As seniors age, they may reach a point where it’s no longer practical or perhaps no longer safe to live at home. For example, stairs may become hard to navigate, a tub and shower may become difficult to use, and the daily chores of keeping up home may simply become too much. Fortunately, there are multiple housing options for seniors.
A Retirement Community
A retirement community, or independent living housing, is ideal for seniors who are still reasonably active and enjoy socializing. Seniors who move into a retirement community can socialize with other people their own age, and they can spend time doing things they enjoy without having to worry about the work of keeping a house. Independent living communities typically provide a range of amenities including meals, social activities, transportation, and housekeeping.
A Personal Care Home
A personal care home is a small group home, and residents receive assistance with personal care and activities of daily living. In a personal care home, staff are available 24/7, meals are provided, and residents have the opportunity to socialize in common areas. While this type of housing is for adults who need a higher level of care or supervision, personal care homes do not typically offer nursing or medical care.
An Assisted Living Facility
Another type of senior housing has assisted the living. An assisted living facility provides both independent living and additional care as needed. For example, there are caregivers on site 24/7 to provide assistance with medication, meals, and personal care. Assisted living facilities typically have a full-time nurse on staff and medical technicians who are qualified to administer medication, check insulin, and provide other types of health care.
A Skilled Nursing Facility
While the types of housing discussed so far require patients to pay out of pocket or through long-term care insurance, a stay in a skilled nursing facility can be covered by Medicare (temporarily) or by Medicaid, if the patient qualifies. A skilled nursing facility provides the highest level of nursing and rehabilitative care and typically has both a full-time nurse and a doctor on staff.
A continuing care home offers different levels of care, from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing care. Residents usually move into an independent living apartment, but as their needs increase, they can transition to a higher level of care without having to move to a new facility. Many residents and family members find the idea of aging in one place to be comforting. Many continuing care facilities offer a wide range of amenities, activities, and healthcare services.
Another housing option for aging adults is to stay in their own home. Moving to a new home is stressful at any age, but especially in later life. By hiring in-home care, many people are able to stay home long after they can no longer live independently. Caregivers can cook meals, do housekeeping, assist with activities of daily living, and provide transportation to activities or to an adult day health centre.
It is important to think about housing options for elder loved ones long before a change is required. Knowing the options and making decisions in advance can help to ease the stress of a health change later on.