As the number of adults reaching retirement age in Grand Junction and Mesa County continues to grow, more retired seniors and their loved ones are realizing they need to find long-term housing plans that meet their lifestyle and care needs. With so many residential and care options, choosing the right long-term care plan can be daunting, especially if you’re just starting out. Here’s what we think every senior and their loved one should know about long-term care options.

Understanding the Need for Long-term Care

Photo: A man and a woman look at a map
More retired seniors and their loved ones are realizing they need to find long-term housing plans that meet their lifestyle and care needs.

Many retirees initially plan to age in place in the home or community they’re already familiar with, but over time, individual health needs can change, leading more older adults to consider transitioning to senior living.

On average, 37 percent of people think they’ll need long-term care as they age, but, statistically, about 69 percent will require some form of assistance or care. For Mesa County, with more than 21,000 people age 65 or older, about 15,000 will need some form of senior living and care support.

Deciding Which Care Option is For You

There are several types of long-term care options available, including in-home health care, senior living and, commonly, enlisting the help of a loved one as an informal caregiver. Local organizations like the Area Agency on Aging, run by the Mesa County Department of Human Services, provide thorough resources for seniors seeking in-home care, community services, caregiver resources and senior living communities.

While exploring the options available in your community, it’s important to keep in mind which options will benefit you in the short- and long-term. The care option you choose should reflect yours—or your loved one’s—personal interests, personality and needs.

Comparing In-home Care and Senior Living Communities

The type of care you need will depend on a number of factors, including how independent you are currently and whether you want to continue to stay in your own home. In-home care can be a great option for those who only need part-time assistance with simple chores or errands but can get expensive if needs fluctuate.

One of the many reasons more older adults are choosing senior living is to relieve the burden of home ownership and maintenance, which can be costly or even dangerous. For some, living alone can take quite a toll, making the ample social opportunities in a senior living community especially attractive.

Learning the Difference Between Senior Living Options

When it comes to senior living, there’s no “one-size-fits-all.” Because there are many types of senior living communities, we’ve broken down the most common options below:

1. Independent Living

This is an ideal choice for active older adults who want to continue living on their own, with access to community amenities and enriching social activities. Residents typically reside in private apartments with full kitchens but have access to community dining through a meal plan option; housekeeping is usually available as well.

Services and amenities, such as fitness centers, wellness programs, clubs, happy hours and a regular calendar of activities, are designed to encourage socialization and a healthy lifestyle. Independent living has a lot to offer those who don’t need any assistance with everyday activities but may not accommodate future health care needs if the community doesn’t offer care plans.

2. Assisted Living

Assisted living communities are designed for seniors who are able to live independently but may need help with activities of daily living. These communities offer personal and health support services, such as medication management or assistance with dressing and bathing.

Like independent living communities, they offer a calendar of social activities, dining services and housekeeping. However, they also have medical professionals on hand to assist with care as needed, giving residents and their loved ones’ peace of mind.

When evaluating assisted living options, consider which services will benefit you or your loved one now and in the future, with care options designed for their specific needs. Ideally, care plans and wellness programs should be tailored to each resident, so they can stay independent for as long as possible.

3. Memory Care

Memory care is specifically designed for seniors living with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other forms of cognitive impairment. While some communities cater exclusively to memory care residents, memory care is usually provided in a secure area of an assisted living community, such as a separate floor or a private wing.

Residents enjoy sensory-based social programming to help them engage with each other, their loved ones and the world around them. Trained dementia care staff cater to residents’ individual needs, and round-the-clock security prevents residents from wandering, which is a common and potentially dangerous symptom of memory loss.

An ideal memory care program uses a person-centered approach to create a comfortable environment that allows residents to feel safe and social. By addressing individual wellness rather than illness, memory care staff can create an authentic experience suited to continued growth and development.

Finding the “Right Fit”

As you begin narrowing down your search for long-term care in Grand Junction, it’s necessary to consider what contributes to a fulfilling life. While physical health is important to overall well-being, a senior living community needs to accommodate the emotional, spiritual and intellectual experiences that contribute to individual wellness.

The Lodge at Grand Junction is the newest senior living community in Mesa County, offering both assisted living and memory care to support seniors on Colorado’s Western Slope in aging well. Located across the street from St. Mary’s Medical, The Lodge’s prime location makes it easy to get to nearby restaurants and shops.

Managed by WellAge Senior Communities, a professional management firm based in Colorado, The Lodge at Grand Junction is a locally owned, operated and managed community created specifically to accommodate older adults living in or retiring in Mesa County. Residents enjoy high-quality amenities, a comfortable living environment and an enriching lifestyle suited to their individual interests.


For more information on The Lodge at Grand Junction, visit https://thelodgeatgrandjunction.com or call (970) 470-8428. If you would like assistance in learning more about senior living options, please don’t hesitate to contact us as we can help you explore your options.