Evaluating Senior Living Options

Moving out of the family home is an incredibly difficult decision to make, but it’s one that must be made eventually. When you can no longer meet your daily care needs or maintain proper home maintenance, it could be time to move on. 

Regardless, you may be wondering which senior living option is right for you and where you should go when you decide to leave the family home behind. In this article, we will address those concerns.

Benefits of Senior Living Communities

Independent living communities and assisted living communities provide several benefits you won’t get if you stay in your own home, including:

Improved Safety

The perceived lack of safety is the primary reason loved ones want to send their parents or grandparents to a nursing home or assisted living facility. They worry that their beloved family members will fall and hurt themselves and that no one will be there to help or even call an ambulance.

It’s a valid concern. 

Not only do seniors suffer more accidents in the home, particularly in the bathroom and kitchen, but they are also more prone to suffering serious and life-changing injuries. 

The added level of care provided by a senior living community, including round-the-clock personal care, on-demand medical care, locked doors for Alzheimer’s patients, and emergency care services, makes these facilities a much safer option.

More Social Interaction

As you age, you drift apart from your loved ones. Your friends move away or pass away. Your children start families of their own, and if you don’t have a spouse to support you, it can be difficult to get through the day. You’re bored, you’re alone, and all the Facebook chats and Skype sessions in the world can’t replace face-to-face interactions with likeminded people.

This is something that a senior living community can provide. You’ll live alongside people of a similar age and with similar interests. There are common areas where you can watch TV and play games with other patients, and there are also plenty of staff members to communicate with. 

Your family can still visit you just like they would if you stayed in your own home. In fact, many seniors move to communities that are closer to their loved ones and end up seeing more of them than before.

Lots of Activities

Sick of spending your days doing Sudoku and crosswords? If you live alone, it’s hard to fill the time and keep yourself occupied, but in a senior living community this is rarely a problem.

The stereotype of nursing homes is people playing bingo all day and, while this is certainly one of the available activities, it’s not the only one. There are art classes, fitness classes, and even outdoor retreats, and this is true for most senior living communities.

No Home Maintenance

Assisted living facilities and nursing homes will do all the cleaning and cooking, which goes without saying, but the same is true for independent senior living communities. They provide many of the basic cleaning and home maintenance tasks and offer additional services as optional extras. It’s like living in a hotel!

No Stress

Once you take the worry of accidents away, fill some of your time with fun activities, social interactions, and have somewhere safe to sleep and eat. You’ll find that the stress of daily living just melts away.

Senior Living Options

Seniors dread words like “skilled nursing facility” and “nursing home,” so much so that it becomes an inside joke with parents and their kids. “Stop being so reckless or I’ll put you in a nursing home!”

They worry that they will lose their freedom and their independence. They also worry that by agreeing to move to a nursing facility, they are somehow admitting defeat and giving up on life.

Firstly, these facilities offer multiple different levels of care and cater to people of all needs. Secondly, they are not the only options available. Senior living facilities have evolved over the years and range considerably in size, type, and the level of care they provide. 

Independent Living Communities

Also known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities or “CCRCs,” these communities allow the residents to continue living normally while providing them with some basic home care and personal care services.

Residents live in communities, some of which don’t provide any additional care at all, simply offering the benefits of communal living for a monthly fee.

In a way, it’s like living on a college campus all over again, only instead of attending classes and parties, your days will be spent enjoying outings and partaking in recreational activities with fellow seniors.

Assisted Living Facilities

An assisted living facility is a care facility that is staffed 24/7 and provides a multitude of care options. These options are often available on a sliding scale, ranging from the most basic activities of daily living to more complex memory care.

Some of the long-term care solutions provided by these facilities include food preparation, medication management, personal hygiene assistance, and emergency care, as needed. 

In many ways, assisted living facilities are the bridge between independent senior housing and nursing homes, offering less freedom than the former but more than the latter.

Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs)

Older adults struggling with the later stages of dementia may need more advanced care, and this is exactly what skilled nursing facilities, also known as nursing homes, can provide. They can help individuals with all kinds of medical conditions and offer advanced personal care and health care as needed.

Which Option is Right for You?

The right option for you will ultimately depend on two factors: your budget and your needs. Unfortunately, while the latter is the most important factor, it’s the former that has a greater impact on people’s decisions.

Long-term care insurance and Medicare can help with some of the costs, but over the long term you’ll be left to foot the bill. Speak with your friends and family, look at all available housing options, plan thoroughly, and make sure you know exactly what you need and what you’re getting before you make your final decision.

Although it may be difficult, you could be forced to put your health needs before your budget and start looking at ways you can cover the expense. If you’re alone and struggling with your health and mobility, it’s better to liquidate and borrow than it is to allow your health and your well-being to suffer.

The final years of your life are supposed to be stress and hassle-free, the only years where the worries of bills and finances take a back seat, so don’t let them stop you from making the decision that is best for you.