Most seniors come to a point where we realize we must downsize. Our beloved home is too much for us to care for and too expensive to keep up. But where do we go?
Once we receive that AARP card, our mailbox fills with promotional materials for a wide range of senior living choices. From fully independent to fully dependent, homes are available with a vast range of amenities and price tags.
The first step is to choose the type of housing that suits our needs. The challenge is in making this decision honestly and clearly. Those with dementia may not be able to assess their present state. In fact, those with Alzheimer’s typically cannot recognize their limitations at all. They believe they are capable of doing everything as they always have done.
If possible, we should ask these questions.
- Am I physically active?
- Can I manage my personal daily care needs?
- Am I able to manage my medications without assistance?
- Do I seek more social activities or company at meal times?
- Do I feel safe alone at home?
- Have I recently fallen?
- Would I like less responsibility planning and preparing meals?
- Are the stairs or other design factors in my present home challenging for me?
- Do I foresee my mental or physical health declining in the near future?
Depending on our responses, we can choose from among the following senior living options.
- Independent Living – Small, single family homes or apartments in a community setting that often offer options for housekeeping, group dining, and social activities.
- Assisted living – small apartments or suites with options for assistance with personal care such as medication reminders or administration, dressing and bathing, transportation, meals, and social activities.
- Assisted Living for Memory Care – Round-the-clock supervision; staff trained to assist residents with bathing, toileting, and dressing, sundowning, wandering, disorientation, repetition, aggressive behaviors, and hallucinations; social activities, and meals. Some have on-site nursing and other medical providers.
- Continuing Care Retirement Community – Sites that offer multi-level care often from housing for independent living, to assisted living, rehabilitation services, skilled nursing, and memory care.
The last step is to find the right home within the selected category. This decision is made based on need, preference, and financial ability.
It all can feel overwhelming even when we know the move will result in better living. Leaving a home we’ve enjoyed and filled with memories is difficult at any time of our lives, however senior choices often are made more so because we must move rather than want to.
If that choice is made with an open mind and a sense of adventure, the end result can relieve us of tremendous stress, worry, and responsibility leaving us with more time to enjoy our family and old and new friends.
(Young in the Spirit. Spiritual Strengthening for Seniors and Caregivers is available from Amazon.com, ACTA Publications, and my website. You can find more posts on senior living on Young in the Spirit Facebook page.)