Estate Planning & Probate in Southern California & Washington 
Long Term Care

Long-Term Care Attorneys in Fullerton

Helping Families Plan for Long-Term Care in Fullerton, CA and Bellevue, WA

There are many factors to consider when assessing a person’s needs and preferences for care. It may be difficult to know which care setting is best for your loved one, so our list below is designed to describe various types or “levels” of care in general terms. Please note that within each level of care described, there are many options in terms of types of care and care settings.

Our Fullerton and Bellevue long-term care lawyers at OC Elder Law – together with a geriatric care manager – can customize our recommendations based on the specifics of your unique situation.

Call (800) 220-4205 or book a free 15-minute virtual consultation to discuss long-term care options for yourself or your loved one. We serve clients throughout Orange County.

Independent Living (IL)

The name of this category seems to say it all: that this living situation is appropriate for individuals who are still able to manage their lives independently.

In this setting, the most common services provided are:

  • Meals (anywhere from one to three meals per day)
  • Housekeeping
  • Activities
  • Maintenance
  • Security
  • Transportation

In response to an increasingly aging population with growing care needs, many communities are now offering care services to their “independent” residents. Examples of add-on services include assistance with bathing, dressing, and medication management.

An independent living community is ideal for individuals who:

  • Are capable of living alone
  • Are interested in having more social contact with their peers
  • No longer drive
  • Wish to live a “maintenance-free” lifestyle

Assisted Living (AL)

As the name suggests, this setting is for individuals who need assistance around the clock. Care needs vary greatly from person to person within assisted living, and there are many different types of communities that offer this type of care.

Services provided in this level of care generally include:

  • Housekeeping
  • Maintenance
  • Security
  • Transportation
  • Meal preparation
  • Periodic monitoring around the clock
  • Shower assistance
  • Dressing and grooming assistance
  • Toileting assistance
  • Medication management or reminders
  • Activities

An assisted living community is ideal for individuals who need assistance throughout the day due to physical and/or cognitive limitations and yet have some ability to move on their own (even if with the help of assistive devices such as walkers or wheelchairs).

Dementia Care or Memory Care (MC)

Dementia or memory care communities are assisted living communities that specialize in caring for individuals with dementia. These communities are held to strict state regulations regarding how the community is staffed, how employees are trained, and how the community secures the safety of its residents. As a result, there are lower staff/resident ratios, extra precautions to ensure residents’ safety at all times, and added security to prevent elopement from the community. All general assisted living services are offered in memory care settings.

Some memory care communities may offer continued care for residents who become bedridden or need assistance with eating. They may also offer several on-site services by medical professionals (e.g., physicians, dentists, and geriatric psychiatrists) to reduce the need to transport residents away from the community. A memory care community is ideal for individuals who have moderate to severe dementia, who tend to wander, or who need substantial care.

Board & Care Facilities

Board and care facilities/homes are typically single-family houses that have been converted into residences for elderly and/or disabled individuals. They house up to six residents in each home. All board and care facilities provide the basic assisted living services but likely fewer amenities and nonessential services. Some homes cater to specific resident needs (e.g., dementia or language spoken in the home). There is a low staff/resident ratio, but note that the caregivers may also be responsible for other things, such as cooking and cleaning.

In general, the monthly costs are lower in board and care homes compared to larger communities that have more staff and more comprehensive services. A board and care home is ideal for individuals who prefer a smaller and more home-like environment, who have specific needs that might not be met in a larger facility, or who have a smaller budget.

Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFS)

Skilled nursing facilities offer medical care for short- and long-term patients. There are two types of skilled nursing patients: those who have short-term rehabilitation needs and those who need 24-hour care for the duration of their lives. Short-term rehabilitation services (physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy) are provided for individuals who are recovering from a specific event such as a hip replacement, stroke, or heart attack.

Long-term (also referred to as “custodial”) care is provided to individuals who need round-the-clock monitoring and total care. This is the most highly regulated level of care available. Skilled nursing is ideal for individuals who need post-hospital nursing care and therapy before going home, or for individuals who are bedridden and need complete care on a long-term basis.

Multi-Level Retirement Communities

Multi-level retirement communities offer independent living, assisted living, and sometimes memory care on the same campus. Multi-level retirement communities are ideal for individuals who are looking to “age in place” as their care needs progress, or couples who have (or anticipate) different care needs.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCS)

Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) provide independent living, assisted living, memory care (sometimes), and skilled nursing on the same campus. This is the only type of community that can care for an individual in practically any care situation – with few exceptions, such as behavioral issues. CCRCs are ideal for individuals who are looking to “age in place” as their care needs progress, or couples who have (or anticipate) different care needs.

Since many CCRCs require sizeable entrance fees, they sometimes offer added benefits or incentives to residents, such as priority access to higher levels of care and discounted rates for higher levels of care.


By far, the most preferred place to live for seniors is in the comfort of their own home.

Even so, there are many things to consider when determining if the home is the optimal setting, such as:

  • The appropriateness and safety of the home environment
  • The physical, cognitive, mental, and emotional health of the individual
  • The availability of trained caregivers and services providers to support the individual

The short and long-term care needs of the care recipient should be considered when deciding to remain at home or transition to a different care setting. Home is ideal for individuals who are cognitively, mentally, and physically capable of caring for themselves (or who have adequate support from loved ones or hired caregivers) and whose homes are safe environments for them to age in place.

Discuss your needs with our long-term care attorneys in Fullerton and Bellevue. Call (800) 220-4205 today.If you are ready to move forward with your estate planning, click here to book your 90-minute planning consultation.

Meet the Crew

Compassion, Experience & Integrity
  • Marty  Burbank Photo
    Marty Burbank


    Marty Burbank wants to live in a world where children are healthy and safe, where seniors live without fear or pain, and where veterans are cared for and respected. Marty is a featured expert in estate planning and elder law by Forbes and was recognized by the Orange County Register as one of the 100 most influential people in Orange County. He frequently speaks about seniors, our military veterans, their benefits, and the legal issues related to their care and quality of life. Marty has ...
  • Erlinda  Vasquez Photo
    Erlinda Vasquez

    Of Counsel

    Erlinda Vasquez received her bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Loyola Marymount University. In college, Erlinda was involved in many extracurricular activities, including the Harvard Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI). As an LLI Scholar, Erlinda partnered with Harvard Kennedy School to create a community service project in Los Angeles. She later received her juris doctor from Loyola Law School where she discovered her passion for elder law . During her first year of law ...
  • Bryce  Letterman Photo
    Bryce Letterman


    For more than 25 years, Attorney Bryce Letterman has provided dedicated representation to clients in a wide variety of legal matters. Mr. Letterman assists clients primarily with estate planning and probate . He also has experience in several other areas, including business and civil litigation. His decades of experience in estate planning have ranged from simple wills and powers of attorney through complex planning including Medi-Cal , asset protection , and strategies to maximize the after-tax ...

OC Elder Law

What Sets Us Apart
  • Over Three Decades of Experience & Service the Community
  • Home Visits Available for Those Who Are Unable to Travel
  • Services Available in Spanish & Korean
  • Free 30 Minute Evaluation
Protect Your Treasures

Work with compassionate and experienced Estate and Elder Law attorneys who will help you plan for the unknown and protect your and your loved ones.


Start Your Jourey

Contact us today for your free evaluation. We can help avoid the choppy waters of not having a plan in place for you and your loved ones.
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
Call 800-220-4205 or complete our online contact form today