Housing Options

Current research indicates that an overwhelming majority of older Americans want to remain in their homes for as long as possible.  About 90 percent of the 41.5 million Americans over age 60 hope to grow old at home or in their communities according to AARP.

As the population ages, the problem of how best to care for elders becomes imminent.  Allowing seniors to stay in their homes as opposed to residing in expensive nursing homes provides a family-centered multi-generational solution.  However, for adults who are administering the care – increasingly those of the baby boomer generation – adding the role of caregiver to an already full schedule can be a challenge.  In addition, the challenge can arise when the aging parent and child or other loved one live in different areas and even different states.  Ultimately it has got to be the aging parent’s decision.  What you can do is help them review their options to make informed decisions.

Independent Living
This housing option allows the aging individual to remain in their own home.  This option often allows the elderly more of their independence and a higher quality and happier living.

Move In With Adult Children or Friend
Parents may move into the adult child’s home or live in an accessory apartment attached to it.

Home Sharing
In this option, two or more unrelated elderly people share a house or apartment.   Each usually has his or her own bedroom, but they share the kitchen, other living space, and sometimes the bathroom.  They share household chores too.

Foster Care
Some families will take in an elderly person who needs help with daily living.  The foster family cooks meals and handles laundry.

Board and Care Homes
In these homes, the residence provides room, meals, and help with daily activities.  It’s an attractive option for folks who need some assistance.  In general, board and care homes are smaller in scale than assisted living residences.  But they’re not always licensed, and aren’t always monitored by local authorities.

Congregate Housing/Senior Retirement Communities
Call these senior retirement apartments. Residents who are mobile and can take care of themselves live in their own units in buildings but share some meals in a central dining room and take advantage of housekeeping services. The residence often provides a variety of social and recreational activities.  These places often have long waiting lists and stringent income requirements.

Assisted Living
As people get older and less able to live on their own, other living arrangements must be considered.  Assisted living is one choice.  Assisted living facilities offer a housing alternative for older adults who may need help with dressing, bathing, eating, and toileting, but do not require the intensive medical and nursing care provided in nursing homes.  Residents of assisted living facilities usually have their own units or apartment.  In addition to having a support staff and providing meals, most assisted living facilities also offer at least some of the following services:

  • Health care management and monitoring
  • Help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Medication reminders and/or help with medications
  • Recreational activities
  • Security
  • Transportation

If an assisted living facility sounds like the right choice, a personal visit is important before you make a final decision.  A good match between a facility and a resident’s needs depends as much on the philosophy and services of the assisted living facility as it does on the quality of care.

Nursing Home

The most widely recognized option, these residences offer skilled nursing care and substantial long-term assistance.  These homes provide medical and personal care and meals.  Bedrooms and baths may be private.  Medicare may provide brief, short-term coverage following a hospitalization.  Medicaid may offer coverage to residents who meet medical and financial eligibility requirements.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities
These facilities provide a variety of housing options and services located on the same campus.  These communities are designed to meet the changing needs of older people.

Source:  AARP

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