Older adults have different retirement situations, and if it is time to make a change in their living situation, picking from the available senior living options can be overwhelming. There are different options that range from aging in place at home to full-time care in nursing facilities. When you learn about the basics, it can help you narrow the options so that you can further explore what the best choice is.
When choosing the type of living situation for older adults, you first need to consider how much help they need each day. After that, you should also consider how much you or they are able to afford. If you need help in deciding, you are in the right place. In this post, we are giving you an infographic on the different types of living options for older adults.
Aging In Place
Aging in place pertains to older adults living in their own homes or with family members as long as they are able to. This option also includes having services, care, and support in the residence. It may change over time and as the person ages. It is the conscious decision of the older adult to stay in the residence they want for as long as they can with the comforts that are important to them. As they age, adding supplementary services to facilitate their living conditions and maintain their quality of life may be included.
When is Aging in Place a Good Choice?
Before you choose that aging in place is the best choice for your older adults or loved ones, you first need to consider the three main elements, which are the person, the home, and the available support network. This option only makes sense when all of these factors support the decision. First, consider the person. Most people will indicate that they want to stay in their homes as they age. However, there are times when older adults simply can’t do so safely.
The next thing you need to consider is the home itself. It should meet the needs of an elderly person. It should be accessible if they need assistance walking, and its size should be one that they can maintain with the right sustenance. Lastly, older adults need a strong support network that will give them the care that they need.
Aging in place is a perfect choice if an older adult lives in a one-story house and knows their neighbors well. It can also be great if an adult child moves into the home next to their parent so that they can give support regularly. Also, if an older adult lives in a two-story home, it should be modified so that they can stay on the main floor and not have the need to go up and down the stairs. Also, a caregiver might be needed to come in regularly to help with housekeeping and personal care.
When Is Aging In Place Not a Good Choice?
There are times when the older adult’s desire to remain independent and at home and their physical, cognitive, and emotional state don’t align. Health issues alone may not prevent them from aging in place, but they can make it far more challenging. There are also other situations wherein aging in place may not be the right choice. One of those is if you and other potential family caregivers are far away or are working full-time.
It may also not be a good choice if your loved one has a few friends in the community that can help them and if he or she is not comfortable with having waged caregivers in their home who they do not know. And of course, do not choose this option if you believe your loved one feels isolated or lonely at home and if there are no senior-friendly transportation options for them if they need to go out.
If you are the one in the role of the caregiver and you feel that these factors make aging in place not a good idea for your loved one, then you might need to consider other alternatives.
The Village Concept
The Village concept, also known as the village movement or the village model, is among the most popular and affordable options for older adults who wish to age in place. In this option, neighbors and local businesses are linked together to help older adults stay in their homes as they grow older. It is perfect for those who want help similar to what they would get at a retirement community but do not want to leave their home.
Villages are funded through membership fees and donations. They work with minimal overhead and paid staff, too. What Villages do is that they coordinate a network of trained volunteers and vetted local businesses. Members can access these services by contacting their Village office. Volunteers in Villages include both members and non-members who provide assistance with transportation, light housekeeping, and other tasks that aid members in living at home safely. In addition to that, they also plan social and wellness activities and provide opportunities for members to volunteer in the greater community.
When Is The Village Concept a Good Choice?
Joining a local Village is good for older adults that are active and healthy or those who do not usually need too much help with activities of daily life. It is perfect for older adults who want to live independently but need help with home maintenance or those who do not want to leave their homes and neighborhood. It is also great for those who have shrinking social circles who want to socialize and make new friends or participate in various activities.
When Is The Village Concept Not a Good Choice?
One of the cons of the Village concept is that it can also become more expensive if skilled nursing care is needed. That is why it is only great for older adults who are active and healthy. Therefore, if you or a loved one has reached the point in the aging process where your health is struggling, there might be some difficult choices to make on whether it is more cost-effective to stay in your own home with the aid of friends and family members or move to a retirement village where you or your loved one can get the care they need.
Other people might also want to be more independent and be more in control of their activities and schedules. If this is the case, then you might want to consider other options for you or your loved one.
This senior living option pertains to any housing made exclusively for seniors, mostly including retirement communities, retirement homes, senior housing, and senior apartments. They are like small college campuses where people of similar age live together in a community that gives opportunities for socialization. Generally, it is a more compact housing that is easier to navigate and comes with help when it comes to outdoor maintenance. The cost of independent living depends on the location and services. It can range from $1,500 to $10,000 per month.
When Is Independent Living a Good Choice?
Independent living is a good choice for older adults who are active and are looking for a low-stress, all-inclusive lifestyle. It may not offer medical services, but it gives benefits that lead to retirement with opportunities to enjoy hobbies, try new passions, have a healthy lifestyle, and just be yourself.
Most independent living communities for older adults have a soothing environment as most of them are over the age of 55. This means that there are no late-night parties or cries from children that can be heard in the neighborhood. Most of them also promote physical wellness and peace of mind. The best thing about them is that they give older adults the freedom to pursue their interests and just be themselves.
When Is Independent Living Not a Good Choice?
One of the downsides of independent living for older adults is the lack of onsite medical care. That is why it is only best for older adults who are active and do not need regular medical attention from professionals. The cost of independent living can also be high as it includes an entry fee or buy-in. But it still depends on the location and services that the person needs.
Residential Care Home
Residential care homes are small facilities that offer personalized service to small groups of adults. They are also referred to as adult family homes, personal care homes, or board and care homes. They provide housing, meal services, and assistance with activities of daily living to older adults. These communities can help with everything, from transportation to distribution of the medication to make day-to-day life a bit easier. The cost of residential care homes can be half the cost of nursing homes and, in some places, are more affordable compared to assisted living care.
