Making the Best Senior Living Choices
Whether your search for senior housing is prompted by a serious medical condition or the desire for a lifestyle change, finding the right place to live can be challenging and stressful for both you and your family. However, the earlier you assess your current needs and how those needs may evolve over time, the more choices and control you’ll have.
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By learning about the different types of senior housing available, you can make the choice that’s right for you and ensure you enjoy a happy, healthy, and fulfilling home environment as you age.
What is senior housing?
Aging is a time of adaptation and change, and planning your future housing needs is an important part of ensuring that you continue to thrive as you get older. Of course, every older adult is different, so the senior housing choice that’s right for one person may not be suitable for you.
The key to making the best choice is to match your housing with your lifestyle, health, and financial needs. This may mean modifying your own home to make it safer and more comfortable, or it could mean moving to a housing facility with more support and social options available on site.
It could even involve enrolling in a network of like-minded people to share specialized services, or moving to a retirement community, an apartment building where the majority of tenants are over the age of 65, or even a nursing home.
When deciding on the senior housing plan that’s right for you, it’s important to consider not only the needs you have now but also those you may have in the future:
Physical and medical needs. As you age, you may need some help with physical needs, including activities of daily living. This could range from shopping, cleaning, cooking, and looking after pets to intensive help with bathing, moving around, and eating.
You or a loved one may also need increasing help with medical needs. These could arise from a sudden condition, such as a heart attack or stroke, or a more gradual condition that slowly needs more and more care, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Home maintenance. If you’re living alone, your current home may become too difficult or too expensive to maintain. You may have health problems that make it hard to manage tasks such as housework and yard maintenance that you once took for granted.
Social and emotional needs. As you age, your social networks may change. Friends or family may not be as close by, or neighbors may move or pass on. You may no longer be able to continue driving or have access to public transportation in order to meet up with family and friends. Or you simply may want to expose yourself to more social opportunities and avoid becoming isolated and housebound.
Financial needs. Modifying your home and long-term care can both be expensive, so balancing the care you need with where you want to live requires careful evaluation of your budget.
Preparing yourself for change
Whether you’re considering home care services or relocating to a retirement home, planning your future housing needs often runs hand-in-hand with facing up to some loss in your level of independence. Understandably, the prospect of losing independence can be overwhelming for many older adults. It can bring with it feelings of shame, embarrassment, fear, confusion, and anger.
But it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this. Most of us over the age of 65 will require some type of long-term care services. And there’s nothing to be ashamed about in admitting you need more help than you used to.
After all, we’ve all had to rely on others at some point during our adult lives, be it for help at work, home or vehicle repairs, professional or legal services, or simply moral support. For many of us, independence is recognizing when it’s time to ask for help. Read More