Care: Senior Housing Options
As North America's largest demographic nears
retirement, it may be time to think about the
best care options for your parents, or even
yourself. This can be a difficult topic to contemplate,
as it forces us to confront our feelings about
our own mortality, or that of our parents. However,
leaving these decisions to the last moment can
cause significant stress and anxiety. Even though
these choices can be as difficult as any end-of-life
issue, the fact is that along with age comes
a full complement of age-related complications.
We often hear about obesity, high blood pressure
and heart disease, but there are also the stealthier
issues, such as Alzheimer's disease, rheumatoid
arthritis, or macular degeneration. Each can
cause its own kind of disability, and may affect
your decision making for care options. Following
are a few definitions that will help you decide
the best place for yourself or your loved ones:
Senior independent Living: A community
of seniors living in an apartment complex or
retirement community with no custodial or medical
care. Grounds keeping and some utility services
may be included, however.
Congregate Housing: Independent living
in a senior apartment, with the added services
of custodial and medical care.
Assisted Living Facility: A group home
consisting of private rooms or apartments with
assistance in activities of daily living, but
little or no medical care.
Board-and-Care Home: A small Assisted
Nursing Home (Skilled Nursing Facility):
A facility with 24-hour medical care available,
in addition to custodial care.
Continuing-Care Retirement Community: A
residential community for the remainder of one's
life, with a choice of services and living situations
based on changing needs over time.
Adult Family Homes: A newer option that
allows for assisted living in a single family
home. This is a more appealing option for many,
as it provides for greater privacy as well as
a feeling of family life. Many adult family
homes are staffed with certified professionals
who also reside in the home.
In-Home Care: Usually the preferred
option for most seniors. Statistically, older
people live longer and healthier, and enjoy
a better overall quality of life when they are
able to remain in their own home. This option
usually requires that one or more full-time
in-home health care providers come to the home
daily, providing shopping, bathing, dressing
and cooking services. These client-directed
services do not include medical care, as most
in-home care attendants are not medical professionals;
however, all in-home health care workers are
required to maintain their certification through
continuing education each year.
How will you know when it's time to examine
your senior housing options? Keep an eye out
for tell-tale signs of day-to-day difficulties.
For example, if household chores are ignored
or left incomplete, if bathing or dressing becomes
too difficult or dangerous, or if a senior is
becoming isolated, this may narrow your choices.
Additionally, if your parent has an ongoing
medical condition that is becoming difficult
to manage, this can be a determining factor.
The proliferation of senior care options is
in direct response to the needs of our society.
Before you find yourself on a waiting list,
or unable to find reliable in-home assistance
due to the demands of an aging population, plan
now for your short- and long-term care.
There seems to be no end to the acronyms and
abbreviations associated with this information,
so by allowing yourself the time to get educated,
you will greatly alleviate your confusion. This
can become most urgent when an aging parent
passes away unexpectedly, leaving behind a spouse
now living alone. You want to be able to plan
for current and evolving needs, so give yourself
the luxury of that time.
Laura Gillson is a speaker,
author and educator specializing in disability
awareness, advocacy, accessibility and assistive
technology. For corporate, community or caregiver
training, visit Eloquent Insights at http://www.eloquentinsights.com
If you need help with in-home care, you'll find
it at In-Home Insights at http://www.inhomeinsights.com.
Finally, you'll discover a site for sore eyes
at Accessible Insights at http://www.accessibleinsights.com.
The author's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org