People turning 65 have a 70 percent chance of needing some form of long-term care service or support at some point. There are more than 22,000 senior living properties in the U.S. With so many options, you can find the best choice for your needs.
Just because you need elderly care doesn’t mean you’re done living. If it’s time to choose a senior living option, check out the 7 questions you should ask.
1. How Much Can You Afford?
Senior living can be expensive, and knowing what you can afford is the first step before finding any kind of care.
The average assisted living facility in the U.S. costs around $48,000 a year while a semi-private nursing home run averages $89,000 annually. These costs include your living expenses like your room, meals, and other services.
You can figure out what you can afford by first figuring how much it will cost to stay in your home. Even if your mortgage is paid off, you may still have to make renovations to stay in your house. You also need to consider all other costs like groceries, entertainment, taxes, utilities, and entertainment.
You will also have to figure out any medical or in-home health care expenses. You can break each of these down monthly to see how they compare. Of course, the averages above, vary greatly depending on where you live and if you want a facility in the city versus in a more rural area.
Now it’s time to look at your financial resources. You need a budget to determine what you can afford monthly and look at facilities within your budget.
2. How Much Care Do You Need?
Now you need to think about what services and care you really need. There are a variety of options depending on the amount of care you need. Here are some general definitions of senior living options based on care.
Independent senior living and active adult communities are great options if you want to get away from the burden of homeownership, but don’t need a lot of care. If you can take complete care of yourself, these communities maintain your housing and offer activities to make friends, so you can enjoy worry-free living.
Assisted living communities offer some assistance with daily activities. These facilities help seniors live more independently buy also help with bathing, medication management, and other grooming activities.
Assisted living facilities are a great option for those who just need a small amount of care or have some mobility issues that make it difficult to live at home.
Skilled nursing facilities provide continuous care for health issues that are more complex and not manageable at home or even an assisted living facility. Skilled nursing facilities provide around the clock medical care.
3. What Is the Continuum of Available Medical Care?
You should ask each senior care facility how they care for all your needs for now and in the future. This includes cognitive and emotional needs.
You should ask the facility if you will need to move to another location if your needs change. Also, you want to find out what daily needs these facilities help with along with medication management.
4. What Are the Accommodations Like?
You will be living here, so you want to make sure you are comfortable. Check all the living quarters and find out about how much privacy you get. You should also find out what you can bring to this facility to make it feel like home.
What is the facility’s visitation policy? You should know how often you will be checked on. You want to make sure you feel comfortable and safe.
Most communities have a range of living arrangements in multiple sizes and locations. Make sure you can tour a layout that is the same as what you need.
Get measurements, so you can confirm all of your belongings fit comfortably, which means you will have to learn how to eliminate clutter in a smaller place.
Do you have to pay for any additional utilities like internet, cable, or emergency call systems? Read more on how to make this living transition easier and things you should consider.
5. Food Options
If you are excited to skip cooking, senior living facilities will do the work for you.
Back in the day, these senior living facilities only offered meals at certain times, but now some communities offer all-day dining services to fit your hunger cycle. Be sure you sample the food on your visit.
Some senior communities also have various venues like cafes, pubs, and formal dining centers. If you have several meal options available, you not get so bored with the average meal.
If you have special dietary needs like low-sodium or vegetarian, ask how the community can accommodate your diet restrictions.
You should also make sure the food staff works with a nutritionist to help prepare balanced, healthy meals.
6. What Activities are Available?
No one wants to be bored and this is why seniors often look to move out of their homes. Some seniors can’t drive, so having activities to socialize without driving is very appealing.
Find out what activities the senior living community offers both on-site and off-site. You want to make sure there are options you enjoy. You are never too old to learn, play, and socialize.
7. What About Transportation?
If you want to go somewhere, do you need a car or is there transportation available? Most communities offer transportation within a certain radius.
There may also be regularly scheduled transportation for religious services, doctor visits, or other community outings like a museum, theater, or restaurant. Check if there are any additional fees.
Deciding on Your Senior Living Option
There is a lot to consider when you are deciding on a senior living option. Be sure you do your research, which you have started by reading this article.
Before you visit facilities, set goals for your daily life expectations and what you want out of a living facility. Also, talk to your doctor and see if he or she thinks you need additional medical care. You should also talk to your financial planner to determine if you can afford your options comfortably.
It’s time to live your life to it’s fullest. Check out our site for other advice to enjoy your senior years like this article on science-backed senior health tips.