People are living much longer now than they did in the past few decades; while this is a positive change, it also presents some challenges that never had to be addressed before. As we continue to age, we are also faced with both physical and mental health problems that affect our daily lives. Senior citizens (those aged 65 and older) are more often affected with ailments such as osteoporosis and dementia, and diseases like this can affect their quality of life. This causes concern for the loved ones of senior citizens, as to how their aging family members will take care of themselves, or be taken care of.
Here are some of the most common residential options for the aging population.
#1: Age in Place
Aging in place refers to senior citizens staying in their own homes as they age, but they should be able to do it as safely and as comfortably as possible. This is the best option that produces the greatest quality of life, but some factors have to be taken into consideration. Some questions you should ask yourself and discuss with other family members are:
- Is my loved one able to perform activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, toileting, etc.) on their own?
- Is my loved one in good mental condition?
- Is my loved one in good physical condition?
- Is the home they’re currently in free from potential hazards, or can modifications be made to reduce potential hazards?
- Is there a community available (family, friends, etc.) to help support my loved one as they age in place?
If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, then this option is the best option for your aging loved one.
#2: Move in With Family
Having your aging loved one move in with you is another popular option that many families choose. This could be because your loved one wants to be closer to family, or maybe they don’t meet all of the criteria for safely and comfortably aging in place. Moving in with family is still a really good residential option for senior citizens because it allows them to have more social interaction.
Just know that there may have to be some modifications made to your home to ensure their safety and comfort. The only downside is that this living arrangement can potentially change family dynamics, and could also put more strain on the caretaker if they aren’t properly prepared.
#3: Assisted Living Facility
Assisted living facilities are home-like residences that provide personal care for your loved one. This is the best option if your loved one has some trouble performing activities of daily living independently but they are still in good physical condition. Your loved one will still have access to medications if necessary and even be provided with rides to and from doctor appointments.
In an assisted living facility, your loved one will be living in a home-like setting, with individual (or shared) spaces that provide a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. These facilities are also social settings, so your aging loved one will have social interaction with others.
#4: Nursing Home
Nursing homes are medical facilities where medical care is provided around the clock. This option is more suitable for your loved ones if they require extensive medical care and are dealing with more severe ailments. Unfortunately, nursing homes have gotten a bad reputation of staff members abusing and neglecting patients, so many people are wary about placing their loved ones in a nursing home.
While this happens, it’s not the case for all nursing homes. It’s important for you to review different nursing home facilities before deciding to place your aging loved one in a nursing home, as well as to be aware of advocacy groups that can provide you with support should you need it.
Always remember to choose the option that is best for your aging loved one. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can be expensive, so it’s important to make sure that no other option is a better fit for your loved one. Also, no matter which option you choose, it’s important that you continue to help and support your aging loved one in any way possible.