April 12, 2010
Over the past 10-15 years the number of housing and care options for seniors has grown as the baby boomer population has aged. Each option comes with its benefits, but not all options are best suited for every person.
Below are some housing options, ranging from independent care to long-term facilities:
Living at Home with Help:
By far, this is the favorite option for many families and seniors. In fact, close to nine out of ten seniors (89%), according to Home Instead Senior Care's national survey, say that they are very or somewhat likely to remain in their homes rather than move to a care facility. Thus, it's important to make home improvements that adapt to your loved one's limitations. Whether it's your own home or your aging loved one's home, it is recommended to have an environmental safety assessment conducted.In a recent caregiver survey conducted by Home Instead Senior Care, of over 5,000 professional caregivers, 57% identified loose area rugs/tripping hazards as the top safety issue followed by "no life alert" or other emergency alert system (46%) when they began working for their client. By spotting these types of hazards and taking simple steps to correct them, unnecessary injuries can be avoided. A professional environmental safety assessment will help determine what, if any, alterations need to be made to the house. The goal is to make the senior's living space safe and functional.
Assistance with daily living tasks can be helpful too, not only for the senior but also for family caregivers and spousal caregivers. Home Instead Senior Care offers a wide range of non-medical services to help seniors remain in their own homes, including grocery shopping, transportation, meal preparation, daily medication reminders and light housekeeping. However, one of the greatest benefits of having a professional caregiver is the ongoing companionship they provide that many seniors need to help them stay physically and mentally active.
Besides keeping older family members more independent in their own homes, non-medical senior care gives peace of mind to family members and helps them juggle the demands of their work and family lives. Home Instead Senior Care is a national eldercare service. Many offices provide advanced training in Alzheimer's care to their professional caregivers.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities:
These 'communities' offer a single campus that includes independent living apartments and homes, assisted living apartments, home health care and skilled nursing care. As the senior's needs increase, they can move to living arrangements that accommodate those needs. While the costs vary widely depending on what part of the country you live, this is typically an option viable for people who have extensive savings placed aside for their retirement.
Shared housing for seniors comes in multiple forms: senior apartments often run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, offer apartments for seniors of modest income. You enjoy having private space among colleagues without the hassle of maintaining a home. You'll need to call your local housing authority to find out the income limits as they vary from state to state. If your income is higher, there are places that cater to an older clientele usually offering amenities like transportation, shopping services, maintenance and a friendly doorman. Many faith-based organizations will help find a roommate for seniors with extra space in their home who also want the company.
Most people who live in assisted living facilities have health- or age-related conditions that make living alone tough and, in some instances, unsafe. A professionally-trained staff assists individuals with their tasks of daily living. Specialized care for residents suffering from dementia is offered by some facilities. These facilities vary widely in their services and can be very expensive. Take great care to ask a lot of questions and get lists of what is and isn't included. It's also important to note that the next step from assisted living is into nursing care, so be sure to consider that when looking at long-term plans.
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