As we get older, it’s important to consider our future living arrangements. Senior citizens (those over the age of 64) have many options when it comes to their living arrangements, but the best one depends on what is the safest and most comfortable for each individual senior. Here are four popular living options for senior citizens
#1: Aging in Place
Aging in place is the practice of remaining in one’s own home, both safely and comfortably, throughout later life. Thanks to advances in technology and modern medicine, more and more senior citizens are able to keep their current living arrangement rather than having to move out of their homes. This living arrangement is the best in terms of mental health and overall well-being, but there are several factors to consider before choosing this living arrangement.
The key to successfully aging in place means that the senior is both safe and comfortable. This means that they’re able to continue living in their own home and are also able to take care of themselves to a certain extent. Those with severe limited mobility and those suffering from dementia are not usually able to remain in their own homes alone. In the other hand, those with minor impairments may only need a home health aide during certain times of the day.
Minor impairments or no impairments at all, some homes may need to undergo moderate renovations to ensure the safety of the senior. For example, kitchen countertops may need to be lowered for those who rely on a wheelchair, and thick carpeting will also need to be removed. However, carpet may be harder to clean, so vinyl flooring with a cork backing for shock absorption may be a better choice— especially for the bathroom.
Speaking of the bathroom, standard bathtubs may need to be replaced with walk-in baths or showers, and toilets may need to be raised.
#2: Moving in With Family
If your aging loved one can’t live alone in their own home, then moving them in with you may be the next best option. This is a great option for both you and your loved one because you’ll have more peace of mind and they’ll be closer to family. However, taking on the care of an aging family member can be stressful, so it’s important to make sure this option is best for everyone— including everyone else already living in your home.
Once you’ve decided that this is the best option, you may need to make some changes to your home. These may be the same renovations those aging in place would make, depending on the senior’s needs. It’s also important to make sure that your aging loved one has their own room (preferably on the first floor), and their own bathroom, if possible.
#3: Retirement Communities
Retirement communities differ from assisted living facilities in that the residents have a higher level of independence. These communities are often in the form of apartments, duplexes, or condos to make the residents feel like they’re in a home setting. However, there are skilled nurses and other medical professionals around for those who may need help remembering to take their medication and for those who may need some assistance with certain activities of daily living.
This type of living arrangement is best for seniors who cannot remain safely or comfortably in their own homes, and they also aren’t able to move in with family. However, this is one of the more expensive options, as this type of care can easily cost thousands of dollars a month. There’s also the risk of elder abuse and neglect if the chosen facility doesn’t make patient care a top priority.
#4: Assisted Living Facilities
The fear of elder abuse and neglect are also found in assisted living facilities, such as nursing homes. If you suspect abuse or neglect, you should find a nursing home abuse lawyer in your area. Some of the signs of abuse and neglect include:
- Bed sores
- Broken bones
- Lack of money
- Poor hygiene
- Unexplained bruises and other marks
- Unusual weight loss
- Withdrawal from the community
Of course this doesn’t occur in all nursing homes, but the best nursing homes are extremely expensive— usually more than $4,000 a month. And nursing homes and other facilities that offer round-the-clock care are best for those with severe disabilities and medical needs.
Overall, aging and place has the best impact on a senior’s mental health, especially if they’re able to remain active in the community. Moving in with family is also another favorable option if all family members can coexist peacefully and comfortably. Retirement communities offer a home-like environment, while also providing assistance when necessary. And quality nursing homes provide extensive care for those suffering from forms of dementia and other debilitating illnesses.