Is moving to a senior living community the right decision? It’s a question many people ask themselves as they get older. It’s also something people with aging parents may find themselves wondering about.
There are a number of different reasons this question may arise. Here are a few of the most common.
Concerns about health
Sometimes health issues can precipitate a look at senior living as an alternative to staying put in one’s own home. Maybe a recent health episode has forced a decision about whether it’s safe to continue living at home. Or maybe it’s a long-standing health issue that’s become more difficult to manage over time. Or a combination of health issues.
One option is to consider home health care as a possible solution. It may include visits from health care professionals, home health aides, and/or homemaking services. This may work well for some people, but as health issues become more complicated to manage and the need for in-home support rises, home health care may begin to fall short. It can also get expensive as the number of hours of service purchased each week increases.
At a certain point, moving to an assisted living community makes more sense, both from a practical and financial perspective. That said, many people chose not to wait for health problems to escalate before deciding to move to assisted living. Making a proactive decision rather than waiting for a crisis allows more time to find the right senior living community and prepare to make the move.
Inactivity and lack of social connections
As we age, we may find ourselves becoming less active. Maybe that’s because health issues make it difficult to participate in activities we’ve enjoyed in the past. Or maybe the people we did things with aren’t around anymore and it’s difficult to find new friends with similar interests. Or transportation has become an issue, which means getting to activities is a problem.
Rather than accept things the way they are, many aging adults decide to move to a senior living community in order to become more active again. After all, senior living communities have a full slate of activities designed to appeal to residents with a variety of interests. There are lots of opportunities to meet new friends. And transportation isn’t an issue because most activities are run onsite, and transportation is often laid on by the senior living community for those that aren’t.
Seniors who don’t need the type of health care support available in assisted living may choose a community with independent living apartments. That way they can still access activity and social programs within the community.
Getting harder to maintain the home
As we get older, looking after a home can get harder. If we’re living in a house where we raised a family, we may be cleaning rooms we don’t use anymore. Home maintenance projects can begin to pile up, especially if sensory or mobility issues are preventing us from doing them ourselves – or making it less safe to do so. Looking after one’s own place can be particularly difficult for a senior who’s lost a spouse and is now responsible for work around the house that used to be shared by two people.
One solution is to enlist the help of family or pay for home repair and home cleaning services. Either that or downsize to a smaller property like a condo where there aren’t as many rooms to clean and some repairs are covered by condo maintenance fees.
Property maintenance is usually included in the cost of senior living as well. And homemaking services are often part of the package, too. The advantage is you don’t have to arrange them yourself. It’s all done by the staff at the senior living community.
Meals have become a hassle
Preparing meals may seem like more of a chore than previously, especially if you’re cooking for one. And if you’ve lost your motivation to cook for yourself, you could be at risk of developing health issues associated with poor nutrition.
You may consider eating out more (which can get expensive) or taking advantage of a program like Meals on Wheels.
Or you could decide a move to a senior living community. Many senior living communities invest a lot in providing enjoyable dining options for their residents, recognizing just how important food is in everyone’s day-to-day life. If you choose to move to an independent living apartment, you may have the option of still doing some of your own cooking, taking advantage of the community’s dining facilities when the mood the strikes you. If you’re moving in to assisted living or memory care, chances are meals are provided.