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Strategies for Making a Decision You're Comfortable With

by Elizabeth Weiss McGolerick

Talk to most adult children who are researching senior housing options on behalf of or with their parent(s), and they'll most likely say it's confusing at best. Now that you're facing the many options, get a head start by learning the basics about Continuing Care retirement communities (CCRC), Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Home Care. Once you'll do, you'll be better prepared to determine the degree of care your loved one needs.

If your loved one is an "active" senior, consider: Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) or Independent Living
In continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), independent and active lifestyles are maximized for as long as possible. While financial security is a must to gain entrance to a facility and keep up with monthly fees, CCRCs are in demand because of their comprehensive care guarantee. Residents have peace of mind that, should their health needs change, their CCRC contract will enable them to move to other living facilities within the community that will ensure the level of care that is needed.

"When a facility offers a continuum of care, each resident can trust that they will be taken care of no matter what," says Jeanne Chitty, former director of resident services for Brandon Oaks, a premier retirement community in Roanoke, VA. "People decline at different rates and for different reasons," says Chitty. "In a CCRC, residents never have to worry that they'll be alone. They have a whole spectrum of care at their fingertips," he says, from rehabilitation services to Assisted Living to nursing care.

So why would someone choose independent living when they're in good health and have a home already? "Parents don't need to deal with the upkeep of a house and they're looking for a more country club lifestyle," Chitty explains. CCRCs are not unlike the experience of living in a college community. "In a CCRC, residents are provided with everything you can possibly think of. Regardless of your condition, you can get around every single hour of the day." From cocktail parties to lectures, dances to seminars, residents are encouraged to mingle, remain active, get involved, and feel at home.

If your loved one needs assistance with daily activities, consider: Assisted Living or Home Care
"Assisted living is between independent living and skilled nursing care. It focuses on independence, not dependence," says Nicole Twoey-Cieslewicz, a licensed registered occupational therapist. People who choose assisted living can expect the facility to provide support with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, cooking, housekeeping, taking medicine, and getting around, Twoey-Cieslewicz explains. Help is available on a more skilled level, but residents of an assisted living community stay in control of their own lives and the activities in which they participate. Assisted living facilities can be found as part of a CCRC or nursing home, or they may exist as stand alone properties.

For caretakers whose loved ones would prefer to stay in the comfort of their own home, there is home care. Patients retain their independence, while skilled home care workers come directly to their home for assistance on various levels. Health and social services are available in the form of aid with ADLs, but also for those disabled, in recovery, or chronically or terminally ill who require medical or therapeutic treatment.

Making the Decision
Senior housing is financially taxing and, in some situations, private pay is the only option. (See "Understanding and Managing Long-Term Care Costs" for more information.) There are also emotional and logistical factors. "The difficulty is downsizing. It's hard for people to give up their possessions. It's not a clear-cut manner in which they emerge from their former lifestyle," says Chitty.

"As people live longer, there is more of a chance they will need continuing long-term care. You have to consider where you feel is most appropriate for your parents to live when they get older," says Twoey-Cieslewicz. "Can they take care of themselves? Do they need a little assistance in the home? Or do they need 100 percent assistance and 24-hour nursing care?"

While senior housing communities do everything they can to help residents with their transitions, it's important for adult children to remember that ultimately, they're trying to do what's best for their parent.

"As a caregiver, you can't get angry," says Chitty. "People, in some cases, are dealing with a loss of dignity. It's our job to help them age with grace."

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If you need more information about "Strategies for Making a Decision You're Comfortable With" please call 866-683-4772 to speak to a senior care professional. Facebook | del.icio.us | Digg


All of these facilities are beautiful and it would be wonderful if our aging parents could afford them. The bottom line is, if you don't have at least 2500.00 dollars a month to spend then you are just out of luck. It is unfortunate that our seniors can't get a break. Seniors are out living their savings.
by joan lamborn submitted on Aug 31, 2010



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