If you’re an adult caring for a parent, you may likely have to help them decide about senior housing eventually. In most cases, adult children do the legwork of researching and gathering information on what senior living options are available.
7 housing options for seniors
With research and help from a senior housing specialist, you can learn the different senior housing choices. Here’s a quick overview of what each senior living option highlights.
1. Aging in place
A recent survey found that 3 out of 4 Americans age 50 and above want to remain in their current homes. Spending golden years in a familiar environment isn’t only comfortable, it’s also practical. However, aging at home is only ideal if you are caring for a parent who requires minor or no care support at all. Once your loved one’s care needs grow, a senior living community may be the next best choice.
2. Independent living
Independent living offers housing arrangements designed for seniors who want to live in an active community without the responsibilities of home ownership. It’s for seniors who don’t require any medical assistance but want to skip cooking, yard work and other homemaking obligations. Independent living costs vary based on services and location and can range from $2,000 to $7,000 per month.
3. Assisted living
When caring for a parent with a minimum level of nursing care needs, you should consider assisted living. Services include round-the-clock staff, housekeeping, personal care and more. The median cost of assisted living is $4,300 per month, but this varies depending on the individual’s amount of care needs.
4. Adult family homes (AFH)
Adult family homes (or care homes) are state-licensed facilities in residential neighborhoods that offer personalized care services to a small group of seniors. This living option is good for seniors who want to receive care but not in a large institutional setting (such as assisted living). Care is more personalized and delivered in an intimate home-care setting. AFH usually accepts up to six non-related residents, and the estimated cost ranges from $4,681 to $5,617 for shared and private suites.
5. Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC)
A life plan community or continuing care retirement community provides independent living and an upgrade of housing and care services should the medical needs of an individual increase. Communities offer flexible residential options and care services to satisfy the changing needs of each resident. On top of a monthly fee, seniors who want to move to a CCRC must pay an up-front fee between $100,000 to $1 million as a prepayment for care and living expenses.
6. Nursing homes
A nursing home is a suitable option if you’re caring for a parent who requires temporary skilled care after a hospital stay, or who requires ongoing intensive skilled care. Nursing homes employ licensed nurses and care professionals who deliver custodial care and rehabilitative services, such as physical or speech therapy. This option is two times more expensive than assisted living as residents have higher care demands. Thus, many find paying for a nursing home financially challenging. Its median cost ranges from $7,756 for a semi-private room to $8,821 for a private room.
7. Memory care
If you’re caring for a parent with dementia or Alzheimer’s, memory care communities offer a secure environment and all-day monitoring to promote safety. One massive advantage of memory care is that staff members undergo specialized training to handle difficult dementia symptoms, like wandering and aggression. Also, memory care has an excellent staff-to-resident ratio – usually one staff for five residents – which ensures a loved one receives immediate care at any time.
Assess the best housing when caring for a parent
A doctor can gauge the degree of care your loved one requires. Depending on this factor, they may remain at home or be advised to move to a community to receive advanced care.
To know which housing option is appropriate for your senior parent, visit a health care professional for a medical evaluation. Once you know the level of daily care needed to keep your loved one safe and healthy, you can consider the different housing options that fit.
Care solutions that work for seniors aging in place
Not all seniors will be ready to move out of their home. If your senior parent insists on aging in place but is not able to stay at home alone safely, you need to find an alternative. There are caregiving options which can give them an at-home situation without jeopardizing their health.
1. Provide support as a family caregiver
Some seniors move in with their adult children as they age, who can help with housekeeping, cooking and other daily tasks. Alternately, you may be able to move in with your senior parent if that makes more sense. Either way, it’s a big transition for everyone involved and requires careful planning and plenty of support.
2. Enlist a professional caregiver
If caring for a senior parent clashes with your other obligations, such as parenting, you can hire a professional caregiver for medical or non-medical assistance.
3. Adult day care services
If you need to leave home for work, a senior day care center has planned programs to keep your parent busy during the day. It’s also an excellent opportunity to connect with other seniors in your local community.
Senior housing tips when caring for a parent
Here are a few tips to help you find better senior living housing:
1. Make a checklist
What kind of care services, community features and amenities does your parent need? Create a checklist to use as a guide in choosing communities.
2. Connect with a senior living specialist
A senior living adviser is a professional who gives senior living advice. They work with several senior living companies and give community recommendations based on your loved one’s preference and needs. Consultation is usually free.
3. Read community reviews
Reading online reviews gives you an insight into the quality of services and experiences a community provides to its residents. You can check out sites like SeniorHomes.com, Caring.com, SeniorLiving.org and SeniorAdvisor.com for legit reviews.
Though preferred, aging in place isn’t always the best choice, especially if you can’t accommodate the care needs of a senior parent. When caring for a parent with a health condition, moving to a living community is often the right course of action.
Transitioning from home to a community is a huge lifestyle change, so it’s essential to talk to your loved one and make them understand that only in a community will they receive better care and attention.