Working with as many families as we do, it’s not uncommon to see people struggling with the decision to move. For many, there’s sentimental value in staying at home: it’s familiar, it harbors memories, and it’s a sure way to remain self-sufficient. However, one of the things to take note of is we didn’t say it was “easier” staying at home.
In many cases, families are forced to move to a senior housing community because the situation becomes too dire. And although we may call a house our home, there’s no denying the amount of maintenance they take to keep afloat. Maintenance that will either take effort to do yourself or money to employ someone to do it for you. Even with family members helping, the situation may be too time-consuming to continue for long.
It’s not simply about mowing the lawn, but when people stop cleaning their house, they’re more likely to get sick. This could be from airborne bacteria, mold, dust, etc. It is not easy, but definitely necessary.
In addition, some seniors continue living in homes that are not actually conducive to getting around, whereas senior housing communities will make sure to be highly accessible.
Of course, no matter how healthy the senior, it may simply not be good for their knees to be hiking up staircases in their home. Seniors may be healthy, but bones will weaken with age and since the majority of senior injuries occur due to falls, it’s something to be aware of.
Truthfully, living in one’s own house is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it is something seniors own and can feel confident about; it’s a sanctuary or safe haven. On the other hand, it’s fairly private. Privacy is one of the things that makes being a homeowner great, but there have been woeful stories of seniors who have a bad fall and don’t receive care for several days – people don’t think to knock until they notice the car hasn’t moved for awhile.
All that aside, the sad truth is most families move because they have to. It’s not uncommon for us to get a call from a family saying they have one week to find a new place to live. Of course we’re here to help and that’s certainly the time we’re needed most, but some people wonder, “Why would I choose senior housing voluntarily?”
Why do Elders Move to Senior Housing?
There could be any number of reasons to move to a senior housing community, but studies have revealed the most common.
If we were to rank the different senior living options by level of care, it would go something like this:
- Independent Living
- Assisted Living
- Nursing Homes
Independent living (or retirement homes) have the broadest range. Some are quite literal resort or vacation type homes. This kind of move is usually voluntary since elders want a peaceful (and/or active) place to retire and manage less chores or housework.
Assisted living is a bit different and a study conducted by the National Center for Assisted Living revealed that most seniors actually move in for help with medications. This senior housing community is also for those seniors who are “on-watch” – so to speak. People who might be at risk for a stroke or heart attack. That way, if something dire happens, someone will know speedily since seniors have 24-hour security and a nurse on-call.
Finally, nursing homes are primarily for those that suffer memory impairment or a physical disability that prevents them from performing ADLs.