It’s no surprise that most seniors want to age in place, according to the AARP. However, mental, physical and social changes can cause individuals or family members to seek alternate housing. Before making a move, experts stress researching and examining pros and cons to help make the best decision.
Retirement communities often have an age requirement of 55 and over and boast resort-style accommodations. These communities foster a social network while removing the hassle and headache of home ownership. Activities can include golfing, fitness classes, craft studios, card games, social clubs, and entertainment and travel groups. Many communities have shared spaces, such as dining halls and clubhouses, and offer lifestyle services like laundry, housekeeping and transportation.
Assisted-living communities are for individuals who are primarily independent but need help with daily personal tasks, such as bathing and dressing. These facilities can offer studio or one-bedroom apartments, cottages or a mixture of both. Residents may benefit from dining services, recreational activities, transportation and/or housekeeping. Skilled nursing and other medical care services may be on site or available through visiting providers. The level of care and services vary by community. It’s important to review the options and decide with your loved one which services are most needed. For a list of questions to help guide you in choosing the right community, visit aplaceformom.com.
Skilled Nursing Facility
Skilled nursing facilities, or nursing homes, offer residents 24-hour nursing care. The staff includes registered nurses, licensed practical and vocational nurses, and certified nurse assistants. Nutritious, customizable meal plans are provided, along with recreational and/or mentally stimulating activities. According to the National Institute on Aging, about 1.4 million Americans are in nursing homes. To help individuals, their families and caregivers compare nursing homes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a five-star rating system based on health inspections, staffing and quality measures. To compare homes, visit medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare. Experts say each resident should have an advocate, a friend or family member who visits regularly and monitors conditions to ensure quality care.
Continuing Care Retirement Community
This type of community combines independent living, assisted living and nursing home care on one campus – offering residents the peace of mind of staying in place as medical needs change. Accommodations and amenities vary by community and experts recommend reviewing contracts carefully. A community like this should also have a residents’ association serving as a voice for its members by accepting feedback and calling for changes and improvements.