Everyone with an aging parent or grandparent has inevitably had to navigate the senior living system. If your elderly parent or grandparent just needs some help with household chores and companionship, they may benefit from a senior living program. Unlike traditional nursing homes, independent living is often an apartment-style set up with dining facilities, housekeeping, and social activities for seniors. Sound like a good fit for your parents? Here are a few ways to make sure you find the perfect independent living facility.
You may believe that assisted care and senior living are synonymous, but they’re actually very different. All elderly and disabled people are evaluated based on the level of care that they need to complete daily tasks. An older individual who is still ambulatory but would like help with household chores and cooking is an excellent candidate for independent living. If they require hands-on medical care, memory care, or some custodial support, they may be a better fit for assisted living.
Unlike assisted living, which has a medical component, expenses for independent housing often can’t be covered by Medicaid or Medicare. Therefore, residents often need to budget for their rent and utilities using their Social Security benefits, savings, or other income. Even if your elderly relation is still working (as some 20% of seniors are), you will still need to take into account what their income will be once they retire. Develop a realistic budget before you make any final decisions.
Not all senior living facilities are the same, so you and your elder should tour facilities to get a sense of their environment and offerings. It can be intimidating and frustrating for elderly people to move into senior housing, so giving them a chance to see daily life, meet some residents, and tour the units can get them excited about moving.
As our relatives grow older, they often lose their filters and grow more blunt and stubborn. This often means that adult children and grandchildren take whatever they say with a grain of salt. When it comes to choosing a senior living center, however, you should ask your elder what they think of independent living, what their concerns are, and how they feel about various facilities. Fostering an open conversation about independent living can help you find the best location for your elder.
Always do your research before choosing an independent living facility. It’s also important to keep abreast of your senior relative’s health and mobility to be sure they’re receiving an appropriate level of care.