Important care and housing issues for seniors to consider
Aging is a time of adaptation and change, and planning your future housing needs is an important part of ensuring that you continue to thrive as you get older. Of course, every older adult is different, so the senior housing choice that’s right for one person may not be suitable for another. The key to making the best choice is to match your housing with your lifestyle, health and financial needs. This may mean modifying your own home to make it safer and more comfortable, or it could mean moving to a housing community with more support and social options available on site. It could also involve moving to a retirement community or an apartment building where the majority of tenants are over the age of 65, or even a nursing home.
When deciding on the senior housing that’s right for you, it’s important to consider not only the needs you have now but also those you may have in the future. For example:
Physical and medical needs. As you age, you may need some help with physical needs, including activities of daily living. This could range from shopping, cleaning, cooking and looking after pets to intensive help with bathing, moving around and eating. You may also need increasing help with medical needs. These could arise from a sudden condition, such as a heart attack or stroke, or a more gradual condition that slowly needs more and more care, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
Home maintenance. If you’re living alone, your current home may become too difficult or too expensive to maintain. You may have health problems that make it hard to manage tasks such as housework and yard maintenance that you once took for granted or you may just find that you would prefer to use your time in other ways.
Social and emotional needs. As you age, your social networks may change. Friends or family may not be as close by, or neighbors may move or pass on. You may no longer be able to continue driving or have access to public transportation in order to meet with family and friends. Or you simply may want to expose yourself to more social opportunities and avoid becoming isolated and housebound.
Financial needs. Modifying your home and long-term care can be expensive, so balancing the care you need with where you want to live requires careful evaluation of your budget.
Preparing Yourself for Change
Whether you’re considering home care services or relocating to a retirement community, planning your future housing needs often runs hand-in-hand with facing up to some loss in your level of independence. Understandably, the prospect of losing independence can be overwhelming for many older adults. It can bring with it feelings of shame, embarrassment, fear, confusion and anger.
But it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this. Most people over the age of 65 will require some type of long-term care services. And there’s nothing to be ashamed about in admitting you need more help than you used to. After all, we’ve all had to rely on others at some point during our adult lives, be it for help at work, home or vehicle repairs, professional or legal services, or simply moral support. For many of us, independence is recognizing when it’s time to ask for help.
What are your Senior Housing Options?
There is a broad array of housing options available to seniors, from staying in your own home to specialized facilities that provide round-the-clock nursing care. The names of the different types of housing options can sometimes be confusing, as the terminology can vary from region to region. For example, the term “assisted living” can mean one thing in one state or country and something slightly different elsewhere. However, in general, the different types of senior housing are categorized according to the amount of care provided for activities of daily living and for medical care. When researching a senior housing option, make sure it covers your required level of care and that you understand exactly the facilities offered and the costs involved.
Check our members page for senior placement professionals with expert and current knowledge of local senior housing availability.
What Are Your Needs?
Assessing your Senior Housing Needs and How Monrovia Providers Group Can Help
When evaluating your senior housing needs, consider the following issues:
Level of care. No one can predict the future. However, if you or a loved one has a chronic medical condition that is expected to worsen over time, it’s especially important to think about how you will handle health and mobility problems. What are common complications of your condition, and how will you handle them? Are you already at the point where you need daily help?
Location and accessibility. Even if you are completely independent at this time, circumstances can change. It pays to think a little about your current location and accessibility of your current home. For example, how far is your home from shopping, medical facilities or other services? If you can no longer drive, what kind of transportation access will you have? Can your home be easily modified? Does it have a lot of steps or a steep hill to navigate? Do you have a large yard that needs to be maintained?
Social support. How easy is it for you to visit friends, neighbors or engage in hobbies that you enjoy? If it becomes difficult or impossible for you to leave your home, you’ll become isolated and depression can rapidly set in.
Caregiving support. You will want to consider housing where both your current and future needs can be met. Even if family members can commit to caregiving, they might not be able to fill in all the gaps if physical and medical needs become extreme. The more thought you put into your future, the better chance your needs will be met.
Finances. Making a budget with anticipated expenses can help you weigh the pros and cons of your situation. Senior housing options like assisted living can be expensive, but extensive in-home help can also rapidly mount in cost, especially at higher levels of care and live-in or 24-hour coverage. You may be able to purchase insurance to offset some of the costs of long-term care. In the U.S., the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides some housing options for seniors under a certain income limit, while Medicaid covers the bulk of nursing home care for those with limited income and assets.
Need a professional assessment? Life Care Managers™ (formerly geriatric care managers) can provide an assessment as well as assistance with managing your situation, including crisis management, interviewing in-home help or assisting with placement in an assisted living community or nursing home.
Check out our Community Services and Resources pages for helpful links that are useful in navigating through this new chapter in your life. Whether you are a senior seeking help, a child of a senior or a just a friend…there is help. Please feel free to contact a member of Monrovia Providers Group or do your own personal investigation of available resources.