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Decades ago, seniors were limited when it came to housing or retirement home options. But times have evolved, and housing developers have realized that older adults need housing that fits their lifestyle, budget, and care needs. Today’s community living for senior citizens is quite varied, and it can be hard to decide what to do with all of the choices available. This short guide was created to help you with the next steps.

Independent vs. Assisted Living

Independent and assisted living facilities are popular housing options for people over the age of 55. Sometimes referred to as age-restricted facilities, independent living is perfect for people who want to have more autonomy over their lifestyle without the hassle of regular home maintenance. These communities are best for seniors who are looking to downsize. Note that these communities do not offer medical care or nursing. Popular amenities include fitness programs, communal meals, and common spaces. Floor plans in independent living communities may include condos or apartments, and all are designed for easier mobility.

Assisted living communities are more care-focused, helping seniors tend to a variety of needs and generally provide assistance with everyday tasks such as laundry, cooking, cleaning, bathing, and medication management. Some assisted living communities may offer transportation to and from doctor’s appointments or have nurses on staff or on call. While there is a high level of care in assisted living facilities, seniors still enjoy a considerable measure of independence.

Factors To Consider

Choosing between an independent or assisted living community isn’t just about a simple move. You need to consider your lifestyle, health, finances, and location. If you’re unsure, it may be a good idea to consult with a trusted relative or friend that can give an objective opinion. Your medical and physical needs should also play a significant role in your decision. Ask your doctor for health recommendations so you can factor their advice into your decision. 

Both independent and assisted living communities will require you to make a financial commitment. Book tours of different facilities and ask questions about costs, amenities, and contracts. Having a solid grasp of your financial situation will enable you to find the right option that fits your long-term budgeting needs. 

Alternative Living Options

Independent and assisted living communities are great choices for many people, but they are not the only housing options for seniors. For seniors planning to “age in place,” there is a wealth of alternative housing options which includes everything from home-sharing to intentional communities to multigenerational housing. 

Home sharing is a particularly great choice if you are open to living with someone else. In addition to increased safety and shared responsibilities, home sharing can be both cost-effective and good for companionship.  Some states even have programs that match senior citizens with eligible roommates. 

With all the choices available to senior citizens today, deciding on your next steps can be a dizzying process. Rest assured that many options exist for a variety of lifestyles, budgets, mental, and physical needs. For information about Sholom’s senior living options and care services, please call 855-5-Sholom.

Photo credit: Unsplash

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