Navigating the Path to Premier Senior Living: Your Comprehensive Guide for 2023.
When the challenges of aging make it impractical for an individual to maintain independent living at home, senior living alternatives provide various forms of care. These options encompass a wide range of possibilities that can offer older adults a secure and comfortable environment. Whether you are seeking senior living for yourself or a loved one, continue reading to gain insights into locating top-notch senior living facilities nearby.
Understanding Senior Living
Senior living encompasses a diverse range of care, lifestyle, and housing options tailored for older adults, according to insights provided by Ailene Gerhardt, an independent board-certified patient advocate (BCPA) and founder of Beacon Patient Solutions LLC in Boston.
The scope of senior living choices extends from aging in single-family homes, apartments, townhouses, condos, tiny houses, co-housing, or shared housing to residing in active adult communities or specialized facilities designed to cater to particular lifestyle interests or care needs, as articulated by Gerhardt.
Moreover, senior living facilities offer varying levels of care, contingent on an individual's specific requirements. While most facilities do not provide round-the-clock medical care, some may feature on-site nursing or offer services such as assistance with medication management and activities of daily living (ADLs), including bathing, toileting, and dressing. Certain senior living communities may also provide specialized memory care services for residents with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.
Types of Senior Living
Several senior living options are available to accommodate diverse budgets, preferences, and needs, as explained by Keith Grady, a gerontologist and executive director at Applewood Estates, a continuing care retirement community in New Jersey. The most common options include:
Independent Living: Suited for older adults who can live independently and wish to enjoy social and recreational activities. Services typically encompass amenities like spas, beauty salons, barber shops, daily meals, basic housekeeping and laundry, fitness centers, and swimming pools. Social activities and outings are often part of the package.
Assisted Living: Tailored to provide care for older adults requiring assistance with ADLs, such as dressing, bathing, or medication management, but not necessitating 24-hour nursing care.
Memory Care: Designed to offer specialized care and a secure living environment for older adults with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. Features may include enclosed outdoor spaces for safe wandering, code-activated elevators, and more.
Skilled Nursing Care: Ideal for older adults in need of 24-hour nursing care and medical attention due to chronic or acute health conditions. Services can encompass wound care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and intravenous (IV) therapy.
How to Identify Senior Living Options Nearby
If you are in search of senior living for yourself or a loved one, consider exploring the following resources:
Word of Mouth: Initiate your quest with recommendations from friends or acquaintances who have had experiences with senior living options. Gather facility names from your network and conduct personal research by visiting facility websites, scheduling in-person visits, and reviewing feedback from current and former residents.
Area Agencies on Aging: These agencies focus on assisting older adults in local communities to maintain health and engagement through a variety of programs, classes, and opportunities. They can also aid you in finding the most suitable senior living option based on your unique needs. You can get in touch with your local agency online or by calling 1-866-243-5678.
Senior Living Advisor: Professional advisors specializing in senior living can help older adults and their families identify the most fitting senior living option. These advisors usually do not charge a fee; however, it is worth noting that they may receive a commission from senior living communities when a recommended individual moves in. To find a senior living advisor in your local area, reach out to your local Area Agency on Aging for recommendations or consult a reputable senior living community, elder law attorney, or geriatric care manager for referrals.
LeadingAge: This non-profit association represents service providers and organizations supporting older adults. The association's Aging Services Directory aids in locating and listing senior living facilities in your area by ZIP code and specific services, such as senior housing or subsidized housing.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Senior Living
As you explore various senior living options, remember to consider the following factors:
- Location: Whether in an urban or rural setting, ensure the facility's proximity to friends, family, activities, and essential resources like medical offices, grocery stores, or hospitals.
- Meals: Determine the available meal options and their scheduling throughout the day. When visiting a facility, request a meal to assess the quality, freshness, and variety of the food, as suggested by Avila.
- Amenities: While amenities may vary between facilities, common offerings include housekeeping, meal and dining services, exercise and wellness programs, and transportation services.
- Cost: Pricing for senior living communities fluctuates depending on factors like location, type of senior living community, available amenities, and the size of the selected apartment or unit. Evaluate which senior living option aligns with your budget, and be aware that some senior living communities may charge fees such as a one-time entry fee or a down payment before accepting a new resident.
- Wait Times: Certain facilities have waitlists that may extend for several years before a vacancy opens up. It is essential to inquire about the anticipated timeline for moving into your chosen senior living facility.
- Transitional Care: Selecting a facility offering transitional care can enable an individual to remain in the same location even if their needs increase with age.
Paying for Senior Living
Although the cost of senior living can appear daunting, various options can alleviate the financial burden:
- Private Pay Funds: Utilize personal savings or assets to cover care expenses. Depending on your financial situation, you may consider using funds from the sale of a home, retirement accounts, health savings accounts (HSAs), stocks, bonds, and CDs to support your stay in a senior living community.
- Long-Term Care Insurance: This type of insurance covers expenses related to nursing home care, home health care, and adult daycare. According to Holly Berndt, M.D., an internal medicine physician at Houston Medical Group, long-term care insurance provides extensive coverage, potentially paying for the full range of services, depending on the policy.
- Medicaid: A federal and state program that offers health coverage to eligible low-income Americans, including older adults. Dr. Berndt notes that certain facilities may permit Medicaid to contribute to senior living costs, although coverage varies depending on the state.
- VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound Benefits: These programs offer financial assistance of up to $2,229 per month to qualified veterans and their spouses who require assistance with ADLs. Veterans who are housebound may also qualify for this benefit. Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website to determine eligibility.
U.S. News Presents the Senior Living Standouts for 2023-2024
- Kisco Senior Living stands tall with recognition in 86% of their communities.
- HumanGood secures recognition in 85% of its communities.
- Brightview Senior Living earns recognition in 84% of its communities.
- Aegis Living shines with recognition in 83% of its communities.
- Principal Senior Living Group boasts recognition in 80% of its communities.
- Brandywine Living impresses with recognition in 77% of its communities.
- Leisure Care earns recognition in 75% of its communities.
- Agemark Senior Living excels with recognition in 71% of its communities.
- The Arbor Company earns recognition in 70% of its communities.
- Americare Senior Living secures recognition in 68% of its communities.
- Morning Pointe Senior Living earns recognition in 65% of its communities.
- Benchmark Senior Living shines with recognition in 63% of its communities.
- Ebenezer Senior Living secures recognition in 62% of its communities.
- Belmont Village Senior Living earns recognition in 53% of its communities.
- Grace Management stands strong with recognition in 53% of its communities.
- Sunrise Senior Living secures recognition in 52% of its communities.
- Sagora Senior Living impresses with recognition in 51% of its communities.