We all age, it is an unavoidable fact of life. As our parents age, we are often faced with difficult decisions in regards to their housing, health and finances. You’ve probably heard terms like: Nursing Homes, 55+ Communities, Senior Housing, Assisted Living, Independent Living for seniors, and many others. But what do they mean?
While some families are able to move their aging parents into their home, that isn’t an option for everyone. We all want our aging loved ones to be taken care of and looked after. When you can’t be there with them, there are a lot of things to worry about:
- Is this a safe neighborhood?
- Do they have the help they need?
- Is there reliable medical care?
Finding the right community for Mom and Dad depends on finances, health and many other factors. This is a beginners guide to senior housing, After55 communities, assisted living and more. These tips will help you decide if independent living for seniors is right for your family.
Factors for Choosing a Community:
When deciding on a senior community, focus on your loved ones’ personal needs. Before looking at communities, evaluate the following:
- Physical and Medical Needs – Depending on health and medical needs, your parents may need a community that offers managed care services. Will your loved ones need on-site nurses because of chronic medical problems? Think about physical needs and limitations. How well do your loved ones get around? Do they need assistance with cleaning, cooking, shopping, bathing or looking after pets? The level of care they need for daily living will play a large role in the community you choose.
- Social and Emotional Needs – Interacting with others is important for all ages. When selecting a new community, be mindful of the location and the levels of interaction that come with it. Ask: Are you close to friends and family? Is the surrounding neighborhood safe? Is there shopping, dining and entertainment nearby? Are there resident events?
- Financial Needs – Many seniors are on a fixed income so staying within a budget is important. Before looking at any properties, set a budget. Sticking to a realistic budget is the best way to secure the lifestyle you want.
Let’s take a look at the most common senior communities:
- Nursing Homes: Nursing Homes provide the highest level of care outside of hospital care. These facilities have physicians, nurses and other medical professionals on site to help assist with daily living. If your loved one has chronic illnesses, or needs a higher level of personal care that cannot be handled at home, a nursing home is a good choice.
- Continued Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs): These are all encompassing communities with facilities that include assisted living, independent living and nursing home services. However, CCRCs can be expensive as you usually have to buy a unit in the community, along with incurring monthly fees if you require higher levels of care.
- Assisted Living: Assisted living is a step down from a nursing home. They are for adults who cannot live on their own but do not need high level care. These communities offer meal services, housekeeping, assistance with medications and daily activities. Residents have their privacy in their own units, but staff is available 24 hours each day for safety. These communities often offer social activities and scheduled transportation for residents.
- Independent living: Independent Living is a loose term that generally covers any housing arrangement specifically designed for the senior demographic. This can cover apartments, condos, or homes. The terms “retirement communities,” “senior housing,” and “55+ communities” are often used interchangeably with “independent living”. Generally speaking, these communities cater to very independent seniors who do not need assistance or medical care. Some independent living communities offer social outings and events for residents.
This has been our guide to independent living for seniors. Now that you have the basics of senior housing, after55 communities, and assisted living, you can make the best decision with your family members. Whether you need assisted living, a nursing home, or independent living, there are communities out there that can match your needs.
MCLife is an operator of 35 multi-housing communities across 7 Regions, which includes 3 After55 communities in Arizona. Learn More at http://mclife.com/after-55/
This is some really amazing information about senior independent living. I like that you pointed out that this type of area is good for active seniors. My grandmother is pretty active, and she would love to find more people her age that would want to play tennis with her.
Thanks for your comments, Emily! Please stay connected with us on our After55 web page – http://www.mclife.com/after-55
Thanks for the great tips. I like how you suggest that we need to pay attention to physical and medical needs. I will keep that in mind when I help my parents find the right place.
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