Housing options generally fail into three categories, based on level of services and/or care provided:
Independent Living Retirement Communities - These complexes are for seniors who are able to live on their own, but want the convenience of a comprehensive service package. Meals, housekeeping, activities, transportation and security are provided to active older adults.
Assisted Living Facilities - In addition to the services mentioned above, these facilities provide personal care assistance to residents. This means that, in addition to housekeeping services, residents receive assistance in managing their medications. and a helping hand with bathing, grooming and dressing. "Assisted Living" facilities come in all shapes and sizes. Settings can range from three or more older people in a homelike setting, to dozens of residents in an institutional environment.
Nursing Homes - For individuals already disabled to the point of requiring daily nursing care as well as other support services, nursing homes provide comprehensive care services in a single setting. While most older persons and their families see nursing home care only as a last resort, they may in fact be the best setting for disabled persons with multiple problems and requiring multiple types of services.
Adult Foster Care - One option is to purchase in home services, to cope with declining abilities. involves a family caring for a dependent person in their home. For a fee, an army of workers will appear to help with housekeeping services (cut your grass, wash your windows, cook your meals, do the shopping) and/or provide personal care services (dressing, eating, bathing) and/or skilled nursing care, This may be the option for you, depending on the amount of help you need. However, this can be expensive and will require a lot of management and coordination.
Shared Housing is offered by home owners who are willing to share their house with others. These group homes provide independent, private living in a house shared by several senior citizens who split the cost of rent, housekeeping services, utilities, and meals. Service provision must be negotiated on a case by case basis. Ask the local social services department if adult foster care is available in your area.
If you are considering buying a home, working with a lender knowledgeable in special financing geared toward seniors is critical. For example, such a lender could help inform you what states offer a reversed annuity mortgage (RAM), which converts home equity into an income stream. The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) also offers programs for seniors, including financing for "accessory apartments" - complete dwelling units within a single family residence. The Elderly Cottage Housing Opportunity is a similar concept to the accessory apartment, but the dwelling unit is completely separate and self-contained from the main residence. These options sometimes works well for a corporate transferee and his or her senior parents who are moving, too.
The following Housing Options Article was developed by the National Eldercare Institute on Long Term Care and Alzheimer's Disease at the Suncoast Gerontology Center University of South Florida - Go to Administration on Aging Page
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