Home for the Aged is not the only living arrangement for our senior loved ones. There are other options worth looking at. If you need any help with finding the perfect Senior Living experience for yourself or a loved one, we will be able to provide general information about things that will help you make an informed decision.
Of course, permanent residence is one of things that you want to put into order well in advance, since you'll have different needs as a retiree due to the reduced mobility caused by old age, and your need for medication - both factors that will be new to you if you've been living a relatively healthy, working adult life. Here are some samples of housing types that are tailored to the needs of seniors:
Assisted Living Residence/Facility
This is a type of housing that provides help and assistance to its residents, which are usually made up of seniors and people with disabilities. An assisted living facility will provide help even with mundane daily tasks such as bathing, using the bathroom, dressing up, eating, and even taking medications (known as ADL or Activities of Daily Living). These facilities are intended only for people who can no longer do most of these essential activities, who receives certain types of health care services based on which ADLs they can no longer do on their own.
ALFs are varied both in terms of size and capacity, which means you'll find some that are suited only to a few people to huge facilities that can support hundreds of residents. In the US, Assisted Living Facilities are licensed at the state level, so their definition of the concept of assisted living may vary depending on which state the facility is situated in.
The typical ALF has a staff of caretakers or helpers that will perform common household chores for its residents, which tend to include changing of sheets, laundry, kitchenwork and serving of food. There are common rooms that help residents socialize with each other, and their personal living spaces tend to resemble hotel rooms or dormitories, where the sleeping area is personal but the bathroom is shared.
The one disadvantage of ALFs is that it's only a middleground or a compromise between living alone at home and living at a nursing home, which means it can't provide the type of meticulous and consistent nursing care that hospitals and nursing homes offer. This makes ALFs ideal for seniors who require a certain amount of assistance with ADLs, but still want a certain degree of autonomy.
Retirement communities are entire villages that are designed specifically for retired seniors who are aged 55 and above. These communities are designed in a way that allows its residents to socialize with each other, while maintaining various facilities and amenities that cater to the needs and wants of the elderly.
Retirement communities are financed by either donors or residents, with the donor-funded communities being larger and possessing more amenities, since the donors end to be either business corporations, charity organizations, or religions organizations, and have developers and management teams. Donor-funded communities are typically restricted to seniors who have limited funds.
Retirement communities that are funded by residents, on the other hand, tend to be much smaller in scale, but the small size means that the staff can focus more on the smaller number of residents, which results in most resident-funded communities being able to provide services that are on par with (in some cases, better than) donor-funded ones.
Medical and Health care in retirement communities are very simple, with residents that require extensive care being visited by local nurses or homecare agencies. There are also communities that have volunteers and social workers that provide assistance.
Life Care Retirement Communities
This is a living community setup preferred by seniors who have already made long term plans to live in a senior facility indefinitely, since a life care retirement community or continuing care community has all the benefits of ALFs and Retirement communities, where a retiree can choose between independent living, nursing home care, and assisted living. The retiree can also transfer between three levels of care and assistance in order to suit his needs and wants.
In a continuing care community, a retiree can either live in an apartment or in his own private unit. This is why a continuing care community is preferred by a lot of retirees, most of whom still want to be independent. However, a CCC is also flexible, so that the retiree can move to a shared apartment and more extensive assistance and care, once he feels that he can no longer live independently.
It's true that a Continuing Care Community is currently the best option for retirees due to its flexibility, however, it does have one distinct disadvantage - cost. All of the advantages and flexibility can be expensive. The requirements for getting in can also be strict, as retirees are expected to fill out and adhere to a contract with stipulations that vary depending on the community.
The continuing care community is ideal for both seniors who prefer isolation and seniors who prefer to intermingle with people of their own age in a hospitable and safe environment, provided that they can afford the expensive rates.
Also known as domiciliary care or companion care, home care is ideal for seniors who have become attached to their home and/or families but do not want to burden said family members with their care. In a Home Care setup, the senior is given non medical service and custodial care by a skilled caregiver in their own home. This allows the senior to continue living in his own home while receiving assistance in Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. The caregiver also coordinates with a medical professional or the family doctor so that they can be trained in the administration of medicine, if needed.
Home Care can be expensive, since they have to pay the regular wage of the caregiver, as well as give her a living quarter if she is going to serve as a stay-in caregiver. This is also added to the cost of medicine and health care tools that are needed. There is also a more expensive kind of home care, in which a licensed skilled professional, such as a nurse, a physician, or a therapist is hired instead of a caregiver.
The advantage of home care is that it allows the senior to receive the best care possible, and even though it is more expensive than institutional based senior residence, they can turn out to be more cost-efficient, since the assistance given by a caregiver will be extensive and may even include ancillary tasks such as light housekeeping, companionship, medication reminders, and others.