Elder Housing: Options Abound For Next Home
Marie and Ralph have been married for more than 40 years, living, for the last 30 years, in a "typical" Pittsburgh house (two stories up and one cellar flight down) on a hilly lot in a neighborhood they enjoy. They have no children and both of them, over the last few years, have had some physical issues that have decreased their mobility.
As a result, they have begun, before a crisis hits, to look at what their options are for alternate housing. This is a difficult decision for them, as it is for most people, as they enjoy both their house and their neighborhood. Nonetheless, they want to be prepared to take action in a pre-planned manner if it becomes necessary to do so. So, let's see what some of these options are -- which are not just nursing facilities as many believe.
Village: A growing option, but presently limited in number, is to become a member of a "village" such as Mt. Lebanon Village where residents of Mt. Lebanon, age 50 and older, can reside in their own place of residence in the environment they value as they grow older.
This is done by paying an annual fee and, through support services such as help with transportation, connections to social/enrichment activities, and referrals to a variety of services for home maintenance and home health care, allowing one to stay in the home.
Independent Living: This is a type of housing, usually apartment living, that can relieve the individual of the burdens of home ownership. They often have a community dining area, library, fitness area and TV room. Apartments can vary from studio to two or three bedroom. Note, however, that the resident bears the responsibility of medication administration and services are only paid for privately.
Cohousing: A new phenomenon where like-minded individuals join together in a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods. Cohousing residents commit themselves to living as a community. The physical design encourages both social contact and individual space.
Cohousing usually offers a greener and more affordable option than other senior housing. Private homes contain all the features of conventional homes, but residents also have access to common facilities such as open space, courtyards and a common house. Most cohousing is multigenerational, but an increasing number are for adults over 55.
Personal Care Homes: Personal care homes are residential facilities that offer personal care services, assistance and supervision to four or more persons. They are inspected and licensed by the state. Sometimes they are advertised as "retirement homes" or "boarding homes," but cannot call themselves "assisted living facilities."
However, there are no federal regulations for personal care homes. There is no third party reimbursement for personal care homes, but many personal care homes accept residents of low income who receive Supplemental Security Income. Assisted Living:
is intended to allow individuals to age in place and receive supplemental health care services while maintaining their independence and right to exercise decision making and personal choice without having to transfer to a nursing care facility. These facilities are licensed by their state.
Similar to personal care homes, residents have an initial assessment, development of a support plan and are subject to a contract between the resident and the facility. An assisted living residence is constructed differently from a personal care home.
Personal care home residents live in bedrooms that may be shared by up to four people. Assisted living residents have living units with kitchen capacity. No one is forced to share a living unit.
Living units have a door with a lock and a private bathroom. It is similar to a studio apartment where the resident can make meals if desired and have a private bathroom. Nursing Home Facilities:
A nursing facility has registered nurses helping to provide 24-hour care for individuals who can no longer care for themselves due to physical, mental or emotional conditions.
A physician supervises a patient's care and the facility provides services such as wound care, IV medication administration, tube feedings and rehabilitation services after surgery or an accident. These are the most expensive facilities in which to live on an annual basis, averaging approximately $93,000/year in cost. Continuing Care Retirement Communities:
CCRCs are part independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing. They are designed to accommodate aging residents' changing needs. Healthy adults can reside independently in single-family homes, apartments or condominiums.
When assistance with everyday activities of daily living becomes necessary, the resident can move into the assisted living or nursing care portion of the facility. A CCRC gives a person the option to live in one location for the duration of his life, with much of their future health needs dealt with.
Generally one of the most expensive of all long-term-care options, CCRCs usually require a substantial entrance fee as well as monthly charges. The entrance fees are used to prepay for care as well as to provide the facility money to operate. Monthly charges can vary but may increase as needs change.
Read more: Post-Gazette.com