Here Are 5 Senior Housing Options That Come With Assistance to No Assistance Required
Searching for alternative senior housing options outside of a privately owned residence can be an overwhelming endeavor for an aging adult.
The reasons that seniors and their loves ones may seek out housing options vary, but in general include the following: unexpected or expected changes in health or wellbeing.
Due to age, injury, or illness, seniors can experience a drastic change in their living situation just because they can no longer safely and independently live on their own.
Furthermore, seniors may get to the point where loving family members can no longer care for them at home.
Senior housing options start from no assistance to most assistance required. Contrary to existing beliefs about senior housing, it’s not an all or none situation.
Seniors who move out of their private homes do not necessarily go straight to the nursing home for 24/7 care. Seniors have multiple housing options that offer varying levels of professional and medical assistance if needed.
What Are The Senior Housing Options Available To Seniors With Assistance To No Assistance Required?
Over +55 Housing or Retirement Communities:
(Condos, Single Family Home Communities)
55+ housing or Retirement Communities are designated for seniors (even couples) who are aging but not necessarily battling any medical conditions.
Seniors who qualify for this type of senior housing option must be relatively independent.
The housing association in these communities usually offer social opportunities with other residents who are of a similar age including outdoor activities, participation in exercise groups, movie nights and other events.
Some housing contracts, especially in community housing, can have nursing care tagged on if medical problems arise.
However, nursing care in over 55+ retirement housing is not equivalent to or constant like a nursing care facility.
Independent Living Facilities:
Seniors who are still very independent but require minor assistance may qualify for what is called an independent living facility. This senior housing option is not considered a medical or nursing facility.
Seniors are housed in apartment-style housing, oftentimes subsidized, and are assigned a case worker who can assist them with living needs and with accessing community resources for employment, social participation, or financial support.
Assisted Living Facilities:
Assisted living offers services to seniors who are medically stable, but are unable to function independently and safely in their private residence.
This senior housing option is best when seniors can no longer live on their own but do not fully demand around the clock care from a nurse or home health aides.
It’s common for elderly seniors with comprised health to experience certain medical episodes like a fall and fracture, stroke or heart attack. Then get admitted to a hospital, participate in rehabilitation, and then transfer to assisted living after settling their financial affairs and assets.
Assisted living facilities offer apartment-style living quarters with 24/7 nursing care and intermittent rehabilitative therapy if medically needed.
Senior residents are allowed to come and go as they please, and prepare their own meals or eat in the cafeteria.
Memory Care Facilities:
Memory care facilities are lockdown facilities for seniors with severe cognitive decline such as Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.
Unlike 55+ communities, assistive living, and independent living. This senior housing option does not allow patients to freely come and go due to profound safety concerns.
Memory care clinics provide 24/7 medical staff who are specifically trained in addressing cognitive diseases or disorders.
These facilities are also equipped to keep these kind of seniors safe and prevent safety issues like falls from potentially happening.
Nursing Home Facilities:
There are two variations to this type of senior housing option: skilled nursing care and long-term nursing home.
Skilled nursing facilities are transitional units that aim to rehabilitate patients in order for them to be discharged home or to a stable living environment.
Nursing homes are long-term living facilities that provide 24/7 care. Patients are not functioning independently and safely enough to qualify for assistive living, and patients don’t necessarily have the cognitive deficits to qualify for memory care.
Leaving the facility is very restricted, and some nursing home settings contract with therapy companies to provide rehabilitation services if medically needed.
What is The Best Way to Plan, Prepare and Transition into Any of These Senior Housing Options for Your Parent?
If you have a parent who is over the age of 55, no matter their health status, it may be time for the family to have a frank discussion about the future.
Many seniors live out their days at home without venturing into alternative senior housing options.
However, many seniors experience unexpected medical episodes or overall health decline which makes living at home impractical and dangerous.
There are also some seniors who have progressive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and multiple sclerosis to name a few.
In these cases, there is already a relatively predictable path that seniors’ overall function will take. If adult children and spouses of these seniors have not started discussing long-term planning for housing, then they really should start right away.
What Are The Steps You Should Take Before Looking into Senior Housing Options?
You want to first consult with the doctor (or a medical specialist for specific disorders) about your family members overall health and gain some advice and perspective about how they are functioning at home.
Thoroughly research each type of alternative senior housing option together.
This includes analyzing the environment, the services available, and the application and financial preparation it will take to attain those senior housing options.
As a family, talk about what you all can realistically handle in order to help your aging parent remain at home in the safest manner possible.
Discuss what the early red flags may look like that signal the need for change (i.e. increased falls at home, injury incidences, medical episodes, hospital readmissions, etc.).
Summary on Senior Housing Options from No Assistance to Assistance Required
Seeking out alternative senior housing options is not an easy task. Like any adult, seniors who live on their own have to go through a deep emotional process before making the transition.
Many seniors will be fine at home for the rest of their lives. For others, especially who have deteriorating health conditions already, need to proactively plan for the future.
With the help of family and the use of open and honest discussions, seniors can be well-prepared to make a change when these unexpected events arise.
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