Senior care is not something that should be overlooked - humans are living longer, and having a conversation about potential senior living options is a natural stage in life. But it's a major life-changing decision and in a lot of cases it means a parent will have to leave their current home.
There's a few options available such as independent living in a senior community, nursing home, assisted living care, and specialized short-term and long-term senior housing for memory care (seniors with Alzheimer's disease).
In some cases there's a specific event, such as an illness, or an injury that triggers an initial conversation. In other cases it's noticeable symptoms of aging, whether physical or mental, that causes us to start considering the different senior housing.
Most common senior living options:
- Independent living - life as usual, but with regular check-ins from staff or a caregiver.
- Assisted living - senior assisted living is part of a continuum of long-term care that provides housing, personal care services, and health care designed to respond to individuals who require assistance with activities of daily life (known as "ADLs").
- Nursing home (or "skilled nursing") - a nursing home is for seniors 62+ who need more assistance than those in an assisted living facility. Most nursing homes have licensed nurses 24/7 and on-site doctors during business hours. Resident's rooms are equipped with an alert system to notify staff in case of an emergency. Nursing homes also offer specialized care such as physical therapy, memory care, speech therapy or occupational therapy.
- Age and health. Is your loved exercising and stretching each day? How is his or her memory? What is their ability to take care of themselves with activities of daily life? Do they require any special care? These answers will determine the senior living options available to you.
- Senior care pricing. What is your loved ones ability to pay for care? Are there any savings or assets such as a home that can be used to help pay the monthly costs of senior care? Also which government programs are available to help pay for the senior care needed (i.e. Medicare, Medicaid, Medi-Gap).
- Responsibilities. Who will be the primary caregiver? Is it just yourself? Are siblings or other family members, willing and able to assist?
- Expectations. Another consideration is your parent’s emotional readiness for making the transition. Do you know whether a move will prove to be a big issue for them, and they will fight it, or are they ready for the change, and accept it as a necessary move? Have you had “the conversation” yet? Do you know what to expect or are you in for a surprise reaction?
- Distance. Last but not least to consider is location. Would you be looking for a place within 30-mins of their current residence? Would it make more sense to move closer to yourself or to another sibling? Perhaps it makes sense to move a warmer climate?