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Five Living Options for Seniors in Their Community
By Susan Hyatt, Guest Blogger
Article Posted on
Ensuring safety and security as we grow older can sometimes mean a change in living situation – perhaps downsizing to a smaller house or moving to an assisted living community. Research shows that seniors are happier and healthier if they stay close to their own community.
As seniors age and their needs change, they move along a continuum in terms of living options. Descriptions are often confusing and difficult to compare. This overview can help you begin to decide which option is best for you now and in the future:
1. Home care in your home
Many seniors start with this option, having service providers or healthcare practitioners come to their home. Those with health or mobility issues may choose to renovate their home with things like wheelchair ramps and stair-lifts. Others choose to downsize to a smaller residence when, for example, the stairs become too difficult to navigate.
Staying at home is ideal for seniors who are self-sufficient and able to safely manage any health conditions with little or no help. There are a myriad of home care companies that offer various services and costs.
2. Active adult living community
Typically, seniors lease or purchase a unit or home in a designated community for older adults – this may be a gated community. These communities often have lifestyle amenities such as golf courses, fitness centres, pools, and so on. They may also have support services, like emergency care staff.
This is ideal for seniors who are independent, but would like to live in a supportive community of their peers.
3. Independent living
Independent living is a seniors’ apartment or residence with extra supports, which helps seniors come and go as they please. In this living option, staff are usually on-site and residents may have call bells in case of emergency. The community offers services to make life easier for seniors, such as laundry, weekly housekeeping, meals, and so on. There are many private companies offering this option and some not-for-profits.
This is ideal for seniors who want to retain their independence but need help with practical chores such as grocery shopping and meal preparation, or managing health conditions
4. Assisted living
Assisted living facilities offer more supports for seniors who require assistance with personal care, mobility, health conditions, and medication management. The staff take care of daily chores and support. Residents have a call bell, intercom, or emergency phone from which they can summon 24/7 emergency assistance.
This is ideal for seniors who have physical or cognitive health limitations and require regular on-site assistance. There are many private companies offering this option and some not-for-profits.
5. Long-term care
Long-term care homes provide all-inclusive nursing or personal care and support, 24/7. The staff take care of residents in all respects, from personal care and hygiene to healthcare and medications. This is ideal for seniors who require 24-hour care due to serious physical or cognitive issues.
Planning ahead now for your future living needs is important. Looking ahead at the continuum of options will ensure you are able to make smart decisions about your living situation as you age.
Susan Hyatt, BSc (PT), MBA, is CEO & Co-founder of Silver Sherpa, a lifestyle transitions company delivering independent and personalized advice on smart ageing.