Housing Options for Older Adults
The overwhelming preference of older people is to age in place in their own homes and apartments, and most older people are able to do that. Aging in place can be safe and successful if the physical aspects of a home accommodate a resident's physical and mental needs; if the home is affordable; and if the residents have easy access to necessary services and activities.
For some older people, changes in their physical, emotional, or mental health, or in their family, social, or financial situations may compromise their ability to continue living where they are. Such changes may persuade an older person to consider relocating to a more supportive living environment.
Whether choosing to age in place or to relocate to another living environment, being an informed consumer, by gathering appropriate information, is critical to making the best housing choice—one that meets a person's needs and preferences.
Independent living communities or independent retirement communities are housing designed for adults age 55 and older.
Assisted living facilities—also known as congregate housing, residential care, adult congregate care, boarding home, or domiciliary care—are suitable for individuals who need minimal daily care. In terms of medical needs, minimal care might be considered assistance with medication or intermittent skilled nursing care.
Skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes are for people who require significant medical care. Any older adult who needs medical treatment from a registered nurse 24/7 or daily therapy services will need a skilled care setting.
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