Questions about identifying the best living situation are a primary concern when dealing with aging loved ones. When choosing housing for an elderly adult (or when thinking about future options for yourself), there are several options to consider.
Aging in Place
Staying at home may be a good option if:
- You have a close network of nearby family, friends, and neighbors.
- Transportation is easily accessible, including alternate transportation to driving.
- The neighborhood is safe.
- Your home can be modified to reflect your changing needs.
- Home and yard maintenance is not overwhelming.
- Physical and medical needs do not require a high level of care.
- You have a gregarious personality and are willing and able to reach out for social support.
- You fall within the geographical confines of an integrated community, such as a "village" or NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community).
Living with Family
Caring for an elderly adult in your home can be very rewarding; however, it can also create many challenges. Families considering this option should have an open discussion about their expectations for the situation, including specifics such as finances, privacy, and routines.
Independent Living/Senior Housing
Independent living may include subsidized apartments, nonsubsidized apartments, and congregate housing. The goal of senior housing is to provide a place for older adults (usually 62 or older) to live in an accessible and safe environment to promote independence. There are typically no supportive services in senior housing.
Assisted living options may include board and care homes or assisted living facilities. Assisted living options provide assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing, eating, toileting, medication reminders, transportation assistance, and in-home support.
Long-term care is the highest level of care outside of a hospital and is commonly referred to as "nursing home care." Long-term care facilities provide assistance similar to assisted living facilities, however, the focus may be more on the person's physical health needs.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)
CCRCs provide a continuum of care including independent housing, residential services, and nursing care. Residents may move between the different care options on the campus as their housing needs change over time. There is an entry fee and ongoing monthly fee associated with this type of care.