Housing Options for Seniors
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What is a senior living community?
A senior living community is a place where older adults live. There are many different types of senior living communities. Each provides different services. The services are based on the lifestyle and health care needs of the residents. The following are some options for senior living.
Independent living communities
Independent living communities are also called retirement homes, retirement communities, or senior apartments. An older adult can rent or buy their own unit in one of these residences. Meals usually are provided for residents in a dining hall. Housekeeping, laundry, and transportation services may also be available. Residents usually do not need help with daily tasks, such as bathing, taking medicine, and getting dressed.
An independent living community might be a good fit for an older adult who feels lonely living alone. Residents enjoy community living with other older adults. Although they are fairly active and independent, they also want to have services such as housekeeping and meal preparation.
Residential Care Homes
Residential care homes are similar to independent living communities. However, they also offer personal care services for residents who need help with daily tasks.
A residential care home might be a good fit for an older adult who is somewhat active but needs help with daily tasks, such as bathing, taking medicine, and getting dressed.
Nursing are residences for adults who do not need to be in the hospital but have difficulty with everyday tasks such as dressing and bathing. Adults who live in nursing homes have access to care from nurses or other professional staff 24 hours a day. This includes medical care, meals, and personal care services. Some nursing home residents can move into a different type of senior living community if their medical condition improves.
A nursing home might be a good fit for an older adult who needs 24-hour care from nurses or other medical professionals (for example, a patient who has late-stage dementia). This type of care usually can’t be provided at home or in any of the other senior living facilities.
Why do people choose to live in senior living communities?
People choose to move into senior living communities for many different reasons. For example, some move because they are lonely and want to be around other older adults. In some cases, an older adult can’t take care of their home, or they need help with daily tasks. Some people move because their family members can’t provide a safe environment or proper medical care.
No matter what the reason, choosing to move to a senior living community can be a hard decision to make. It’s normal for this transition to bring up many emotions for both the older adult and their family members.
How do I choose a senior living community?
This is a decision you should make with your family members. However, if an older adult is not able to participate in the discussion (for example, if they have dementia), family members and caregivers may need to make the decision.
The following steps can help you choose a community that fits your needs and your finances:
- Make sure you have a realistic, accurate account of your finances. Be sure to consider the finances of any family members who will be contributing.
- Consider all of your physical, medical, and emotional needs. Decide which senior living community meets these needs.
- Schedule a tour with local residences. While you’re on a tour, use the Senior Housing Tour Checklist to help you evaluate the residence.
- Read the housing contracts carefully.
After completing this process, talk over all your options with family members to choose a residence that is right for you.
Classifications for Seniors Housing Property Types (PDF) by American Seniors Housing Association (04/20/12, https://www.seniorshousing.org/filephotos/Classifications_for_Seniors_Housing_Property_Types.pdf )
Long Term Care Options by Assisted Living Federation of America (04/20/12, http://www.alfa.org/alfa/Senior_Living_Options.asp )
Continuing Care Retirement Communities: What They Are and How They Work by AARP (04/20/12, http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving-resource-center/info-09-2010/ho_continuing_care_retirement_communities.html )
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness