Working with a Senior to Choose the Best Living Option
With so many options for senior living, it can be difficult to choose which is best for your parent, friend, or loved one. It is impossible for us to determine what is best for an individual, as every person has a unique set of needs and preferences. That is why it is essential to consult a doctor as a first step. A senior’s gerontologist has a clear picture of what could give them the highest quality of life.
It is also crucial to take a senior’s preferences into mind and find out which option they are personally most comfortable with. Some people are purely resistant to moving out of a home that they have loved for a long period of time, and in these cases it may be in their best interest to stay put. Stress is a contributor to heart failure and other harmful medical conditions, so it is important to consider a senior’s preferences to keep them stress-free, happy, and well.
Although it should mainly be a doctor and senior’s decision for where they will reside for the next 10 years, you should also do extensive research to provide some guidance and to determine pricing.
This picture shows a range of senior care options, ranging from the lowest to highest level of care intensity.
Following is a breakdown of different senior living options that could benefit someone in need of assistance.
Non-medical in home care
Summary: Often times, non-medical in home care is more about gaining companionship and help as needed. Transportation, nutritious meals, and having a close friend to bring happiness to your life are all advantages that you can find in a senior care provider. Tapping into medical resources is unnecessary for someone who doesn’t have a serious or condition that needs professional monitoring.
For instance, the Seniors Helping Seniors franchise provides these services by matching a senior in need of help with a senior who is able to provide loving care. This match creates a friendship, and the idea is to have seniors feel more comfortable by receiving help from a peer who understands them. Check out their newest location for senior care in Omaha, NE.
Good candidates: Some examples of good candidates for non-medical home care would be someone who is in a wheel chair but not ill, someone who is recovering from surgery and needs temporary assistance, or someone who is lonely from the recent passing of a spouse.
Cost: According to Genworth Financial survey research, the average cost of non-medical home care in the United States is $44616 /year¹. This would be receiving care at $21.45 for 8 hours on week days. If you used the service for merely 1 hour on week days, you can expect an annual spend of $5,577.
Medical in home care / Home health care
Summary: Medical home care includes medical aids and nurses spending time with a senior for treatment, supervision, and special needs. In addition to providing medical care, they may also assist with the non-medical responsibilities listed in the previous section.
Good candidates: A good candidate for someone with medical needs would include a senior who needs daily medication, shots, or Diabetes glucose monitoring; seniors in need of wound care or who are recovering from intensive surgery; patients who need medical equipment in their home; and patients who going through pulmonary rehabilitation4.
Cost: You can expect costs of $45760 annually¹, which may seem like a similar price to non-medical care. Although hourly rates may be similar, most people in need of medical assistance need it round the clock. Even just a dollar more in hourly care could lead to a noticeable increase in the annual cost.
Assisted living communities
Summary: These communities include either apartment or neighborhood style housing options with additional care provided. Typically, laundry, lawn maintenance, meals, and transportation are all included in a monthly fee. One of the primary benefits of assisted living communities is that they promote social opportunities. A central building usually provides meals, entertainment, and events where seniors can mingle with their peers and keep busy.
The following factors comprise a good candidate for assisted living:
- Seniors who want to stay socially active
- Seniors who are partial to the idea of leaving their current residence
- Seniors who aren’t afraid of a higher price
- Seniors who value upscale or luxury options
Cost: The average $43,200 annually¹ can be a little misleading. Because real estate is factored into the prices of assisted living communities, they fluctuate largely due to geography. For instance, you may pay $2,500 a month for a community in Nebraska as opposed to $5,000 for a similar community in Connecticut².
Prices also largely depend on whether you select a simple apartment style community or a luxurious area with premium amenities. Some units, for instance, may cost up to $300,000+ annually¹. For example, Trilogy at Encanterra is an Arizona senior community offering properties closer to $700,000³. This neighborhood includes:
- events and fun activities
- onsite dining
- the state of the art Mossa Athletic Club
- a complete spa
- 24-hour service
- beautiful pools and architecture
When price is not a barrier, seniors can live even better than the rest of us!
Often times, it is best to move people into assisted living residences while they are still younger and are not in dire need of the extensive services. Waiting until the last minute means a second move to the nursing home may be in the near future. Many assisted living communities are for people ages 60+, so early sixties may be the best time to consider this option, depending on overall health and lifestyle.
Summary: A nursing home provides round the clock medical care for those with extreme conditions and physical impairments. This is the most expensive option because nursing homes include a high degree of medical expertise and quick access to prescription medicine and additional treatment.
Good candidates: Someone who is suffering a life-threatening illness, in need of 24 hour care and constant medication, is immobile, or has a complex medical condition should move into a nursing home.
Cost: You can expect to spend around $80,000 or more annually¹ for a nursing home. Prices depend on having a private room, location of the home, and the reputation of the doctors on staff. Because they are so expensive and offer little to no privacy, many people hold off on considering nursing homes until urgent care is needed.
Although this overview gives a general breakdown of price and basic pros and cons, remember that (1) consulting a medical professional and (2) having a conversation with your family member about their preferences are key. Best of luck with your search!