Many Americans go through the difficult process of finding a place for their elderly relatives to live as they age. It can lead to some uncomfortable conversations as you face the discussion of how much independence or assistance your loved one should have.
But a lot of families are unaware of the different options that are available for elderly individuals. These options offer varying levels of personal care and some of them are perfect for those who are still very independent.
Before you discuss where your family member should reside, take a look at some of these options for seniors.
Aging in place
This is a newer trend that becomes more possible with modern technology that allows for constant communication and connectivity. Aging in place means that an elderly individual lives in their own home or with their family.
Medical equipment has advanced enough that they can still have access to some of the care that they need, and the rise of virtual communication means they can be in contact with doctors or health care professionals quickly. The individual will also be more comfortable in this private setting which is better for their mental health. You can set them up with exercise equipment to help them further their physical health with a small home gym. There are many benefits to this option and it is great for more independent individuals.
Independent living situations
These communities are also focused on the independence of the residents but with an environment that is designed for elderly individuals. Some examples of this would include a retirement community or a senior apartment complex. Many chores associated with a living space are taken care of, but the general day-to-day is up to the residents. They live however they want to in this community, but with more access to senior-specific services and activities.
Assisted living facility
These environments are another step up in the amount of available care. They are designed for elderly individuals who have a higher need for consistent medical assistance, but not necessarily 24-hour services. There is some level of supervision from the staff, but again, it is not at all times.
While assisted living facilities offer a good balance of independence for residents and availability of care, there are instances of neglect or abuse that can happen, which may be a concern for family members who want the best support for their loved ones. Overall, assisted living facilities are great for individuals who want a level of independence but also need some supervision and consistent medical care.
These facilities are meant to provide full services for seniors who are more dependent on others. It can be difficult to start a conversation with your loved one about moving into a nursing home.
However, there are many benefits, such as constant services, social events, plenty of available assistance, specialized health care, and more. The staff can provide peace of mind for family members knowing that their older relative is in a safe environment that is built to support them. Although nursing homes may hold a negative stigma for various reasons, they have the facilities and staff to care for your loved ones in the way that they need.
Other housing situations
Other scenarios have become more popular recently that can be great options for elderly individuals. A village concept, where housing and nearby businesses are linked together, can work well for independent seniors who are capable of living on their own. It surrounds them with others in a similar stage of life and with nearby stores or shops that will be helpful for them as they navigate everyday life.
Another option is to incorporate your loved one into your own home. Many families who have extra bedrooms will turn them into a somewhat separate living space with a kitchenette and bathroom to give the older relative space of their own. Or, you could build an addition that includes these various rooms. This will help elderly individuals adjust to less independence while being surrounded by supportive family members.
Know your options and be sensitive
These conversations will likely be uncomfortable. It can be hard for someone to admit that they are unable to take care of themselves after a long life, and this makes the transition more difficult. When you approach these conversations, do so with sensitivity and with plenty of research about all the available options. Depending on their level of independence and necessary care, you can work together to find a situation that best suits them.