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Is a Retirement Home My Only Option? An article by Hazel Bridges of AgingWellness.org

 Posted by Lisa Haskell on January 30, 2020 at 4:20 PM


Is a Retirement Home My Only Option?

By Hazel Bridges


If you’re approaching your senior years, you might not know where to live during this part of your life. Do you stay at home and try to make it work or move into a retirement home? Only you can answer that question, but there are a few indicators that can lead you in the right direction.


Retirement Living


For active seniors, there are two choices: independent living and assisted living. The difference between the two is that the former offers fewer medical services than the latter. Each offers housing, special services, and community amenities. Independent living is a great option if you still drive and are in overall good health. Assisted living is probably right for you if you have trouble remembering to take medications or if you can no longer dress and bathe yourself.


Keep in mind that if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, or another degenerative condition that both of these options may allow you to segue into skilled nursing care without having to make another drastic move.


Not Your Only Option


If neither of these sounds appealing, there are other options that, with a little tweaking to your particular lifestyle, make lots of sense. One of these is to open your home to another senior. This home-sharing model means you can split both the bills and the responsibilities. Plus, you’ll always have someone to talk to — and to make an emergency call on your behalf if you are injured. Medicare.org explains that there are shared housing matchup programs that can help you find a compatible roommate in your area.


Whether or not you choose to take in a tenant, if your ultimate choice is to stay in your own home, you might need to make some modifications. According to ConsumerAffairs research team contributor Jonathan Trout, this includes everything from adding grab bars for stabilization in the bathroom to improving the lighting throughout the house. If your mobility begins to decline, your friends and family can check up on you periodically, or you can hire a live-in caregiver if you wind up needed around-the-clock attention.


If you feel confident that you can live semi-independently but don’t need assisted living, another choice is to move in with your adult child. For many older adults, moving in with family can provide the opportunity to spend quality time together and to save on the costs of paying for and maintaining a home. What’s important with this situation is to have clearly stated boundaries and expectations from the beginning so that everyone is on the same page, and to avoid resentment and misunderstandings. 


Which Is the Best Option?


There is not a single answer to this question. Instead, you have to take a close look at your lifestyle and personal preferences, and then you can draw a conclusion. Ask yourself questions about your privacy preferences, health concerns, and budget. Only once you have evaluated your unique circumstances will you know what makes the most sense for you.

To learn more about Hazel and her advocacy on behalf of seniors, please visit www.agingwellness.org.


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