When Is Residential Care Homes a Good Choice?
Residential care homes are best for those who do not need 24-hour assistance. They can give a certain level of independence while providing assistance with daily activities at the same time. If safety is your main concern for your older adults, then this is one of the best choices, as safety is possibly the most important benefit that you can get from a residential care home. It is best for older adults who can’t look after themselves efficiently as there is always someone present and ready to look after your loved one.
Another concern with vulnerable older adults is whether they are eating well. When they live in a residential care home, they will be served healthy foods regularly to make sure that they receive all the nutrition that they need. And of course, when they are there, you can be confident that they are not going to miss taking their medicines.
When Is Residential Care Homes Not a Good Choice?
Living in a residential care home is not a good choice if the older adult does not want to leave their home due to sentimental values or because they feel like they are losing their independence. There are also times when family members may feel guilty about putting a loved one in a care home. However, you also need to decide well if your loved one really needs to be transferred to a residential care home.
Continuing Care Retirement Community
A Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC is a different type of retirement community. It gives older adults the full spectrum of lifestyle and health care options, from other living options, such as independent living and assisted living, to skilled nursing care, all on one campus. In this option, residents can begin living in the independent living section and move to various parts of the same community as they need or as the levels of care that they require increase. It is one of the best options out there but also the most expensive.
When Is a Continuing Care Retirement Community a Good Choice?
CCRC is a good senior living option for older adults who are looking into living in one location for the rest of their lives and do not want to worry about future care needs. It can also be a great choice for spouses who want to remain close to one another even if one of them needs a higher level of care. The best thing about CCRC is that it is all-inclusive. This means that everything is included, just like staying at a hotel or resort that offers full amenities.
This type of living option also gives residents access to a social network and offers older adults a health care support system, as well. If you are busy with work and do not have the means to care for your older adults, a CCRC might be best for them as it will also offer you peace of mind that they are well-cared for and living an active and healthy life.
When Is a Continuing Care Retirement Community Not a Good Choice?
The only downside of putting a loved one in a CCRC is that they are very expensive. It’s because CCRCs include a high entrance fee along with monthly fees that increase as higher levels of care are required. Therefore, it is not a good choice if you are living on a fixed income as the financial responsibilities can be a restriction. The cost of the entrance fee in a CCRC can range from the low six-figures to upwards of a million dollars. It can be a huge financial investment for the older adult or for his or her family.
Assisted Living Community
An assisted living community is usually made of small apartments in a care community. It offers a wide range of services across various care communities. Usual services included in an assisted living community include 24 hours availability of staff, meals, bathing, dressing, medication management, housekeeping, and transportation. Many facilities also offer a group dining area and common areas for social and recreational activities.
When Is an Assisted Living Community a Good Choice?
This senior living option is good for older adults who can live somewhat independently but need some assistance. There are also some communities that offer higher levels of care. The best thing about it is that these communities can focus on the experiences of each individual, including their unique health needs and personal preferences. They can make older adults feel at home, and they are also hands-on in assisting them with daily activities.
Assisted living communities also offer safety and security for your loved ones. They also have social activities and, most importantly, access to health care facilities. With these, it can also give the older adult’s family peace of mind that they are safe and doing well.
When Is an Assisted Living Community Not a Good Choice?
Like in other options, an assisted living community may not be a good choice if your loved one does not want to leave the house where he or she has lived for years. It is also not best for people who are not comfortable with sharing a room with another person and following a set of rules like not being able to keep pets. In addition to those, the cost may also be another concern for this living option. The price of living in an assisted living community can be high, depending on the type of living space and the needs of the older adult. Some may cost around $3,500 per month or even higher. Therefore, if budget is an issue, you might want to explore other options that do not cost too much.
Nursing Home or Skilled Nursing Facility
A nursing home or a skilled nursing facility includes a licensed physician that supervises each resident’s care. It can also be a nurse or other medical professional that is almost always on the premises. There are also nursing homes that have physical and occupational therapists on staff. Others even have special services for older adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
When Is a Nursing Home or Skilled Nursing Facility a Good Choice?
A nursing home or a skilled nursing facility is a good choice for older adults who have severe or debilitating physical or mental illnesses and are unable to care for themselves. It is for those who need 24-hour supervised care with meals, activities, and health management included. Skilled nursing facilities can also help lower the risk of rehospitalization for older adults, particularly if they have been hospitalized for an illness or injury. It is the perfect choice if you want to ensure that the health of your loved one will be handled well.
When Is a Nursing Home or Skilled Nursing Facility Not a Good Choice?
The major drawback of a nursing home is the cost. It can be incredibly expensive depending on the type of living space and the level of care that your loved one needs. It is also not a good choice for older adults who want to experience independence, as nursing homes might make them feel isolated. You also need to find a trustworthy and reliable nursing home for your older adults as there are common reports of negligence in someplace.
These are the different types of senior living options. Everyone’s retirement situation is different. This means that there is no wrong or right answer when it comes to senior living options. People who are in the early stages of their golden years probably won’t need as much attention or care as some retirees. If that is the case, independent living is a great choice. However, those who wish for extra support might find assisted living more appealing.
The best way to choose the perfect retirement living option is to evaluate the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). These are basic self-care tasks that a person should be able to do without assistance. These may include personal hygiene, bathing, dressing, and eating. If these things can be handled well by an older adult, then they do not need intensive support from an outside source. But those who are beginning to notice that their or their loved ones’ ADLs are getting more challenging, maybe it’s a good time to take into consideration other senior living options. We hope this post helped you learn more about the different types of senior living options.