If you are talking about senior living options for yourself or an aging loved one, you may be wondering just how old do you have to be for senior living? After all, the term “old” means many different things to many different people, and the Boomers are showing younger generations that age is, indeed, only a number. You may be surprised to note that senior communities offer a lifestyle suitable for a wide variety of ages, from the mid-fifties and beyond.
The increasing cost of living is always among the top financial concerns that keep seniors up at night, so it can be tempting to evaluate assisted living by cost rather than by the value it offers. But there are unseen costs—emotional, physical, and financial—of choosing the cheapest senior living option instead of the option that meets individual needs both today and tomorrow.
According to theNational Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 6.5 million seniors in 2009 suffered from depression. The statistic may be eight years old but remains startling today because many people still don’t see clinical depression as a problem for aging parents.
More distressing is that depression in seniors is often undiagnosed. An angry senior might be seen as cranky. Appetite loss may be seen as a byproduct of growing older. Worrying about death might be perceived as natural because seniors are closer to the end of their lives. Sadness about being old is natural because we all wish to be younger.
Indeed, some signs of depression also are personality traits or the physical effects of aging. Because of that, depression diagnoses are never made but, rather, are chalked up to someone growing old. This is unfortunate because depression in seniors is prevalent, goes unrecognized and untreated, and can have serious consequences. Depression is not a normal result of aging, so knowing the warning signs is important if your parent starts displaying symptoms.
If you are weighing your options for choosing to live at a senior community versus staying home, you may find it helpful to consider certain aspects of each. For most seniors, factors such as cost, food, lifestyle, and friendships are crucial to compare before making a decision about your future living arrangements. To better prepare you for this important decision, here are a few things to consider:
What comes to mind when you smell freshly cut grass or chocolate chip cookies cooling on the counter? If you are like many people, these smells can bring up memories even when we aren’t expecting it. Perhaps you remember playing with your children or grandchildren when you smell Play-Doh or think of your wedding day when you smell a certain perfume. While you may have anecdotal stories of how smell conjured a memory for you, there is also scientific research that shows us that smell is a powerful tool when it comes to memory and positive experience.
Elder care costs are a major concern in the United States. According to the National Health Policy Forum, spending for long-term services and supports reached $219.9 billion in 2012,which translates to 9.3 percent of all health care spending in the U.S. These costs will only rise as the American population ages, especially considering the first wave of baby boomers are now older than 70.
One reason why Alzheimer’s is so insidious is that it has no cure nor practical effective treatment. Every patient eventually succumbs to the disease. Progress toward learning more about the nuts and bolts of the disease has been slow, even asmore Americans are diagnosed with the condition.
After those questions are answered, families can go about the task of finding the ideal community and then preparing for the move to senior living. At this point, the challenges continue, and perhaps even become more challenging …
Moving into an assisted living community is an exciting adventure. However, you may feel overwhelmed as you attempt to pack what you need for your new apartment. When it comes to smaller items, you always have the opportunity to re-evaluate your list as the move begins. With larger items, such as furniture, a more methodical approach is best. This attention to detail before the move ensures you aren’t stuck in a new apartment cluttered with too-big furniture pieces.