When you picture the golden years, you may imagine serenely sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, sipping lemonade and watching the sun go down. When this idyllic image is interrupted by the daily circumstances of growing older, like a medical emergency or an increasing loss of mobility, it is easy to become discouraged by the reality that is interrupting the dream. With proper planning and research, aging gracefully does not include the end of good times. There are many options available, each with different levels of assistance. When the right care plan is implemented, this time, which is often seen as the end of an independent and fulfilling life, can be an active, fun and rewarding time. If you’ve never had personal experience with the process of aging, you may not realize the wide variety of options available for senior living.Independent Living communities are established for those who require little to no assistance with day to day activities. They usually consist of developed neighborhoods with a variety of housing options, ranging from apartments to full-sized houses. This is a good option for individuals who want to live in a safe environment with freedom from household chores and access to a variety of social opportunities. These communities offer endless ways for residents to enjoy the finer things in life during their well-earned retirement years. With a variety of living arrangements available, from apartments to cottages, independent living communities offer a nearly endless range of activities for residents. A dip in an indoor heated pool, a trip to the fitness center with a full-time trainer on staff, dance classes and walking trails are all within reach for seniors seeking to maintain an active lifestyle. There are also plenty of ways to relax, including spa-style services like massages, manicures, haircuts and styling. When it’s time to eat, patrons can enjoy a variety of dining options ranging from formal to take-out. With these and many other amenities, independent living neighborhoods are an attractive option for those seeking a comfortable but still active lifestyle. Many even offer assisted living services should they become needed, with licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants on staff, making it easy to continue living in comfort.
Aging in Place is a home living option which takes advantage of a range of home care services that help maintain independence — from in-home support to day care. Home modifications like wheelchair ramps, bathtub railings and emergency response systems, can make senior living easier and safer. Aging in place has the benefit of familiar surroundings, but it’s important to have a plan for when needs change. Home Care is a service that allows seniors to stay in their own homes while receiving help with daily tasks like grooming and bathing, as well as meal preparation and other light housekeeping tasks. Another advantage of this service is the feeling of companionship seniors receive from care providers. For those who can no longer comfortably leave the home to socialize, having someone around to keep them company is a welcome comfort.
Assisted Living is an option for those who need support to accomplish some aspects of daily living but would still like to maintain a level of independence. Assisted living communities are designed for those who may need help with everyday activities, but do not need the level of care a nursing facility would require. Often consisting of apartment-style housing, this option allows seniors a way to still experience the freedom of independent living while providing the comfort of knowing that help is never far away. These communities also provide welcome social opportunities for residents who may feel lonely without family nearby. While many of the communities offer small kitchen amenities inside the residences, common dining areas provide an excellent environment for residents to socialize over a freshly prepared meal. Many assisted living communities also offer other recreational activities for their residents.
A Continuing Care Retirement Community is a facility that includes independent living, assisted living, nursing home care and possibly rehabilitative services and memory care all in one location, so seniors can stay in the same general area as their housing and assistance needs change over time.
Nursing Homes normally provide the highest level of medical care outside of a hospital. However, there is more to this option than many may realize. In some instances, a patient may stay in a nursing home for a temporary rehabilitation period after a surgery or medical emergency. Nursing homes provide around the clock nursing care as well as assistance with the tasks of everyday life like meals, hygienic needs and even recreation. These facilities have 24-hour staff to assist residents with the activities of daily living, and many offer specialized programs from staff trained in caring for patients suffering from various conditions like memory loss.
Many people entertain that pleasant dream of sipping lemonade on the front porch in their golden years, surrounded by friends, with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that everything you need for a life of comfort is within your reach. With a little bit of planning, that dream can be a reality.