Important Options to Consider When Choosing a Senior Living Community

May 7th 2016

As you consider the appropriate senior housing option, think about the level of care needed at the present time and what you might require in the future. Consider also the costs involved with each choice. Families may want to weigh in on these decisions, considering what each family member can contribute in terms of personal, caregiving and financial support.

Retirement Communities

Most retirement communities set a minimum age for their residents. Often, these communities provide many activities for the residents, such as sports, book clubs, social outings and field trips. These communities are typically designed for active adults who have few physical limitations; the communities often include tennis courts and golf courses.

While some retirement communities in larger cities cluster within dedicated apartment buildings, they're more often spread out across a broad campus, sometimes with a variety of housing options for residents who would prefer to rent or own their homes. These communities are ideal if you want to make connections with others your own age, don't need much or any caregiving help, and are financially solvent and secure.

Your Own Home

Many seniors would like to remain in their own homes because of the familiarity and memories involved with the home itself and because they have friends and family nearby. When it becomes too difficult to continue with the chores of independent living, there are some options that can allow you to stay in your own home.

If you find yourself using only a few rooms of your largely empty family home, consider co-housing with other seniors or with a caregiver who can help with errands, meals, yard maintenance and housework. Research what options are available in your neighborhood to provide you with transportation, senior-oriented social activities, household chores and other personal services.

Staying in the family home is an ideal option if you are active, willing to reach out for assistance, your mobility isn't limited and you have a pre-existing community to provide social connection.

Assisted Living

Once it's no longer safe for a senior to live alone, it may be time to consider assisted living. In an assisted living situation, you may live in your own apartment, or you may share an apartment or a room; usually this choice depends on the funds available. Typically all or most meals are provided in a common dining area, though you may have a kitchenette in your own living quarters. In these communities, you can typically get help with household chores, medication and other daily living needs, and nursing care is also often available.

An assisted living situation is ideal if you don't require enough medical assistance to need full-time or nursing home care, but you are no longer able to handle independent living. If you need personal care assistance on a daily basis, consider assisted living.

Conclusion

As you move into your retirement years, the choice of where to live has a huge impact on your quality of life and overall happiness. While you might prefer to stay in your own home, sometimes choosing a retirement community can open doors to a more active and connected lifestyle. Assisted living may be a more viable option if you have physical or medical needs that require constant attention. Understanding what types of resources and housing options are available is the first step to making a wise choice that can lead to years of comfort and contentment.

Sources

AARP.org "Which type of housing is correct for you?" http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/housing/info-08-2009/ginzler_housing_choices.html
APlaceForMom.com "Guide to senior housing options" http://www.aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/senior-housing-options
HelpGuide.org "Senior housing options: Making the best senior living choices" http://www.helpguide.org/articles/senior-housing/senior-housing-options.htm

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