by: Tehila Mörtl
Over the past several weeks we have received a number of inquiries regarding various aspects of moving for seniors prompting me to write what will be a fifteen part series of Blogs regarding the subject. As I begin my research on moving for seniors, my goal is to locate free information which can be summarized rather than have our readers spend additional monies, unnecessarily for that which can be found for gratis online. Therefore, please allow me to share with you the following descriptions on types of senior living available for consideration as first, one must ask, what is the most appropriate type of housing for an elder as there are a number to choose from depending on one’s needs.
Independent Living – For those who can care for themselves and whose goal is to remain active and social. Typically this consists of condominiums or apartments designated for seniors who range in age anywhere from 55 to 65 and up.
In this type of environment one might find group features offering gathering rooms, recreational activities, social get-togethers and prepared meals. Independent living is most appropriate for individuals who are mobile and drawn to interaction with others and socializing. From a financial perspective, these types of homes are rented on a month-to-month basis.
Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) – Continuing care retirement are communities which provide what is referred to as a “continuum of care”. CCRC’s can typically be found in the same communities that offer independent and assisted living; as well as, services of skilled nursing. The goal of this type of “life care community” is to ensure an individual a permanent residential environment, allowing him or her guaranteed, consistent housing so that they maintain friendships and remain near family. Acceptance into such a community requires seniors to meet specific health and financial standards and often entails a substantial entry fee or purchase amount above what one pays monthly.
Assisted Living – Assisted living communities vary in what is offered; however, typically include not only residential housing but also offer varying levels of personalized services (i.e. monitoring medication, assistance with daily activities including housekeeping and personal care. If one is dependent on skilled medical care though, assisted living typically does not meet these types of needs. Many such communities also offer various activities, social endeavors and perhaps even some benefits found in independent living. Following an initial entry fee, assisted living is usually on a month-to-month basis.
Skilled Nursing – Skilled nursing homes, sometimes referred to as convalescent homes or rehabilitation facilities, are licensed by the State Department of Public Health and should the need arise, include life care community services. Financial consideration: Many skilled nursing homes do accept Medicare, Medi-Cal or Medicaid.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care – I can remember when my spouse and I were first married. Working in brain research, primarily with Alzheimer’s patients, he often spoke of the challenges families faced securing residential care, outside the home, for these patients. Fortunately today, availability is vastly different.
Many senior communities include a safe and secure atmosphere, with specialized trained staff and distinctively designed programs that meet the unique needs of patients with Alzheimer’s and associated memory disorders. Added to these within the past years, there are even those which offer separate homes devoted entirely to seniors with memory disturbances.
Residential Care or Board & Care – Typically a single-family type home, limited to six or less residents. Such family style homes are licensed to provide a close, supportive setting which also includes personal assistance and care. Some specialized services offered can include care for individuals with specific needs such as diabetes, dementia or those who are unable to get around on their own.
Affordable or Subsidized Housing – For an elder who is capable of living a more independent lifestyle; including meal preparation, cleaning and arranging for their own transportation, the federal HUD program and private organizations offer funding for varied forms of senior housing. To qualify one is required to demonstrate that his or her assets and/or income are less than that which is typical to the area with restrictions varying by facility and county. While wait lists can range from a few months to a few years, these types of monthly rentals can qualify for underwriting which can lower the rate to 30% of one’s net income.
What to consider when selecting the most suitable housing for your elder:
A number of considerations must be made when deciding on the best type of senior home. First one must consider their elder’s preferences; in addition to, how their needs are likely to change.
- Finances – In moving for seniors, it is important to review your elder’s income and assets, keeping in mind what services are provided by the homes of their choice (i.e. personal assistance, meal preparation, healthcare, transportation).
- Health status – What is your elder’s current health status and do you foresee their requiring additional help or greater care in the future? As we’ve discussed, many senior housing communities do offer various levels of care.
- Locale – Some prefer living within the city while others find the quiet of the suburbs more inviting. Another important consideration is the proximity of family, friends, medical care providers, place of worship and availability of social activities.
Whether you are ready to move as quickly as possible or you are just starting to think about this as an option, we encourage you to give us a call at 646-820-9202 and speak with one of our senior care consultants. They will be able to assist you with making all the necessary arrangements and answer any questions you might have to begin the process. Most of the services we provide for our elderly clients and their families are completely free since we work on referral basis with firms we trust. If you are in NYC, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island or the Bronx please get in touch with us to learn how we can help you today.