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Senior Living & Housing OptionsSenior Housing Options

If you or a loved one is looking for viable senior housing options or alternatives to assisted living facilities, the following 9 popular senior living options can help you age in place among other members of your generational cohort. Depending on your reasons and certain factors like health, budget, atmosphere, lifestyle preferences, and senior care needs, you will likely be able to choose a suitable senior housing and care solution that is perfect for you or your loved one. Always plan ahead so that costs do not impede the kind of care and housing you or your loved one deserves. Select the option that best matches your needs and senior living preference so that you may continue to age in place, socialize, and enjoy a quality of life with quality senior care during your golden years.

1. Assisted Living Facilities

Before we discuss the various senior living options that exclude assisted living, let us discuss how local assisted living facilities can be beneficial to elderly senior citizens. Assisted living is a great idea for most elderly adults who want to have a bit of independence while they enjoy daily residential recreational activities that are stimulating to the mind and body. This does not mean they will be without adequate care and support from different caregivers including their assisted living senior caregivers and their family members for their daily living activities. Daily activities, such as personal hygiene maintenance, feeding and meal preparations, laundry, dining services, and medication management are met by senior caregivers at assisted living facilities.

Furthermore, assisted living facilities ensure that seniors continuously socialize and are never without company. The assisted living facilities encourage seniors to socialize and interact with one another so that older adults do not experience any loneliness and isolation. Being surrounded by other residents, caring senior caregiver staff, and to an extent, family and friends will help seniors feel at ease during their golden years. This is especially true when the elderly adults enjoy praying together, playing bingo together, or going on visits to the park for a picnic together. Assisted living facilities cater to the needs of senior residents with a variety of lifestyle preferences, interests, hobbies, and mental and physical disabilities. Even if your loved one has limited mobility and endures challenges with movement, assisted living facilities will sponsor residential recreational facilities within the assisted living facility and will support your elderly loved one with attending the event. This is in contrast to how socialization may usually be limited for a loved one with mental or physical disabilities who lives independently.

Caregiving in itself is not an easy proposition and includes attending to a loved one’s physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and financial needs.  

If you don't want to use an assisted living facility for elderly adults, you can be confident that there are other options that are just as useful to your loved one. The main thing you'd want is a facility or option that does its best for you or your loved one. With that, here are ten senior living options alternative to assisted living. As family and friend caregivers, we may be too burnt out to provide adequate care and may come to a point where we realize that we may not be the best caregivers for our aged adults. At such a point in time, as we are caring for our elderly parents, it is important to consider alternative senior care options so that we do not neglect our senior loved ones. It is important to be aware of the plethora of senior care and living options available, so that you may select the best option for your elderly loved one to age in place and grow older in a caring home.

2. Adult Day Care for Seniors

Also known as a day program, in comparison to assisted living, an adult day care near you may be rather inexpensive and may offer adequate care to any senior citizen under its care. Older adults get to experience a change of scenery, socialize with peers and relax, as caregivers help them get things in order. Whether your loved one needs mild or moderate care, activities are lined up during the day to keep him or her engaged. At the end of the day, they can then come back to their home to continue aging in place with their family members.

Types of Adult Daycare

  • Adult daycare centers for social activities that foster a community atmosphere. If you or an elderly loved one is mostly independent and have fewer interactions with others in a day, you will have a great time socializing and getting to connect with other members of your generational cohort.
  • Adult daycare centers for medical needs. Adult daycare is great for elderly people who need to be monitored because of certain chronic conditions like severe pain or chronic health conditions. The senior’s health condition is closely monitored, especially for signs that he or she may need further medical treatment.
  • Adult daycare centers for senior citizens with earlier stages of Alzheimer's disease who benefit from daily memory care services. Seniors with such conditions are helped with daily activities, particularly in navigating the day and taking their medications. Also, seniors with dementia have well-trained staff to look after them should they be confused about movements and locations.

