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Senior Home Care: Should You Remain at Home or Consider Assisted Living?

Senior Home Care: Should You Remain at Home or Consider Assisted Living?


As the years tick by, you need to think more about what your future care will look like. Would you prefer (and are you able) to remain at home, or is an assisted living facility the best option? Whether you choose to downsize your home, modify your home, or move to an assisted living facility, the following info will help you weigh your options.


Downsizing Your Home


Look for Senior-Friendly Homes

If you decide you’d like to remain in your home, you might consider downsizing to make upkeep easier, as well as lower your mortgage and minimize unused space. As you search, opt for one-story homes with zero or no-step entry, as well as cream-puff properties, to avoid spending a fortune on repairs and updates. Be sure to choose a location with plenty of senior-friendly activities to keep you active and engaged in the community. Talk to a local realtor and research home prices (the median listing price in Troy is $335,000).


Explore Your Financing Options

Buying a home isn’t cheap, especially when you factor in a mortgage, but you have financing options. While there is the standard mortgage, it’s worth looking into a reverse mortgage. Available to seniors age 62 and up, the lender gives you a monthly check with the bank owning the home at the end of the term. You might also inquire about a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), and VA loans.


Modifying Your Home


Make Necessary Modifications

Should you decide to stay in your home, you’ll need to make home modifications to be able to safely age in place. Make changes such as additional lighting, non-slip flooring, grab bars, adding a walk-in tub, widening doorways, and installing a ramp and/or stair lift. Keep in mind that the average cost for aging-in-place remodeling is $9,000 depending on what you do, so budget accordingly.


Know When It’s Time to Move

Although you might prefer to live in your home, there may come a time when it is no longer safe. Make sure you and your loved one are aware of the warning signs that it may be time to consider another living situation. Signs include difficulty taking care of the house, trouble driving, neglected personal hygiene, weight loss, forgetfulness, and general anxiety about being home alone.


Moving to Assisted Living


Finding the Right Fit

Many seniors are confused about what assisted living entails. An assisted living facility is for those who need basic assistance with activities of daily living — such as bathing, dressing, mobility, medications, and meals — but still want the self-sufficiency and freedom that come with living in a room similar to a studio or one-bedroom apartment. There are plenty of available facilities to provide both the care and independence you desire, so make sure to schedule several tours so you can find the best fit for your care needs.


Paying for Care

As the numbers above point out, assisted living is pricey, so you’ll want to explore all your payment options. Paying out of pocket is an option, but it isn’t the only one. If you or your spouse are a veteran, you might be eligible for the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Pension, which is a program that helps pay for assisted living. If you qualify for Medicaid, you may be able to receive assistance there as well. Also, look into non-profit options, such as the Area Agency for Aging or Eldercare.gov, or seek assistance from family members.

As you get older, your wants, needs, and abilities can change suddenly, so it is best to have some sort of plan in place for your future care. If you want to live at home, decide whether you should downsize or modify your current home to age in place. Consider assisted living as an option, too, even if you do choose to stay at home for the time being. Remember, every situation is different, so choose the option that leaves you feeling safe, secure, and content.


Harry Cline | info@newcaregiver.org

newcaregiver.org

The New Caregiver’s Comprehensive Resource: Advice, Tips, and Solutions from Around the Web


Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.

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