Assessing your senior housing needs
When evaluating you or your loved one’s senior housing needs, consider the following issues:
- Level of Care. No one can predict the future. However, if you or a loved one has a chronic medical condition that is expected to worsen over time, it’s especially important to think about how you/they will handle health and mobility problems. What are common complications of the health condition, and how will you/they handle them? Are you or your loved one already at the point where you need daily help?
- Location and accessibility. Even if you or your loved one is completely independent at this time, circumstances can change. It pays to think a little about your current location and accessibility of your current home. For example, how far is your loved one’s home from shopping, medical facilities, or other services? If you or your loved one can no longer drive, what kind of transportation access will you/they have? Can the home be easily modified? Does it have a lot of steps or a steep hill to navigate? Is there a large yard that needs to be maintained?
- Social support. How easy is it for you or your loved one to visit friends, neighbors, or engage in hobbies? If it becomes difficult or impossible for you or your loved one to leave your home, a sense of isolation and depression can rapidly set in.
- Caregiving Support. You will want to consider housing where current and future needs can be met. Even if family members can commit to caregiving, they might not be able to fill in all the gaps if physical and medical needs become extreme. The more forethought given to this, the better the resulting quality of life will be.
- Finances. Making a budget with anticipated expenses can help in weighing the pros and cons of each option. Some senior housing options like assisted living can be expensive, but extensive in-home help can also rapidly mount in cost, especially at higher levels of care and live-in or 24-hour coverage. Some of the costs of long-term care can be off-set by the purchase of insurance.