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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 8/31/2006

Alternative Housing For Seniors

Now that you ve gotten older the house may seem much more of a burden than it used to be. You re thinking about downsizing, but where will you go? You re still in good health, so a nursing home isn t really an option. How about moving to a smaller residence in a retirement community? If you need a bit more help, an assisted living center is another option.

If you are relatively healthy and can take care of yourself with ease, then moving to a retirement community might be for you. In the past decade, thousands of retirement communities have been built across the country. Price and size varies according to the amenities offered.

Some communities, for example, may consist of apartments and base your rent on your fixed income, whereas others may offer houses ranging in price from $130,000 to $150,000, with access to tennis courts, golf courses and more. Built with the senior in mind, many of the homes in retirement communities are nearly maintenance-free, with a lawn care service on site. In addition, most retirement communities have a recreational center as well as access to public transportation.

If you are relatively healthy but have trouble performing some of the activities of daily living, an assisted living community may be the better choice for you. Licensed by the state in which you reside, assisted living communities are designed for seniors who need regular help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, walking and taking medication, but who do not need a nursing facility. Most assisted living communities consist of small apartments, each with an emergency call support system supported by around-the-clock staff. Many also provide three meals a day in a common dining room, housekeeping and laundry services, transportation, exercise programs and recreational activities.

Assisted living can be expensive, with prices ranging from $3,000 to $4,000 per month. Still for many, the option is better than the alternative, a nursing home. In some communities, the basic fee covers all of the services offered; in others, the basic fee covers a limited number of services with other services available for an additional fee. Most assisted living communities rent their units, so residents are free to leave on rather short notice if their health should deteriorate. Some may even have a nursing home on site.

Today, a new type of assisted living community is cropping up. These communities mix senior residents with younger residents, such as single mothers and college students, giving seniors the chance to be mentors. In this type of community, seniors provide day care and mentoring, while families and students help seniors with everyday activities, like cleaning house, doing the laundry and going grocery shopping. Most communities are supported by private contributions and city, state and federal grants. Rent is usually low, and all residents must promise to do their part. Many seniors prefer this type of housing, as they feel needed and part of a family.

Housing for seniors no longer extends just to nursing homes. Today s seniors have a variety of options to choose from, and finding them is easier than ever. Perusing your local Yellow Pages or searching for retirement or assisted living communities on the Internet will provide a multitude of options.

As with a nursing home, however, it is best to check out the facilities for yourself. Take a family member along with you, talk to the residents at the facility, ask the staff questions and always seek referrals. These are your golden years; you don t want to spend them moving from one place to another.



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