Change is a part of life. How do you know when to make changes? At some point, our own aging requires that we prepare for another stage of life. The normal physical decline of aging coupled with disease conditions require planning to ensure our choices. Decisions made during a crisis are often not the same decisions we would make if planning ahead.
Should I stay in my home or move to a senior residence?
That’s hard to say. If you have vision or mobility problems, your home could become very dangerous. Depending on where you live, getting to and from medical appointments and shopping could become difficult.
Safety is the primary concern. Certain modifications to the home can improve safety and allow you to age in place. If you live with a spouse and one or both of you remain healthy, you may be able to cover for each other. What if one of you is in poor health and has vision, hearing or mobility problems? Would moving to another location be easier for you in the long run?
What happens if the spouse acting as the caregiver becomes sick or dies? Will there be another family member or friend available to help? If the answer is “no,” moving now rather than later may be in your BEST interest.
When should I make these changes?
Each person’s situation is different. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with dementia and are in the early stages, it’s time to make these decisions NOW.
If you have aging diseases like macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, or severe osteoarthritis, progression of these diseases could prevent you from gaining entry to housing areas of your choice.
Senior independent living requires that you are able to pass certain functional tests. Remaining in an independent living situation is much less rigorous. Many of the same functional tests are required for assisted living and must be applied for to those with early and middle stage dementia.
When I decide to make a change, what are my options?
Whether staying at home or making another transition, care managers can coordinate a plan and make the transition smoother.
1) Modify home environment to safely age in place.
2) Purchase services privately.
1) Garden home (one level)
2) Senior housing with support services
a. Independent living (Apartments/Studios)
b. Assisted living
3) Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
a. Independent Housing (Apartment/Studio/Homes)
b. Assisted Living
c. Nursing Home