Benefits of Adult Daycare

  • Adult daycare provides flexibility, accessibility, and affordability to seniors or their loved ones who are interested in a senior day program suitable for their needs. Caregivers also have time to relax, refresh, and focus on their own personal needs and aspects of their lives, while preparing for their aged parent to return at the end of the day.
  • Seniors have more chances to socialize with others and take part in daily elderly group activities.
  • Most senior care services are preventative and help seniors age in place as they progress well into their later years.

3. Convalescent Homes and Nursing Homes for Seniors

If you are looking for a short-term stay for yourself or a loved one, a convalescent home near you may be a nice option. Unlike assisted living homes, they provide rehabilitation services for seniors who are recovering from brain injuries, amputations, neurological conditions, stroke, Parkinson's disease, burns, or other medical conditions requiring rehabilitation services. Skilled nurses and other staff in convalescent homes provide this short-term help and, in most cases, such convalescent homes offer residents different types of therapy ranging from physical and speech to psychological and spiritual therapies and more. Furthermore, seniors in convalescent homes are often supported with activities of daily living by skilled nurses who help bathe, dress, and feed them.

Unlike assisted living facilities, nursing homes for seniors are facilities that offer full-time care to seniors who require it. Most times, this covers medical care for all of 24-hours which is usually unavailable at other facilities for seniors. Also, nursing homes are next in line after hospitals with most seniors that subscribe to them needing more attention. Due to serious issues a senior might have, a doctor's order is mandatory before he or she is admitted to any nursing home.  It is not uncommon to have seniors stay in a nursing home for a short period of time after being in a hospital, before they return home or transition into a long-term care senior living option, such as an assisted living facility.

What to Consider When Choosing a Convalescent Home for Your Loved One

  • Philosophy About the Elderly. What aspect of senior care is the convalescent home focused on, recognized for, and what is the extent they will go to in order to help seniors? Also, is there a schedule of activities lined up to keep seniors engaged?
  • The Cost of Convalescent Homes. Seniors are often rehabilitating and have medical reasons for being enrolled in a convalescent home, and their care needs could influence the convalescent home costs involved. A discussion with the management of the convalescent home will help you decide the best convalescent facility for your loved one that also aligns with your financial budget. Ask the convalescent home about cost increases if your elderly loved one requires additional support at a later point.
  • Proximity to Other Senior Care Facilities and Loved Ones. As a stay at a convalescent home is often temporary, consider the proximity to residential care homes to ease the senior’s care transition. It is also wise to consider a convalescent home that is located near family and friends so that the elderly loved one can enjoy frequent visits and continue to feel like an important member of their community back home.  

Cost of Nursing Homes and Convalescent Homes for Seniors

Since convalescent homes, such as nursing homes offer full-time medical care and rehabilitation services, they tend to be more expensive than assisted living facilities. The average cost a senior living in one will have to pay is over $7,500 per month for a shared room. For a private room, the cost jumps to over $8,500 per month on average nationwide.  

Benefits of Convalescent Care Facilities

  • Specialized rehabilitation care from clinical senior care experts to help seniors fully recover from health conditions.
  • Families are confident their loved ones are well looked after as they rehabilitate.
  • Rehabilitation care provided by an array of experts such as doctors, nurses, physicians, therapists, psychologists, pharmacists, nurses, and other important healthcare personnel.

4. Adult Foster Care Facilities

Adult foster care facilities provide a live-in home environment for seniors. They are surrounded by professional caregivers who look after them. One similarity adult foster care facilities bear with assisted living facilities is the fact that adult foster care homes do not provide on-site medical care to the elderly in their care. Also, most adult foster care facilities are positioned in residential areas with a small number of adults living together.

Furthermore, just like foster homes for youth, adult foster care homes have to be certified by the Department of Social Services in your state. These kinds of senior care facilities are great for adults who need some personal care in completing activities of daily living, like bathing and grooming, but also want to maintain some form of independence.

