When a Loved One’s Needs Change: Living Options and How they Differ


When a Loved One’s Needs Change: Living Options and How they Differ 

By Rita Waxon, Executive Director
Elk Run Assisted Living Community

Elk Run by Augustana Care is a non-profit, faith based assisted living community in Evergreen that also offers respite services. Respite services are an option for families who need guilt-free time away from caregiving or for the person who needs additional rehabilitation before going home. Elk Run has a comfortable and tranquil setting next to 1,140 acres of elk preserve. Call 303-679-8777 X 1604 to schedule a tour. 

Many families believe their loved ones need skilled nursing communities, when in fact assisted living is more appropriate. A medical professional can determine what kind of care may be needed through an assessment. Assisted living offers a variety of options that are a cost effective, residential approach to delivering care and services.

What is the difference between assisted living and skilled nursing? Assisted living residents are mainly independent, but may need help with daily personal tasks such as bathing, dressing or medication assistance. Residents in skilled nursing communities tend to need a high level of nursing services 24 hours a day with both medical and daily living tasks.

Assisted living health care services may include medication monitoring and assistance or mobility assistance. Elk Run employs a registered nurse(RN) and an RN is on call 24 hours a day. Additionally, we have multiple service agencies that come on site such as a dental company, nurse practitioner and incontinence supplier. We also have physical and occupational therapy on site. 

Denver College of Nursing students are at Elk Run regularly to do their practicum work. When on site they are paired with residents to offer assistance. These student nurses strive to achieve excellence in healthcare education every day and we have seen them making a profound difference in residents’ lives. We believe good student nurses are the future of quality and excellence in healthcare.

Assisted living residents can choose from numerous activities, including exercise classes, art projects, trips to museums and musical concerts. An intergenerational program brings residents together with children and special friendships are formed. In-house Bible study groups and worship services, science, history and genealogy lectures and special events also add to an active, independent lifestyle. Residents utilize scheduled transportation and attend Resident Council meetings to share their opinions and ideas.

Skilled nursing residents generally have a single or semi-private room, while assisted living residents typically live in a studio suite or one-bedroom apartment with a kitchenette. Elk Run offers three nutritious, tasty meals a day, which are included in the room cost. Menus are developed with the input of residents and even with some recipes provided by residents.

For those who need skilled nursing or memory care, Elk Run partners with Life Care Center of Evergreen, which provides skilled nursing and short term rehabilitation. Life Care Center of Evergreen helps patients recover from serious illnesses or injuries after being discharged from the hospital. Meanwhile, Elk Run offers respite care to help caregivers who need time away from daily responsibilities.

A stay in our respite suites provides short-term services in a welcoming atmosphere with home-cooked meals for several days or weeks. Trained staff members are available 24 hours a day. Each furnished suite is equipped with a comfortable bed, entertainment center, kitchenette, a walk-in shower with grab bars and an emergency pendant.

All services are provided by order of the resident’s physician, and supported by frequent communication between the doctor and RN. Each resident’s care plan is developed with input from physicians, the resident, families and Elk Run staff.

Elk Run partners with Mount Evans Home Health Care and Hospice to assist in meeting residents’ changing needs. We recognize that residents may need extra care after a hospital procedure or during an illness. Mount Evans Home Health Care and Hospice also partners with Elk Run to provide hospice services for residents along with palliative care.

When treatments are no longer successful, or increased support or pain management is needed, hospice may be the right solution. Our comfort suites offer a peaceful environment designed to minimize pain while fostering comfort and dignity.

Of course, residents and families are free to select any hospice or home health agency they choose while residing at Elk Run. For those who desire it, spiritual care encompassing a broad range of faiths and beliefs is also available.

If you or your loved one is not ready for assisted living, the Seniors’ Resource Center (SRC) offers services that support older adults in their current environments. Services include adult day care, Meals on Wheels, in-home care and more. Elk Run invites older adults from the center to our campus for activities and lunch so that they can interact with one another. SRC offers transportation services to Elk Run with a handicapped-accessible van.

Elk Run offers a home-like, down-to-earth ambiance with a vibrant atmosphere. Elk Run also offers pet therapy and is “pet friendly,” as we know there are health benefits when people interact with pets. Our goal is to give residents the freedom and time to discover new possibilities and friendships, while trading the burdens of homeownership for a maintenance-free lifestyle.

Should you have any questions about how assisted living differs from skilled nursing and memory care—or would just like to learn more about Elk Run—please give us a call at 303-679-8777. 

You can also find us on the web at www.elkrunassistedliving.com or follow us on Facebook.
Director of Marketing, Kristina Sherwood, is happy to assist you and your family.