Couch coupleWe all want to remain independent throughout retirement and stay in control of where and how we live, but our ability to do so may depend on our health and physical well-being.  As we age, some things naturally become harder to do on our own. When this happens, it may be time to consider our options for senior living.

Families and seniors begin to consider alternatives when it becomes difficult for the elderly family member to perform daily living tasks without significant support from others. Some of the challenges elderly adults face as they age include loss of vision, poor balance, memory loss or forgetfulness, fatigue, loneliness, dementia, or a physician-prescribed move to a care setting. Whether your needs are immediate or long-term, planning for senior living can seem daunting, and most people don’t prepare properly for that inevitability.

“We all need to have a plan as we get older, and understanding our living options is an important part of that plan,” explains Emily Stowers, MSW, Aging Services Manager at One Senior Place in Altamonte Springs. “There are a million variables to consider, and it can be overwhelming.

“If you still want to live at home, you need to understand the risks,” continues Stowers. “It’s unhealthy to stay at home if you don’t have the support you need because this represents a major risk to your safety. If you can manage to stay at home safely and independently, you should, but if your health declines, you need to reconsider your options.”

Assessing the personal, physical and medical needs for yourself or a loved one is critical. You should also review income, assets, investments, benefits and the value of your home in order to determine what you can afford.  “Another important thing to consider is your support network in order to determine where you want to be located,” says Stowers. “Once these assessments are made, you can better determine what your best options are.”

Fortunately, several options exist for both In-Home and Senior Living care. In-Home Care options include:

Private Duty Care: Provides non-medical care and assistance with activities of daily living such as meal preparation, bathing, grooming, dressing, transportation and light housekeeping.

Skilled Home Health Care: Care given by nurses, occupational, speech or physical therapists.

Hospice Care: Can be given in a patient’s home, including residence in assisted living or skilled nursing facilities. Patients must have a terminal diagnosis.

Senior Living options include:

Active Adult Communities: Condos, 55+, mobile home parks, apartment or single-family homes. No services or amenities provided.

Independent Living/Senior Retirement Communities: Meals, housekeeping, transportation, and activities are included in the monthly fee. Services and assistance available onsite as your needs increase.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC): Usually requires a “buy-in” fee, promotes “aging in place” and offer independent, skilled nursing and memory care. They guarantee that you can remain on the campus for the rest of your life.

Assisted Living Facilities: In addition to meals, housekeeping, transportation and activities, these facilities promote independence but offer personal assistance for meals, bathing, dressing and medication on an as-needed basis.

Memory Care: Specialized assisted living or nursing facility for residents with various forms of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF): Offer short-term, sub-acute rehabilitation and long-term nursing care.

Every option comes with a multitude of considerations, including knowing what to look for when touring or inquiring about a facility, preparing your home for in-home care, and evaluating your payment options (Medicare, Medicaid, Long-Term Care Insurance, Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Benefits).

“The key is to prepare in advance so that if and when a current living situation becomes untenable, you and your family are ready,” stresses Stowers. “Whether you’re a family member looking on behalf of a loved one or a healthy senior doing some advanced research, there are many resources available in the community that you should take advantage of.”

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One Senior Place is a comprehensive, one-stop resource with access to information, advice, care and services for seniors. Not only are a variety of businesses available in one location, but we also offer complimentary educational seminars on a regular basis, and our Senior Resource Library is available to help you find what you are looking for. Call 407.949.6733 for more information.