Adult foster care homes tend to be small in nature and are somewhat more affordable than other alternatives you may prefer for your elderly loved one to consider. With the right type of insurance and payment plans, paying for adult foster care homes should not be a hassle.

Benefits of Adult Foster Care Facilities

  • Daily help with activities of daily living, such as bathing and cleaning. However, the senior still enjoys his/her independence.
  • A home-like setting that helps the seniors adapt and socialize with one another.
  • Adult foster care homes are largely affordable particularly for families who cannot afford a larger more expensive senior care or assisted living facility.

5. Memory Care Facilities

Memory care facilities are created to offer extra care and support to elderly adults that have cognitive declines, such as those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Memory care facilities may be a unit of assisted living facilities or smaller than assisted living facilities if independent. Memory care facilities are centered around providing specialized care to seniors along with implementing safety measures to help elderly adults continue to live a comfortable and safe life. In order to do so, proper dementia care and memory stimulating activities are organized for seniors who are residents of a memory care unit that has 24-hour supervision. Further, residents are surrounded by professionals who ensure they do not wander to harmful places.

If your loved one has dementia, Alzheimer's disease, or any other cognitive issue, you can be comfortable with the fact that they will receive specialized memory care services from specialists trained for that unique purpose.

Costs of Memory Care

As a result of the specialized memory care that seniors receive, these memory care facilities are more expensive than assisted living facilities. If your loved one displays signs or symptoms, such as confusion, short-term memory, missing medications, loneliness, depression, and even frustration, then it may be the high time to consider specialized memory care. With figures set to rise, memory care will see more professionals dedicated to helping seniors live comfortably.

Benefits of Memory Care Units

With unique services that make memory care different from other senior living facilities, your loved one can experience the following benefits:

  • Services of memory care facilities are specific and are intended to support the elderly with cognitive conditions including Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
  • Social interactions that lead to relationships are fostered to help steer seniors away from depression, loneliness, and isolation.
  • Self-care practices of elderly adults are supported and improved, thus helping the elderly adults live better quality lives.

6. Independent Living Communities

These independent living communities are ideal for seniors who want to interact with their peers in a safe environment. Even if they may be unable to perform certain duties during their old age, they can move into independent living facilities that offer personal support including cleaning and housekeeping. The most important aspect of independent living communities is that seniors have an overwhelming say and great independence in regard to how they want to live in the independent senior living facilities. Independent living can have various forms and names, including 55+ communities, senior living apartments and retirement communities. If your elderly loved one needs independent senior housing, ensure the services, entertainment, and daily activities are suitable for the needs and preferences of your aged adult.

Cost of Independent Living Facilities

While both independent living and assisted living facilities have similarities, it is worth noting that independent living expenses tend to be more affordable. With rent and utilities forming the basic costs, seniors would only pay more if they choose certain add-ons and services. On the flip side, assisted living facilities tend to provide more support and care to residents and are thus more expensive due to the increased assisted services.

The means of payment also differ since most seniors pay out of their pockets for independent living. In addition, Medicaid, Medicare and other financial plans to cover expenses are not available for such independent living facilities, typically because they do not offer medical services to elderly residents.

Benefits of Independent Living

  • Independent living communities are cost-effective, with seniors typically only paying once a month for all utilities.
  • Seniors are more independent than residents who reside in assisted living facilities. However, help is provided on-demand.
  • Activities are hosted that provide entertainment and socialization options for seniors.

7. Home Care and Home Health Care Services

Many seniors or elderly adults prefer to age in place at home with caregivers attending to them. Rather than opt for an assisted living facility, care is provided to a senior based on the medical and daily needs they require. The older adult may also benefit from companion care services for support with socialization and daily needs. Home care enables the older adult to age in place in the presence of his or her family.

