When considering ways to live their best lives, many older adults compare the advantages of moving to a senior living community with remaining at home – often referred to as aging-in-place.
Becoming familiar with each option can help in making the decision. The following brief summary of each choice and asking the right questions can clarify which alternative could be the answer for you.
What is senior living?
Several different types of senior living are available, making it easier for a community to match an individual’s needs and preferences.
- Independent senior living
These communities are designed for older adults who live independently but are often looking for a more convenient yet active lifestyle. Private residences, activities, amenities and social events are available.
- Assisted senior living
Residents continue to live independently but receive a helping hand when needed with the tasks of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, grooming or managing their medications. Private residences, dining, activities and scheduled transportation are typically offered.
- Memory care senior living
If your parent is living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, the care that is needed may eventually exceed what can be provided at home. Memory care communities offer specialized programs and around-the-clock care.
- Skilled nursing senior living
This type of senior living may be the best place to call home for those with chronic conditions or who are unable to care for themselves. Those who are rehabilitating from an injury, illness or surgery may also recover in these communities before returning back home.
What is aging-in-place?
Remaining at home is often referred to as aging-in-place. You or your parents might stay at home with help from your spouse, other family members, neighbors or friends.
As needs increase, outside services may be brought in to help with daily tasks, such as shopping, meal preparation, companionship or transportation to medical appointments or other activities.
Before making the decision to age-in-place, it’s important to:
- assess the ability of the person to continue living at home
- determine whether the residence itself can support this effort
- understand the availability of services and additional care if they become needed
Questions to ask about senior living communities
When considering if senior living could better meet the needs of you or your parents, asking these questions may help guide the assessment process:
- What type of senior living would provide the best fit?
Is your parent still able to live independently or is assistance required?
- Is daily help needed?
If you or your parent needs support with the basic daily tasks, assisted living might be the best community choice.
- Has your loved one been diagnosed with dementia?
A memory care community provides staff specially trained to care for individuals living with dementia, a secure environment, and therapies that are tailored to the resident.
- Is loneliness or isolation becoming a problem?
Many older adults find it more difficult to see friends or to meet new people. The consequences of loneliness or isolation can be detrimental. Senior living provides many opportunities to make friends and remain engaged.
- Does your loved one need 24/7 access to care?
If your parent has become frail or needs help managing a chronic condition, the staff at a skilled nursing community is available around-the-clock.
Questions to ask when considering aging-in-place
When comparing whether aging-in-place would be a better choice for you or your parents, ask these questions:
- Is the home accessible and able to provide a safe living environment?
Most homes were not designed for aging-in-place. Your parents may be living with steps and stairs, as well as inaccessible bathrooms if they need assistive equipment in the future.
- Will renovations be required to better support aging-in-place?
You’ll want to assess the home to determine whether a remodel will be needed. It may be as simple as adding grab bars and converting a main level room into a bedroom – or it can require an expensive renovation.
- Is the neighborhood walkable and convenient to nearby amenities?
Do your parents still feel safe in their home and neighborhood? Can they easily walk or have access to amenities that are nearby? Are they in an urban, suburban or more rural area which can affect their ability to avoid being socially isolated?
- Does your loved one still drive? Is alternative transportation available?
If your parents are no longer driving or beginning to drive less, you’ll want to consider what transportation options can be substituted, including rides from family, friends, mass transit or other ride services.
- What level of assistance might be required?
Do you need help with the yard work or landscaping? Has maintenance become more of a challenge? You may need to arrange for home care services to help with shopping, cleaning or preparing meals.
The Charleston Senior Community
Locally owned and operated, we offer personalized care by our dedicated team members. Setting a new standard in Assisted Living and Memory Care, we don’t define our residents by their limitations or illness but instead believe in focusing on the positive and the possibility.
The Charleston Senior Community includes private apartments for assisted living residents and for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Your loved ones will benefit from our attention to detail, routine health assessments, delicious dining and daily activity programs as we support everyone to live their best life.
Consider a few of our amenities:
- Chef-led dining program
- Community movie theater
- Live entertainment
- Outdoor patio
- Social lounges
If you or your family is thinking about Assisted living or Memory care, we hope you will consider The Charleston Senior Community. We are a trusted resource and are here to answer any questions. We also invite you to download our complimentary guide to help when deciding between home and senior living, Should You Stay or Should You Go?