If it has become apparent that your aging parent or loved one can no longer live independently, there are several options for senior housing arrangements. This generally depends on the level of care required for the senior. The names for types of living arrangements can change from state to state and county to county, so it’s important to research your local options specifically.
Aging at home
If you have noticed some small changes that indicate your senior just needs some daily help, living at home (also called “aging in place”) can still be an option. If the senior isn’t facing mobility changes, lives in a safe neighborhood, and has a nearby network of friends and family that they can rely on, aging in place may be suitable. This will simply mean arranging visits for occasional help with any overwhelming tasks, such as yard or home maintenance.
“Villages” and Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) are concepts that allow seniors to stay in their homes even if they don’t have a social circle to rely on. Villages and NORCs provide services like in-home medical care, transportation, social activities, and other provisions for aging seniors. NORCs are generally found in lower-income communities in the United States, while villages are a relatively new concept and just 190 are spread throughout the world.
Even if an at-home solution is currently viable for the senior in your life, it’s important to consider their changing needs as they age and potential options for the future.
Independent living arrangements go by many names: retirement community, retirement home, or senior housing. An independent living scenario can be a set of apartments, condominiums, or even a free-standing house specifically designated for senior citizens. Independent living communities are more adapted to seniors because they are often more navigable and offer assistance with transportation and upkeep of living space. These communities often provide social opportunities, as well, which is an important element of healthy aging. Independent Living communities in the US generally cost between $1,500 and $3,500 monthly.
Assisted living is an option if a senior’s needs don’t quite require the round-the-clock care provided by nursing homes, but still require more help than is provided in an independent living situation. Like independent living, assisted living arrangements go by many names: adult group home, sheltered housing, congregate care, and adult group home. In assisted living, staff is always available to help with physical mobility challenges, personal care tasks, and medications. Accommodations are often shared or individual bedrooms with communal dining and social areas, though some places will have apartments with small kitchenettes. Assisted living communities in the US generally cost between $2,500 and $4,000 monthly.
This is the greatest level of intensive care an elderly adult can receive outside of a hospital. Nursing homes provide all types of care, but they are specifically suited for seniors with demanding medical needs. On-site nurses are available and each patient’s care is overseen by a licensed physician. Nursing homes in the US generally cost between $4,000 and $8,000.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities
When assessing a senior’s needs, it’s worth considering a Continuing Care Retirement Community. These are all-encompassing facilities that include each of the three levels of care — independent living, assisted living, and nursing home — in a single location. This means the senior can avoid dramatic changes as their care needs change and it also presents an opportunity for couples with differing needs to stay close to each other.
Making decisions for a senior who can no longer live independently can be challenging and confusing. Consult friends and family members for support and do thorough research. Before making any commitments, be very clear on costs and services provided by any elder housing situation.
Posted on 10/7/2016 at 4:00:00 AM