Choosing a Senior Home

Besides moving in with family, choices include retirement communities, assisted living and nursing homes.

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Father Time is inevitable. He comes for our youth and replaces it daily with gray hairs and a wrinkle or two. As these golden years creep up, they bring a host of new challenges and decisions.

Sure, the days of school functions and family vacations, the daily grind of work and the rhetoric of chaotic days may be behind those entering their golden years, but life continues. One of the biggest questions, then, is where to live if moving away from the family house is desired or necessary. Following are some options.

RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES

These are for healthy seniors who remain self-sufficient and are not in need of care from others. Seniors in retirement communities are able to come and go as they please and choose the services they would like. They want to maintain independent residences and lifestyles but use the many amenities and activities that such a community provides, according to seniorhomes.com.

Most of these are in the warmer climates and provide access to activities of nterest, such as golf, swimming, aerobics and walking trails. In addition, they offer group activities, such as bingo, cards and crafts. The central theme of these communities is to promote unity among like-minded individuals and the importance of staying active.

The cost for senior community living in Oklahoma averages $1,865 per month but can go as high as $2,580, according to seniorhomes.com.

ASSISTED-LIVING FACILITIES

These facilities have some nursing care and help for seniors with some difficulties getting around. There are several reasons and scenarios that could lead to this option. If a senior has intact mental faculties but suffers from physical ailments that make mobility somewhat difficult but not impossible, then assisted living might be a good choice.

These facilities are for seniors who can function independently but may require daily help with dressing, eating, mobility, hygiene, bathing, toileting, using the telephone and shopping.

This is also a good option for those affected by the normal deficiencies that accompany age, such as difficulty remembering, seeing and hearing, but not suffering from dementia. These facilities provide 24-hour supervision and security, daily meals, basic housekeeping, laundry, health and exercise programs, social programs, transportation and access to medical services while allowing seniors the freedom to lead relatively normal lives with the reassurance that help is never far away.

According to seniorhomes.com, the average cost of assisted living in Oklahoma is $3,345 per month.

NURSING HOMES

This option provides around-the-clock nursing care. While some may not like this choice, it may be the only one available when a senior is incapable of self-care and it is impossible for someone else to take on the responsibility of 24-hour attention in a family home.

These facilities provide constant care for seniors physically and/or mentally unable to function independently. This is often a challenging decision for family members to make as it takes away the senior’s freedom. It is recommended to do one’s homework on each facility and find out if the home has had complaints filed against it with the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Email the agency at ltccomplaints@health.ok.gov.

In addition to what is routinely offered at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes, according to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, should provide complete, nutritional meals that match individual dietary requirements for each resident.

Nursing supervision should be 24 hours with an on-site staff of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses and nurses’ aides. Regular medical evaluation should be carried out by a physician who will consult with the on-site staff about each resident.

Social activities may take many forms, but they should be sufficient to stimulate the resident intellectually and emotionally.

According to seniorhomes.com, the average rate of a nursing home in Oklahoma is $4,441 per month.

Choosing a senior living facility is an important decision. Here are some key questions to ask as you look at your options:

  • How many living units are in the residence?
  • Are different sizes and types of units available?
  • Do any units have kitchens or kitchenettes?
  • Are all the rooms private?
  • Are bathrooms private?
  • Does the residence offer special care units such as those serving people with Alzheimer’s disease?
  • Is there a written care plan for each resident?
  • What role does the resident have in developing the care plan?
  • Are additional services available on the same campus if a resident’s needs change?
  • Is the facility Medicaid certified?
  • Has the facility’s license ever been revoked?
  • Does the facility conduct background checks on all of the staff?
  • How many licensed nurses are on duty at each shift?
  • What is the patient to staff ratio? Nurse to patient? Aide to patient?
  • Does the nursing home have an active family council?

Source: AARP

Click here to download the AARP Nursing Home Checklist

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