In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy clicks her red shoes together three times, closes her eyes and repeatedly says, “There’s no place like home,” before she awakens from her dream in her home in Kansas.
The vast majority of senior adults agree with her. Not about Kansas necessarily, but many want to remain in their homes for as long as possible before moving to a senior living community. It’s called aging in place, and it works well if the seniors can manage life safely in the home.
Of course, another popular option is moving to an independent retirement living community, where older adults have their own apartment, and can live with just the right mix of services and amenities they require, with the freedom to enjoy their lives.
So how is one supposed to choose?
What are the Advantages of Home?
Home is a familiar place. You know how everything works there, and you can count on finding things just where you always put them.
Memories are thick in a home, and many people feel as if they decide to leave it, they will leave a part of themselves behind. Your children grew up there; you celebrated countless holidays and special moments there. It’s where your family worked together, played together, wept and laughed together.
Chances are the home is paid for, your friends are close by, and you are familiar with the area.
What are the Advantages of a Senior Living Community?
Living in an independent living community includes:
- Home maintenance and housekeeping
- Social contacts and companionship
- Making new friends
- Fun activities and celebrations
- Transportation services
- Medical supervision
- Emergency assistance
- Safety and security
- Volunteer opportunities
- Assistance with everyday tasks
- Community dining
- Exercise classes
You get to choose and pay only for the services you need or want. Also, you have the option to travel and leave your independent living home behind without worrying about its upkeep while you are gone.
How do You Decide?
As we age, there is an inevitable decline in our physical and cognitive abilities. At first, a senior may do well on his or her own, then later need the assistance of family members or home care services. Eventually, household chores, maintenance, medication management, and just moving about the home become more difficult. Exercise and good nutrition may be increasingly ignored. What was once a safe place to live becomes more hazardous: stair climbing is a challenge due to balance problems, and driving a car becomes more dangerous as reflexes, vision and navigational skills ebb.
Seniors may find themselves becoming more isolated in their homes. They stop going out, socializing, exploring and become withdrawn. They are living at home but they may not be living full lives.
It’s important to consider some questions in discussions between seniors and their family members:
- Can family or friends reach you in case of an emergency?
- Do you have access to senior organization and social activities?
- Is your home still physically safe for you?
- If you can no longer drive, is there someone available to transport you?
- Is your housekeeping and home maintenance still keeping up?
- Can you still manage your medications and get to your doctor’s appointments?
- Are you living in a safe neighborhood?
- Can you afford the home care services you may need in the future?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” the best choice could be an independent living community. The key is to start thinking about the options ahead of time, before the challenges of living at home present themselves and force the need for rushed decisions. This provides the opportunity to explore various senior living communities and meet the staff and residents who work and live there.
There are benefits to living at home as well as making the move to an independent living community. When you feel your senior loved one is ready for the move to an independent living community, contact us to see how we can best care for you and provide what you need.