Many of today's seniors are currently at a crossroads concerning remaining in their home and moving to an assisted living retirement community, Advances in medical care combined with increased awareness of the impact lifestyle choices have on general health have created a higher life expectancy among today's senior generation than at any other point in recorded history -- and this means that more seniors are choosing to age in place for as long as possible. Making the decision between aging in place can be difficult, and everyone's personal situation is unique. However, there are several guidelines that can make the decision easier. Following are three questions you should ask if you or a senior loved one is in the process of grappling with the dilemma of whether to move to an assisted living community or remain where they are.
Is a Social Network Accessible?
Isolation can be one of the biggest problems for senior citizens who are living alone. One of the main advantages of assisted living communities is that they provide a built-in social network. However, it is nonetheless possible to maintain an active social life while aging in place -- it just depends on having access to social activities as well as a good local support network of family, neighbors, and friends. If these things are absent, living in a good assisted living facility may be the better option.
Is In-Home Medical Care Available?
The services of a professional in-home medical care provider can be invaluable to seniors no matter where they live, but some areas, such as certain rural communities, may be out of their range, so be sure to check on availability before making a final decision on which living situation is the best choice. Even if no medical assistance is necessary at this point, it could become so in the future, so it's better to be prepared than to scramble for services when they're needed.
You will also need to consider the distance to local hospitals and clinics -- if an accident or illness occurs, it's important to be able to access assistance in a timely fashion.
Is the House Safe for Seniors?
Most homes will need some renovations in order to provide a senior-friendly environment -- for instance, adding safety bars to showers and bathtubs is standard procedure when adding safety features to a home. However, if the house is multi-leveled, only has upstairs bedrooms, or is otherwise challenging to navigate, it may be time to seriously consider a retirement community.