I am asked often enough about my plans for housing when I retire that I decided I should take a serious look at options. I am blessed to have many friends in different cities who are thoughtful about planning for a time in the future when living alone in our home (apartment/condo/house) may not be a good option. I am especially fortunate to have siblings who think about these things long before it is on my radar screen. So, I asked siblings and friends about how they think about this issue, what factors are important to them in considering options, and when they think they will exercise those options.
In no particular order, here’s what I was advised/ learned:
- Live independently for as long as you can
- Living together with friends who are aging alone could be comforting as well as challenging. Called “cohousing”, there is a growing trend to explore various options. (Here’s an article if you’re interested.)
- Aging in Place specialists can help with configuring the house to reduce risks of falls, accidents and the like. (More info in this write up.)
- Use technology to keep one safe and socially connected. I imagine Alexa and care robots will be in my future!
- If you feel you can’t manage your life safely on your own even within a village setting, and you’re unwilling to move in with a family member or friend, then the options are:
- Independent living communities, like retirement communities or senior housing. Typically, these communities eliminate responsibilities for house maintenance, cooking or housekeeping. A great benefit is the opportunity to socialize with other seniors.
- Residential care homes, also known as board and care homes or personal care homes. These homes provide lodging, meals and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).
- Continuing Care Retirement Communities. These are part independent living, part assisted living and part skilled nursing home and are intended for people who want to live in one location for the rest of their lives. Residents typically start in the independent living section, then move to different parts of the same community if they need increasing levels of care.
- Assisted Living homes offer a wide range of services including bathing, dressing, transportation and medication management.
- Skilled Nursing Facility is for older adults who need 24-hour supervised care with meals, health management and support.
Now that I’m better informed, I’m going to stick with the first lesson. For as long as my health will allow, I plan to live independently for as long as I can. And when that is no longer an option, I’m grateful that like other older adults, I have other options to choose from. And I will be using the Amazing Care Network website to learn more about those options!
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