If you have any older family members or if you’re a senior citizen yourself (over the age of 64), you may wonder about future living arrangements. Many senior citizens between the ages of 65 and 75 are still living in their homes— but is this the best living arrangement? Age alone doesn’t determine the best living arrangement for senior citizens. Here are the three most common living arrangement options for seniors, and a look at what qualifies you (or your aging loved one) for each option.
#1: Aging in Place
By far, aging in place is the living arrangement option that gives senior citizens the best quality of life. This option allows seniors to remain living in their own homes where everything is familiar and they have their set routine. However, successfully aging place means that the senior is both safe and comfortable, meaning some adjustments to the home may have to be made. These mainly include bathroom renovations, since most senior falls occur in the home— in the bathroom.
However, certain criteria must be met for a senior to successfully age in place. First and foremost, they must be able to perform activities of daily living (ADLs), such as:
- Bathing/personal hygiene
If a senior can’t perform any of these, then aging in place may not be the best option. However, if they have trouble with only one of these, a home health aide may be an option.
#2: Living With Family
Another option for senior living is to move in with family members. This is slightly less independent than living alone (depending on the family), but it gives the families of the seniors peace of mind because they don’t have to worry about their loved ones living alone. This may be a good option if the senior lives too far away for the family to check in on them regularly, and/or if a senior has trouble with some ADLs.
This option allows family members to ensure their loved ones are eating healthy and taking their medication, but it can also place stress on the caregiver. Moving an aging loved one in with you works best when you have enough room and your home, you’re able to renovate your home to make it safer, and when you have a support system to help you care for your aging loved one to prevent burnout.
#3: Assisted Living Options
Active Adult Communities
Active adult communities are actual community environments specifically for senior citizens. These communities can be made up of apartments, condos, townhouses, mobile homes, or actual houses. Residents of these communities are fully independent, so it’s very similar to aging in place. The only difference is that the community is made up of seniors so your aging loved one is surrounded by their peers.
Retirement homes are a little less independent than active adult communities, but they are still a home-like environment and a senior citizen-only community. Residents are still able to take care of themselves, but meals, housekeeping, and transportation services may be available. Similar to moving in with family, this option still allows for independence, but there’s also assistance if/when needed.
Assisted Living Communities/Nursing Homes
Assured living communities are similar to retirement communities, except that the residents in these communities need much more care and assistance. They may have trouble with several or all ADLs, and some may even be in the early stages of dementia. This is the best option for seniors who are still active but still require some assistance to keep them safe.
Nursing homes are assured living facilities that offer round-the-clock care for patients in the later stages of dementia, or with other serious health issues. Nursing homes offer the most skilled care, but oftentimes, patients are abused and neglected. Unfortunately, these homes are the best options for seniors who require this specialized care, so you must choose a high-quality nursing home if this is the best option for them.
Whether you’re a senior citizen looking at your options for living arrangements, or you’re looking for options for your aging loved one(s), it’s important to look at all of the options available to you to make the best decision. Overall, seniors with severe medical issues that require constant and specialized care are better off in high-quality nursing homes. If this isn’t the case for you or your aging loved one(s), then consider one of the other options listed above.