In Part 1 of this series, we covered aging in place in your current home. This is the preferred choice for many older adults who are still completely healthy, but it may not be suitable for everyone. If you become disabled, your home might not be safe and you could find yourself in a precarious situation.
In the past, for the most part, leaving your lifelong residence meant going into a ‘nursing home.’ Today there are numerous levels of care with ‘skilled nursing facilities’ taking the place of what was formerly known as ‘nursing homes.’ Skilled Nursing is the highest level of care other than a hospital. Medicare will pay up to 20 days at this level if you meet specific criteria. Medigap plans extend it to 100 days, again with very specific criteria being met.
These days, there are a lot of other options available if your health has not deteriorated to a point that requires full-time skilled care. In fact, having a safe, supportive living environment will probably keep you out of the ‘nursing home’ for longer than if you have a fall or other serious medical incident alone in your home. According to AARP, a change of scene helps to pick up your spirits, and moving tends to improve overall psychological well-being.
Here is a list in order of the level of care required. NOTE: Unfortunately, Medicare does not usually cover much, if any of these expenses. Long term health insurance options cover more but scrutinize any policy you are considering to ensure it will meet your needs.
- The Village Movement
- Independent Living
- Assisted Living
- Residential Care Home
- Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
- Long Term Care/Extended Care/Nursing Home
The Village Movement
This is an option for those who wish to age in their homes. For a membership fee, older adults are put in touch with a community of resources or “village.” Volunteers help with rides to medical appointments and grocery stores as well as maintenance issues around the home. Those living alone can receive reassuring phone calls and other support. Though currently not available everywhere, the village movement is a growing concept and you can check the map to see if there is a village in your area HERE. if not, there are services available in most areas for assistance with errands and Dr. appointments.
This is a blanket term for any housing designed specifically for older adults. It can include 55+ housing, retirement communities, senior housing, and senior apartments. Home design should incorporate universal design elements or retrofitted safety features. The location should facilitate convenience to medical providers, recreational facilities and shopping.
Also a blanket term that can include many types of communities. The common factor is that this type of housing provides assistance with Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living ( ADLs and IADLs) for those who can no longer safely or effectively live on their own due to some loss of function. Most assisted living units are apartments that include kitchens, though most meals are provided in a common dining room. Staff is available 24/7 and a good assisted living facility will have robust activities and a wellness schedule.
Residential Care Home
This is an option for those who want to live with a smaller community of people, often six or less. Attention from staff is more personalized because of the small group. Care homes are converted private homes offering a higher level of care than assisted living but a lower level than skilled nursing. Each resident has a private or semi-private bedroom and common spaces. Meals are shared in a common family-style dining room.
CCRC-Continuing Care Retirement Communities
The most expensive of all senior housing options, CCRCs are a combination of Independent Living, Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Care Facilities. CCRCs offer the security of never having to move again, even if requirements for care increase.
Skilled Nursing Facility/Nursing Home
These provide the highest level of care other than a hospital. Prescribed by a physician, skilled nursing is for those who need 24-hour supervision including meals, health management, and activities. Services for Alzheimer’s, dementia, and memory care as well as speech, occupational and physical therapies are available, depending on the facility.
Deciding where to age safely is a big decision. Whether staying in your current home or moving to a community with more support, asking for help makes it easier and the good news is there are many more options available at this time in history than ever before! Professional Organizers and Senior Move Managers like Ideal Organizing + Design will expedite the process no matter what your decision.
For Senior Move Management services contact Ideal Organizing and Design at 757-777-8685 or via email at email@example.com