A Guide to Senior Living
There are a number of ways in which senior people choose to live, and it is important to be aware of these to be in a position to help and advise older members of your family and to plan your own future. This guide sets out the options for senior living and provides some ideas.
Having an Old Age Plan is Important
Based on the fact that we will all be aging and that many more older people will live longer than ever before it is ever more important to have a clear plan for your own older years. In order to do this, you need a clear understanding of what the options are. The plan must also not simply be about retirement finances, but a holistic plan as to where to live, the type of community required, and whether you will need medical care.
Would you rather be living a life of leisure or having to work in your later days? Americans are having to work for longer and past retirement age in order to supplement their retirement savings. Americans aged over 75 in the workforce rose from 5.9% to 6.6% between 2014 and 2018. This could be because Americans are living healthier for longer and are able to support the workforce as productive senior adults. However, it is also likely the result of not enough older adults having sufficient retirement savings to allow them to retire at 65 or younger.
What are the Senior Living Options Available?
- Independent living in communities, where you can live in a home, within a community of elderly people, in a managed environment. The house can be bought outright or rented. The main aim is to maintain independence, keep dignity and self-determination and yet have professional care available and be with other older people. It is fun, safe, and above all, what you would be used to. Depending on the managed facility, there are also activities on offer and possible planned outings. This is an option that works for those who are still in good health or where there is the right medical and government support.
The main issue here is that there must be an option available to you to move within the facility to an option with more professional care or assistance. This is to deal with the fact that health may deteriorate and change may be required. You wouldn’t want to start the entire housing process again.
- Assisted living, whereby you live in a community with other older adults and have assistance on site. For medication and health reasons, a growing number of older people choose this as their preferred solution; they are not bothering anyone, are independent, and if suffering from a chronic illness, will have professional care on hand 24/7.
This is the fastest-growing type of senior living solution in the US, and with help from various programs such as the Older Americans Act (OAA), this kind of living is strongly supported. For example, there are nutrition packs provided to those in assisted living, as well as mobility assistance for those with chronic functional disabilities.
Again, depending on the facility, there may be additional services offered under this type of living, such as memory care or specific targeted care for non-chronic illnesses such as age-related dementia. Frontier Management is a senior living management company across America offering this option and is worth contacting to get further information, should this be something you or your loved one needs.
- Care Home living, where there is a medical or health condition that requires ongoing care and monitoring. It is the most traditional type of senior living, but one that is currently declining as seniors look for more options. There can be several types of care home or nursing homes, and these are supported and funded by the Federal and State Government. They are highly regulated, with visits and outings monitored and time-restricted in some cases. Yet there is constant care, and other people in similar medical need to befriend.
- Living at home to stay in your home, and if it’s on the ground floor with no steps and you are healthy enough, then this is many people’s idea of the ideal situation. It is noted by a range of research out there that most elderly Americans would like to live out their elderly days at home. While this may be the ideal situation and probably most older adults’ preferred situation, it may not be realistic. Half of people aged 65 and older will need long-term care at some point, and living at home may not be possible in these instances.
The main downside to homecare is the cost associated with ongoing care for chronic illness. This is something to be calculated, as you don’t want a situation where the elderly are then moved from pillar to post because they have waited too long to find professional care.
- Living with family, there is always the possibility and option to remain with your family during older age. This entails having a strong relationship with your daughter or son and any possible grandchildren, but this option does yield a great deal of joy for as long as your health holds up. There will then likely be an additional move to plan once the family is unable to deal with any medical concerns or issues.
How to Narrow Down the Options
The first thing is to have a preference, go through the list, and decide what would be your ideal solution for your elderly care or the elderly care of a loved one. Then, like with everything else, you may need to exhibit some flexibility based on your finances or start saving and preparing for the elderly care that you choose and that you deserve. Cost will be a major factor in your decision-making process for senior living options, but the more options you look at, the more cost choices and possibilities will arise.
It is also worth keeping in mind that in several states, the government is moving its funding and support to community-based senior living options away from the stereotypical nursing home or care home. This is the trend and, as such, must be fully investigated to establish affordability with this new state support.
Do not wait too late because the longer you wait to make these decisions, the more likely there would have been a reduction in the choices available to you, or your health may deteriorate, again affecting the choices that you can make. Either way, you need to be informed, so ensure that you get as much information as possible. This guide is a good start in the process.
Whatever you decide, it is important to communicate your decision with family, a financial advisor, and friends. Ensuring your family are on the same page and know your wishes will make the transition smooth and stress-free. This will allow you to enjoy your golden years without having to make rash decisions or trying to please those around you without considering your own needs first.
Start looking, start saving, start planning.