When I was a kid, when seniors could no longer live by themselves, they had basically two options. They either would move in with family, or they went to an “old-folks home.” The “old-folks homes” were always on the edge of town and were generally warehouses for people. Unfortunately, the great majority of these places were somewhat depressing and the quality of life was poor at best. Fast forward to today, and the environment is totally different. Today, we have a wealth of different, very good options that can provide a quality life from independent living to nursing homes. In fact, some would say we have too many options. However, like everything else in our society, because we have so many options for just about everything, it is important when it comes to senior housing to take your time and do your research to select the option that best fits your situation.
One of the mistakes people make is making decisions when they are forced to. In other words, people wait too long to make a decision, and then when they are forced to, they don’t have the time to make an informed decision. Therefore, my recommendation is that when you are healthy and have time on your side, that is the time when you should start doing your homework and look at the various housing options. That doesn’t mean you have to decide to move into a senior housing solution now but rather, you can begin the process to narrow your search so that it will be so much easier to make a decision when necessary. Whether it’s visiting some senior housing or going to some seminars, or doing research on the internet, the more you learn today will only help you make an informed decision in the future.
In analyzing different senior housing, it is important to consider your finances. Unfortunately, senior housing can get expensive. Therefore, you have to be realistic about what you can afford. Being realistic about your finances will help you narrow your search. Of course, in looking at your finances, it is important to take into consideration that more likely than not you will sell your current home and free up those assets to assist you. In addition, let’s never forget that even if your house is free and clear, there’s still a cost to maintain the house such as property taxes, homeowners insurance, repairs and maintenance and utilities.
In addition to finances, it’s also important to consider your physical, medical and emotional needs. Not all types of senior housing offer the same services. For example, in an independent living facility, typically, some of the services offered are housekeeping, recreational activities and meals; but, they generally have very little with regard to healthcare and assistance in daily living such as dressing and personal care. On the other hand, an assisted living facility typically would provide more support in the healthcare area, such as assistance in taking medication, nursing, and assistance with various activities of daily life.
The bottom line in selecting senior housing, you have lots of options, more than you’ve ever had in the past, and although that is beneficial, it does mean you have more of a responsibility to yourself. You need to start your search early so you can obtain all the necessary information and make the right decision for you. As I said before, the worst time to make the decision is when you are forced to. Therefore, my advice is that whether you are a senior yourself or you are assisting a loved one, you start the process sooner rather than later to educate yourself so that when the time comes when you have to make a decision, you’ll be ahead of the game, thus allowing you to select the right place for you or your loved one.
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