Whether your search for senior housing is prompted by a serious medical condition or the desire for a lifestyle change, finding the right place to live can be stressful and challenging for both you and your family. However, the earlier you assess your current needs and how those needs may evolve over time, the more choices and control you'll have. Many people often confuse the two, but there are actually a number of important differences between a care home and job in nursing home. Sometimes nursing homes jobs can differ from those in a care home.
What is senior housing?
Aging is a time of adaptation and change, and planning your future housing needs is an important part of ensuring that you continue to thrive as you get older. Of course, every older adult is different, so the senior housing choice that's right for one person may not be suitable for you. The key to making the best choice is to match your housing with your lifestyle, health, and financial needs. This may mean modifying your own home to make it safer and more comfortable, or it could mean moving to a housing facility with more support and social options available on site. It could even involve enrolling in a network of like-minded people to share specialized services, or moving to a retirement community, an apartment building where the majority of tenants are over the age of 65, or even a nursing home.
When deciding on the senior housing plan that's right for you, it's important to consider not only the needs you have now but also those you may have in the future:
As you age, you may need some help with physical needs, including activities of daily living. You or a loved one may also need increasing help with medical needs.
Home maintenance. If you're living alone, your current home may become too difficult or too expensive to maintain. You may have health problems that make it hard to manage tasks such as housework and yard maintenance that you once took for granted.
Social and emotional needs. You may no longer be able to continue driving or have access to public transportation in order to meet up with family and friends.
Financial needs. Modifying your home and long-term care can both be expensive, so balancing the care you need with where you want to live requires careful evaluation of your budget.
Preparing yourself for change.
Whether you're considering home care services or relocating to a retirement home, planning your future housing needs often runs hand-in-hand with facing up to some loss in your level of independence Understandably, the prospect of losing independence can be overwhelming for many older adults. It can bring with it feelings of shame, embarrassment, fear, confusion, and anger.
And there's nothing to be ashamed about in admitting you need more help than you used to. We've all had to rely on others at some point during our adult lives, be it for help at home, work or vehicle repairs, legal or professional services, or simply moral support.
Coming to terms with changes in your level of independence
It's normal to feel confused, vulnerable, or even angry when you realize you can't do the things you used to be able to do. You may feel guilty at the prospect of being a burden to family and friends, or yearn for the way things used to be. By acknowledging these feelings and keeping your mind open to new ways to make life easier, you'll not only cope with your change in situation better but may also be able to prolong other aspects of your independence for longer.
Communicate your needs with family and loved ones. It's important to communicate with family members your plans and wishes, and listen to their concerns. Long distance family members might think it's better for you move close by so that they can better coordinate your care. However, you might not want to uproot yourself from your community and friends. Similarly, just because you have family close by does not automatically mean they will be able to help with all your needs. They may also be balancing work, their own children, or other commitments. Clear communication from the outset can help avoid misunderstandings or unrealistic assumptions.
Be patient with yourself. Losses are a normal part of aging and losing your independence is not a sign of weakness. Allow yourself to feel sad or frustrated about changes in your housing situation or other aspects of your life without beating yourself up or labeling yourself a failure.
Your loved ones may offer suggestions about senior housing options or other ways to make your life easier. Sometimes, new experiences and situations can lead to you developing new friendships or finding new interests you 'd never considered before.
Find a way of accepting help that makes you comfortable. It can be tough to strike a balance between accepting help and maintaining as much of your independence as possible. Volunteer your time to help or teach others, while at the same time expanding your own social network.
Helping a loved one cope with a loss of independence.
It's painful to see a loved one struggling to maintain their home or themselves. Maybe clothes are not as clean as they used to be or the house is getting increasingly messy. Or maybe your loved one is experiencing frequent falls or memory lapses such as leaving the stove on or the door unlocked. While you can't force a loved one to accept help or move home, unless they are a danger to themselves or others, you can provide them with information and reassurance. Don't take it on alone. Brainstorm with other family and friends and talk with your loved one's medical team. Sometimes a senior will listen more to a doctor, care manager, or other impartial party.
Explain how care may prolong independence. Accepting some assistance now may help your loved one remain in his or her home for as long as possible. Or if your loved one considers an assisted living facility now, for example, it may negate the need for a nursing home later on.
Help your loved one cope with the loss of independence. Encourage your loved one to stay active, maintain relationships with friends and family, and to keep an open mind about new interests, such as trying a day care facility.
Suggest a trial run for home care services or other changes to give your loved one a greater sense of control over his or her situation. A trial run let's your loved one have the chance to experience the benefits of assistance or change in living situation before having to commit to anything long-term.
There are only 24 hours in a day, and you need to be able to balance your own health, family, work, and finances. It means you care enough about your loved one's health and safety to realize when the responsibility is too great. Educate yourself about the resources that can help your loved one, and see if other family members can also help.
What are your senior housing options?
The term "assisted living" can mean one thing in one state or country and something slightly different elsewhere. In general, the different types of senior housing vary according to the amount of care provided for activities of daily living and for medical care.
Educate yourself about the resources that can help your loved one, and see if other family members can also help.
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