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Senior Living Options for Your Parent

Article4_SeniorLivingOptionsThere are more senior living options than ever. How do you and your parent choose the one that’s right?

Often, the type of care your parent needs will lead you to the appropriate senior living setting. Other factors will be budget, proximity to care, and the features and services that are most important to her.

Begin the journey by familiarizing yourself with the retirement housing options that are available.

Independent Living

What is independent living?

Independent living can refer to an apartment or condo within an active retiree community. In this setting, your parent will live in a residence with other seniors, often with no additional services other than property maintenance.

Independent residences in Life Plan Communities—also known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities or CCRCs—offer meal plans, activities, and support services for seniors. They offer access to higher levels of residential care, enabling your parent to move with as little disruption as possible should her medical needs change. Rental communities for seniors also offer independent living, with a range of services and housing options that vary per community. These, too, offer a continuum of care in many cases.

Who this might benefit: Independent living may be ideal if your mother has too much space to maintain or is becoming isolated at home.

Cost of independent living: The cost of your mother’s residence will depend on the type of residence (Life Plan Community or rental) and the types of extra services she wishes to purchase.

Things to consider: Decide what recreational and wellness amenities your parent wants, and learn how the community can help her maintain her independent lifestyle.

Assisted Living

What is assisted living?

Assisted living communities offer support with daily tasks, such as meals, personal care, housekeeping, and medication management. It can also encompass memory care for seniors with dementia or other cognitive impairments.

Who this might benefit: Your mother might not need intense medical care, but you’ve noticed that she struggles to get dressed, cook, or drive.

Cost of assisted living: Assisted living typically covers monthly rent and services as needed. According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly cost is $3,600.

Things to consider: If your mother’s decline has been gradual, you and she may not have realized that she would benefit from assisted living. Watch for atypical behaviors—“Mom never misses lunch!”—or talk to a geriatric specialist to learn more.

Memory Care

What is memory care?

Memory care residences provide support similar to assisted living communities, but also offer specialized staff, memory-based programming, and a secure environment.

Who this might benefit: If your aging parent suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, the added security of a memory care unit can provide safety for her—and peace of mind for your family.

Cost of memory care: According to the Shriver Report, memory care costs roughly $5,000 per month.

Things to consider: Memory care in a community setting often can reduce the incidences of emergencies, violent behavior, and isolation in those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Nursing Home Care

What is nursing home care?

A nursing home has a full-time staff of medical professionals to care for your parent.

Who this might benefit: Someone who needs 24-hour medical care. If your mother is very ill, extremely frail, or immobile, a nursing home facility is likely the safest option for her. Her physician or a geriatric specialist can help you assess her needs.

Cost of nursing home care: Nursing home care costs an average of $250 per day for a private room, per the Genworth survey. If your parent qualifies for nursing home care but cannot afford it, Medicaid may be an option.

Things to consider: You likely will know if your parent needs round-the-clock care. At this point, your choice often will be between nursing home or in-home nursing care, which is roughly $65 per hour.

In-Home Care

What is in-home care?

You can hire professionals to take care of your mother’s needs at home. This could be custodial care, such as housekeeping and meal preparation, or 24-hour medical care.

Who this might benefit: Seniors who prefer to stay home or live with a family member.

Cost of in-home care: The Genworth survey reports that most in-home services are roughly $20 an hour.

Things to consider: The cost of in-home care is comparable to community living, but living at home can be isolating for your parent. This is important to consider, as isolation is linked to depression and cognitive decline.

Want to learn more? Contact the senior living experts at Life Care Services with your questions.

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