As the old saying goes, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” We all have to admit that almost nothing has gone according to plan during the past few months. The uncertainty is even more unsettling as people age or as we assist loved ones through life changes associated with aging.

It is a good idea to plan for the inevitable aging process. Individuals, couples and families can help manage the uncertainty by considering a move to a Life Plan Community. Such a setting allows people to plan their lives – to the extent that is possible – by living in a community that provides various care options if those needs arise in the future.

What does a Life Plan Community look like? It’s not how the community “looks” that matters, but rather what it offers. Multiple care options are key elements of a Life Plan Community. These interconnected care options can be beneficial for couples, especially if one partner is ailing. A couple can receive varying care levels within the same community. They can see each other regularly, provide emotional support and reduce their stress.  They might not be sleeping in the same room, but they are near each other and able to let professionals provide the needed care.

Studies show that the caregiver often predeceases the ailing partner when couples try to stay in their homes longer than they are capable. Stress levels often become overwhelming for the caregiver, which puts the person needing help in a dangerous situation.

Moving to a Life Plan Community with multiple care levels can alleviate those situations.

The independent living level offers the most freedom. That could be in a home, condo or duplex located in what looks like an ordinary subdivision but is managed by the Life Plan Community. Such a setting might offer additional services as needed.

Next would be independent apartments, which often are physically connected to a complex offering higher care levels.

As the need for assistance increases, residents can transition to supportive care in their apartments. If even more help is required, they can move into the assisted living part of the facility. Typically, a memory care setting is also available. Similar to assisted living, memory care offers staff that is trained to deal with those unique challenges. Living areas can be specifically designed with those needs in mind.

A skilled nursing facility is the highest care level and offers around-the-clock monitoring and assistance.

Sometimes people float between care levels as they deal with various health situations. Other services, such as physical therapy and hospice, also might be available to help keep residents comfortable.

You might not need all of these care levels, but moving to a Life Plan Community offers multiple options if, or when, you need them.