In addition, assisted care and skilled health care services sometimes form a combination which families use for their loved ones. Unlike assisted living facilities, home health care services may also include rehabilitation services and therapy. Home care and home health care are different but are sometimes mistaken for the same type of care due to the type of facility in which the care is provided. Home health care is unique because it refers to skilled medical services that begin with a written order from a doctor. With a discharge from the hospital, your loved one might still need some medical care and rehabilitation to manage the situation, hence the skilled medical services. Furthermore, aspects of this kind of treatment are covered by Medicaid and usually in-home therapy. The kind of care your loved one needs will be put into consideration by the doctor who gives the order. The key difference between the two is home health care services are mainly medical while home care often revolves around services like companionship, housekeeping, and medication remembrance. Thus, home health care services are more similar to the services provided by convalescent homes and contrast from the non-medical care provided by assisted living facilities. Home care is more similar to the non-medical care provided by assisted living facilities and contrasts from the medical and rehabilitation care provided by convalescent homes. In the case that your loved one does eventually prefer to transition into an assisted living facility or another senior care facility, then home-care services may have partnerships with other senior living facilities to enable a smooth transition. A  transition into such a senior care facility will enable the elderly adult to age in place along with other older adults who are similar in age. As a result, older adults will feel less lonely and isolated as there will be more opportunities for senior socialization.

The Cost of Home Care

As mentioned earlier, the needs of seniors who prefer home care differ from one senior to another. For home care, the rates are typically lower than other alternatives for seniors. But for home health care, you will have to pay higher, especially with skilled medical personnel there to attend to your medical needs. For instance, if your elderly loved one has limited mobility, you will need to find a caregiver that can come around to offer services in line with mobility needs and rehabilitation. It is important to ask the home care agency about their costs, the costs of skilled nursing care, and how the costs may fluctuate in the case that your elderly loved one requires more services at a later point, in the case that their healthcare condition progresses.

Benefits of Home Care

  • Seniors are offered services based on personal and medical needs.
  • Home comforts mean the seniors do not need time to become familiar with surroundings and they may continue to age in place.
  • Access to skilled health care based on professionally written orders.
  • Home environment for seniors to feel confident about.

8. Cooperative Housing for Seniors

If you have ever taken up a co-op option for an apartment, then you probably have an idea about the option of cooperative housing for seniors. For one, all residents have to be over the age of 55 with each having a share of the building as a partial owner. Basically, with everyone having a share to a part of the building, things are done together like a community that shares one goal. Whether that is organizing cleaning services or making crucial lifestyle decisions, all members of the cooperative community have a say in the final decision. Also, the seniors enjoy tax benefits very much as homeowners would. These cooperative houses have schedules of activities lined up to help seniors interact with their peers so that they do not feel isolated.

Cost of Senior Cooperative Housing

It is important to learn about the cooperative housing trends in your area to see how costs have increased or decreased over the years. It is also important to ask the 55+ cooperative housing community about the fees for amenities and maintenance (which may usually be monthly), aside from other fees.

Benefits of Cooperative Housing for Seniors

  • Socialization among seniors who live together in a safe environment for elderly adults.
  • Tax benefits and shared costs.

9. Continuing Care Retirement Facilities for Seniors

Continuing care retirement facilities are senior retirement communities created to help seniors or retirees easily transition from one place to another as their daily needs change. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) are quite popular and offer an array of senior care services and facilities that are not limited by geography. For example, if your loved one starts off in an independent living facility, he or she can transition to a memory care facility if the need arises.

Cost of Living in a CCRC

A CCRC commands quite the cost and not everyone can afford to live in one. You will have to pay the initial expenses such as the entrance fee and the buy-in some facilities demand, coupled with the fees for the necessary health level care. Research about the costs of your local CCRC to help you plan ahead and select the CCRC that is best for you.

Benefits of continuing care retirement communities

  • Community care retirement settings help seniors and elderly adults build connections and socialize. Families can also stay together. Elderly couples with different care needs can live in the same community.
  • CCRCs help seniors smoothly transition into assisted care at assisted living facilities.
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