According to the executive director of my Moms community, 70% of us will need some sort of living assistance at some point in our life. What should you consider when choosing to age-in-place versus an assisted living community? This conversation should help answer many of the questions you face when deciding where to spend the rest of your senior years.
One of the best things about an assisted living community is the diverse population in terms of life experiences. You can find yourself living among people who have backgrounds varied from your own. Some residents may have lived through World War II or other major milestones in history. Another plus is the peace of mind. Described as “hitting the reset button” there are a lot of benefits associated with an assisted living community.
Social Things to Consider for Aging In Place:
- Would you rather be alone frequently, or do you want easily available access to companions and social activities? While aging in place can be a solitary experience, a retirement community minimizes solitude. Choose which you’ll be most comfortable with over the long term.
- If you decide to age in place, will you have access to senior organizations, volunteerism or other activities outside your home? Isolation is a serious health risk for seniors.
- When you’re no longer comfortable or confident behind the wheel, what will you do about transportation? Lack of easy access to transportation can result in escalating problems, including isolation, missed medical appointments and lagging nutrition. How will you get around after you hang up the keys?
Safety Things To Consider For Aging In Place:
- Do you have family and friends who can reach your home quickly, any time of day or night, if you have an urgent need that occurs between caregiver visits? Having a ready back–up plan is a necessity, because you never know when you’ll need to fill gaps between caregiver visits.
- Is your home aging-friendly? If not, can you afford to make aging-friendly modifications? Think about bathroom renovations, zero-step entries, improved lighting and widened doorways. Needed modifications like these can be costly.
- Will your budget support around-the-clock home care if it becomes necessary? Most older adults believe they’ll never need long-term care, research proves about 70% will need care at some point in their lives. Wwith the average hourly cost for caregivers at about $19 to $20 per hour, serious consideration of the prospect now is sensible.
- Are your adult children and other loved ones living nearby where they can help with hiring, screening and scheduling caregivers for you in your home?
- Are you concerned about managing your medications? Professional medication management is commonly offered to residents of assisted living and memory care communities.
Questions to Consider About a Retirement Community:
- Do you prefer to know help is nearby if you need it? Senior living communities combine independence with security.
- Would you rather not worry about home maintenance and repairs?
- Are you still growing? A senior living community will make it easy to stretch body and mind daily, with convenient access to a host of activities.
- Could you see yourself leaving at least some of the cooking and cleanup to someone else? Well-balanced meals served restaurant-style in the dining room are a perk most communities offer.
- Will you need transportation for errands or appointments? Most senior living communities offer transportation services.
- Do you feel safe in your neighborhood? Do family and friends worry about your safety? Senior living communities offer round-the-clock security staffed by people who’ll know you by name and watch out for you.
- Do you ever worry about becoming a burden to your family?
The move to a senior living community takes care of that. Residents often say their move is a gift to their adult children, who can thereafter be confident that Mom and Dad are safe and happy, with a plan for the what-ifs.
Take your time. Think through the questions. Where you live matters. When it’s time to talk things over with your family, you’ll be ready to make a thoughtful decision – and the right choice for you.
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