By Theresa Robertson
Aging at home is certainly a viable option for many seniors, but what about when it’s not the safest, healthiest or most cost-effective option for your situation?
According to Genworth, after age 65, there is nearly a 70% chance a senior will need some form of senior care. The idea of aging at home may not be realistic for some, thus making it all the more important to know what senior housing options are available.
It’s important for seniors and their families to consider three common concerns associated with aging at home: safety, health and costs. Knowing your senior housing options can help alleviate anxieties.
Staying safe at home can be challenging and dangerous for many older adults, which means you must learn to recognize the signs that indicate it’s no longer a safe option.
• Medication mismanagement – Are there mistakes with dosage and timing?
• Home hazards – Is there evidence of fires or has there been falls?
•Accessibility – Is it difficult to access upstairs bedrooms and showers?
Many senior housing communities, such as assisted living, are designed with your safety in mind. They provide the general and medical resources you’ll need daily, such as distributing proper medication doses, while equipping you with emergency resources for those rare but critical moments.
Staying healthy by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and remaining socially active may be a challenge for some seniors while aging at home. Look for signs that indicate aging in place is no longer a healthy option.
• Nutrition – Is there food in the fridge? Is the food old or expired? Has there been unexplained weight loss?
• Social /Mental – Is there evidence of paranoia or hallucinations? Is there social isolation?
Senior housing communities such as assisted living provide three nutritional meals daily, a benefit you may not provide for yourself when aging at home. The challenges of grocery shopping, meeting special dietary needs and consistently cooking could become overly burdensome.
Beyond nutrition, many seniors benefit from the social life, companionship and wellness opportunities offered at senior living communities. Common wellness programs include resistance training, stretching exercises, and even chair yoga. The sense of community, friendship and activity boosts mental and emotional health.
When you consider the total expense of living at home, including utilities, groceries, property taxes, transportation, maintenance and handyman services, your current cost of living quickly adds up. Also, if aging at home, you may need to include remodeling costs for ease of access and safety such as installing grab bars in the bathrooms or lever-style doorknobs, widening doorways, adjusting counter heights and installing exterior ramps. Additionally, you may need to factor the cost of in-home care into the equation.
In contrast, many senior living communities involve one monthly price that covers most of your expenses including utilities, food, housekeeping and social activities. The convenience of simplified living, with on-site amenities and scheduled transportation services, causes a dramatic drop in stress levels for many seniors.
About the author
Theresa Robertson, a certified senior advisor, discovered her passion for aiding seniors while serving as an in-home caregiver. Theresa is now a senior housing specialist with Oasis Senior Advisors. She’s an advocate for those who’re transitioning to senior housing or exploring options. Oasis Senior Advisors provides a free service to seniors and their families, helping them select the housing option that best meets their needs and budget.
Visit www.SeniorLiving Essentials.com to get a free article on the top signs that increased care may be needed. It’s called “Your Aging Parents: Is it time to Consider Senior Housing Options?”