Housing in Later Life: Making the Right Choice

Senior Living

It’s never too early to think about housing in later life. To help you start taking action, think about the image you have of your future self. The ideal situation for most people is to live at home — also known as aging in place.

Depending on your situation, living at home can become difficult. Ongoing health conditions can make driving, preparing meals, and managing financial affairs more difficult. Living at home can also place you at risk of elder fraud and abuse.

Start with a Clearer Picture

The first step to resolving this highly emotional decision is gaining a clear picture of life when you become frail and dependent. Answering questions about shopping, food preparation, transportation to medical care, or the location of your friend’s house or church can help answer the question of whether you should stay or go.

The second step is understanding your choices. In the next section, we attempt to clarify the housing options and areas of consideration.

Residential Support Housing

  1. Senior housing developments are multi-unit apartment buildings, condominiums, cooperatives, single family home complexes, and mobile home parks.
  2. Supportive housing is multi-unit housing buildings (private rooms or full apartments) that include supportive assistance (group meals, housekeeping, transportation, laundry, emergency response systems, resident services).
  3. Elder cottages are small or apartment-sized, detached homes temporarily sited on private property that contains the primary residence of a younger family member.
  4. Match-up home sharing is when a homeowner or apartment renter with extra room shares his home with another person in exchange for rent and/or services or as a mutually supportive arrangement to share companionship, expenses, assistance, and household tasks. Sharing may be intergenerational or for older persons only.
  5. Naturally occurring retirement communities (NORC) are geographic areas or multi-unit apartment buildings that are NOT restricted to persons over a specified age but have evolved over time to include a significant number of residents who are age 60 or older.

Residential Support Housing: What Should I Know?

  • Adult protective services provides protection for persons based on complaints to DHR about who may be in need of care and protection because of danger to their health or safety.
  • Homeowner care setting is determined by you and who provides care. A knowledgeable, willing and available care advocate helps to ensure the optimal outcome.
  • You are bound by the lease agreement which may limit your options for lessee care settings. A knowledgeable, willing, and available advocate to provide care coordination helps to ensure the optimal outcome.

Assisted Living

This option includes congregate assisted living facilities, group assisted living facilities, and family assisted living. This type of housing in later life provides general observation and health supervision to identify changes in residents’ health conditions and physical abilities. It does not provide medical or nursing care.

Assisted Living: What Should I Know?

  • Regulated by your state’s Department of Public Health, you must first meet the standard and follow the rules established by the state.
  • Facilities cannot perform skilled nursing services or care for residents with severe cognitive impairment.
  • A resident must be able to direct their care but may receive assistance with medication and wound treatments.
  • There is no requirement to keep a resident when they become disruptive or violate licensing requirements which often occur in disease progression or prolonged wound treatments. You will be given a 30-day notice to move.
  • Freedom of choice in how you receive care and where you receive care is limited. You cannot hire a private caregiver and remain in independent living when your condition is expected to last more than 90 days.
  • You are limited in the care setting and in who provides care. Your care advocate(s) must work with assisted living staff to affect the quality of care.
  • You may experience social isolation and institutional neglect when you do not have control over how and when you receive care.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

CCRCs are multi-level communities that include independent living units (e.g. apartments, cottages), social activities, congregate meals, supportive assistance, and personal care all on one campus. Nursing home care is also included and may be provided on or off-campus.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities: What Should I Know?

  • Regulated by your state’s Department of Public Health, you must first meet the standard and follow the rules established by the state.
  • Freedom of choice in how you receive care and where you receive care is limited. You cannot hire a private caregiver and remain in independent living when your condition is expected to last more than 90 days.
  • You are limited in the care setting and in who provides care. Your care advocate(s) must work with CCRC staff to affect the quality of care.
  • You may experience social isolation and institutional neglect when you do not have control over how and when you receive care.

Where you will live in later life is different for everyone.

As you work your way through the decision process, you should weigh the pros and cons of each option. Take the time to make a thoughtful decision while you are still years away from having to make the decision. The future YOU is worth the time.

We Can Help

If you’d like help considering your options and making decisions, we’re here to help. Our Strategic Life Planning services support you throughout your retirement.

We also offer the following premiere add-on concierge services:

  • Protective Aging: Helps you identify and manage the risks in your home that commonly result in health declines.
  • Home Transitions: Helps you analyze the financial and emotional cost to age in place or move to elder housing, facility selection, estate disposition, and moving in.
  • Care Navigation: Helps you find local resources, analyze insurance benefits, and select in-home care providers using a professional care coordinator.
  • Personal Advocacy: Helps protect you from fraud, exploitation, and social isolation as you age alone, and ensures your desires, preferences, and choices are met at the end of life.

Contact us today and let’s have a conversation!

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