widow or widower starts to self-isolate while grieving. In a retirement community, the strong social network that is developed keeps people functioning and motivated through thick and thin.
Another wonderful benefit that cannot be forgotten is the freedom that comes along with residing in a community with a continuum of service. At all levels of support, caring hands are there to assist. While only minimal assistance with residence upkeep and health monitoring may be appropriate for those more independent, the assisted living and health center are only a stone’s throw away and provide all the support one could ever need. At Lutheran Sunset Ministries, we have individuals that spend many weeks of the year on the road traveling. They have the luxury of walking out of the door of their residence without a worry in the world, knowing everything will be taken care of while they are away.
When visiting a campus, try to explore the full range of health and wellness opportunities and social events, both on-campus and off – don’t just look at the independent living residences. Visit the assisted living and health center as well; if the time should come that you need a higher level of support, you want to know you’re in good hands.
Article by Lance Allen, Sunset Home administrator.by