6 Alternatives to Retirement Communities for Seniors
Independent living community, retirement home, assisted living facility – whatever you call it, your aging parents may not be ready to give up their independence or their home for one of these arrangements. And while you want to respect their wishes, you may be worried about how their health or finances will fare without someone close by to lend a helping hand.
Fortunately, an increasing number of senior living options are becoming available to support aging adults who aren’t yet in need of continuous care. Here are some alternatives to traditional assisted living facilities that may meet your family’s needs.
1. Technology as a first step. We’ve written a lot about how technology can help older adults live independently longer. In cases where your parent requires minimal assistance, these solutions might be all you need! Whether it’s a discreet home monitoring system like Lively or a financial protection service like True Link, a technological solution can put off the need for more hands-on care.
2. Home modifications. If your parent’s safety in their home is your primary concern, you may want to go beyond installing a monitoring system and considering changes that will make their home a safer place to live. There are a number of ways to make a home more senior-friendly from installing an easy-access shower to making sure smoke alarms have obvious visual and audible signals.
3. Elder companions. An elder companion (or “home companion”) provides company for people living alone – in particular those who are homebound. Beyond companionship, these individuals can act as an extra set of hands, eyes and feet to your parent when you can’t be there and will provide part-time assistance with tasks like laundry, running errands, and light housekeeping. Care4hire offers these tips for hiring a companion or caregiver.
4. Personal care assistants. A step beyond an elder companion is a personal care assistant who can help with bathing, dressing, grooming, and cooking. This is a great option for parents who don’t need full-time assistance or medical care (personal care assistants aren’t licensed health workers, but they can administer medication). Care assistants, like those from Home Instead, can also be helpful to family caregivers who only need extra help for certain tasks.
5. Live-in caregivers. For seniors needing full-time assistance, live-in care is the only option for them to remain in their home. These caregivers can provide around-the-clock or overnight services within the scope of a personal care assistant. Likewise, they can’t provide extensive medical care beyond medication management unless you specifically hire a live-in nurse.
6. Share the care. Caring for a family member is incredibly important work, but it can be a difficult job if you’re doing it alone. Talk to your siblings about splitting up the responsibilities or supplement your caregiving with companions or care providers. Finding a way to share the weight of responsibilities with others will allow you to take better care of your parent.
Make sure you have a two-way conversation with your parents about their wishes and your concerns before finalizing a care plan. If you need a hand, a Geriatric Care Manager or Senior Living Advisor can help you make a decision that promotes mom’s well-being and your peace of mind.