Choosing a Senior Community

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As people age, they often experience a lot of different challenges associated with their bodies. It becomes increasingly difficult to bounce back from injuries and illness as your body weakens with age. Often times they find that their bodies can no longer keep up with the things that they used to and sometimes suffer significant injuries resulting to their age. When a significant injury occurs, such as a broken hip or shoulder, it is important for an elderly person to obtain assistance and monitoring in a safe and secure setting.

Recently, there has been a marked increase in public advertisements for retirement venues local to one's community or across country. On the internet many sites like us offer articles that look at the various options available to seniors under the category of senior living. These help one understand how to choose a senior community by knowing that it offers many different facets.

The choice of where to look is determined by several factors including: abilities, age, financial status, physique, interests, level of dependence, known disabilities, etc. The following are the primary four types of senior living you will want to consider when choosing a senior living facility. 

Independent Living

If you are able to take care of yourself without any outside assistance, you qualify for independent living. With independent living, you live among a senior community, but you own your home and are responsible for taking care of everything without the assistance from a caregiver. This means you have total freedom in setting your schedule. There are normally multiple types of facilities located throughout the community, such as laundry, transportation or restaurants. In most cases, the community is located near a health center.

Assisted Living

In an assisted living community, you still own your home, but you receive limited assistance from a caregiver. Your caregiver does not live with you in an assisted living community. Normally, a caregiver comes by daily, but depending on your needs, you may only see a caregiver a few times throughout the week. Some tasks a caregiver may help with include preparing meals or administering medication. Beyond these tasks, you are responsible for taking care of your home and determining your schedule.

Assisted living communities offer many of the amenities found with independent living. In some cases, the community may employ health staff in case of emergencies, but this is generally done on a part time basis.

Home Care

Home care offers support for seniors who are unable to take care of themselves without assistance from a caregiver. Unlike with a nursing home, the caregiver does not stay all day, but part of your schedule is dictated by when the caregiver is available. The biggest difference between home care and a nursing home is how much freedom you have. With a nursing home, everything is decided for you, but with home care, you retain most of your independence while receiving help with the tasks you can no longer perform on your own.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are meant for seniors who are unable to take care of themselves due to a disability or illness. This includes seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s, who must be monitored throughout the day. Nursing homes have the least freedom of all the senior communities, but it provides the best level of care. Scheduling is largely decided by the staff. Because you receive around the clock care, nursing homes are often the most expensive senior community. However, many insurance plans, including Medicare or Medicaid greatly reduce these costs.

Finding an Aging Community

Aging community is a recent term that has emerged in senior living. This describes a small sector of "fitbit" seniors (20% according to the Brookings Institute) who live in urban areas where they can walk or use transit to get to most things needed. Phoenix, West Asheville, NC and Welsley near Boston are three locations offering such accommodations.

We at InfoForSeniorLiving want to help you find housing you'll love for a long time. Check out our Senior Apartment Search Guide where we offer a few more tips to help you start your senior apartment search. It also includes a few different senior living communities located around the country that you may consider.

Through sites such as the ones listed below, you can view photos of prospective senior living facilities and retirement communities and ask for floor plans and more information.

Questions to Ask

There are many senior communities to choose from. If you are having trouble narrowing down your selection, there are a few questions to ask. First, you must ask the practical questions. This includes whether you need help from a caregiver and what can you afford. If you have any medical conditions, it is important to ask how close the facility is to healthcare services. Most senior communities are located near a doctor’s office or even a hospital, but if you require a specialist, this may not be enough.

Another question to ask is how large is the community. Senior communities greatly range in sizes, with some only consisting of a handful of other seniors, while others include up to 30 or 40 seniors. In addition to size, consider what style of home you are comfortable in. If you are used to living in a home, moving into an apartment is a big change.

Finally, ask what the rules are for the community. Independent living communities tend to have few restrictions, but assisted living or home care facilities may have greater restrictions. For example, there may be set hours where visitors are allowed. If you rely on local services for transportation, it may become unavailable after a certain hour. Laundry facilities might close in the evening as well.