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Understanding The Myriad of Options in Today’s Senior Care

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenAugust 6, 2012
Understanding Senior Housing and Care Options

Finding senior living options is a complex and confusing process that has changed drastically over the years. There is now catered care, depending on your loved ones’ needswhich is why so many people are surprised to find a multitude of senior care and living options.

The proportion of Americans 65+ will grow by 3 percent each year for the next 20 years.  By 2030, there will be over 70 million over the age of 65 and beginning in 2011, the senior population will grow faster than the total population in every single state, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Aging is a time of adaptation and change, and there are a myriad of senior housing options availablefrom memory care to senior apartments and retirement communities. While most elderly want to stay at home, this may not be the safest or least costly choice. And, interestingly enough, 60% of people looking for nursing homes actually end up choosing active senior living communities, according to a recent A Place for Mom survey.

Senior Living Has Evolved: More Options for Different Levels of Care

Finding senior living options is a complex and confusing process. Consumers are unaware of their options and where they start their process and where they ultimately move varies significantly. A Place for Mom recently discovered that most families start their search with nursing homes. However, nursing home searchers rarely move into nursing homes. Out of 100 families initially searching for nursing homes for either themselves or their loved ones, 59 percent of people ended up in  some form of active senior living. 34 went to assisted living, 13 went to residential care, 5 went to home care, 3 went to respite care, 7 went to retirement communities, 17 went to Alzheimer’s care, and only the remaining 21 went to nursing home care.

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Senior housing options have evolved substantially over the last two decades, which explains the confusion. Nursing homes are not synonymous with assisted living, which many people believe. Nursing homes used to be the main type of facility for long-term care, but today nursing homes are mainly set up for short-term stays after hospitalization to help seniors recover through physical therapy and supervised care. Physical health, mental health and financial health are the three factors that contribute to a seniors’ short-term and long-term care options—as these three items determine the level-of-care needed based on available financial resources—and there are many options for care.

Assisted Living Options Offer an Extended Quality of Life

More varied care allows healthy, active seniors to thrive as many retirement communities provide physical, mental and emotional stimulation in addition to medication management, nutrition and appropriate care. The socialization and community engagement aspect of living in a senior community helps keep the seniors happy, alert and active—promoting quality of life, with care—for golden years’ enjoyment. Since level-of-care varies, families have the ability to choose the most appropriate senior living option for their loved ones. And the great part—many communities offer continuing care options so that seniors can go through different levels of care as the age and their needs change.

Researching Senior Care and Senior Living Options

So if you are planning your retirement or are researching care options for your loved one, there are a number of resources available to help guide you through the process. Whether you’re looking for an active senior living community or skilled nursing care, a Senior Living Advisor helps to educate and provide appropriate financial and senior living resources to match your family’s needs. There’s no need to search for nursing homes when a different senior living option is more appropriate. Luckily today’s plethora of senior living options offers personalized care, providing senior needs, socialization and more! Contact a Senior Living Advisor today for more information.

The graphs below provide information on the aging baby boomer population and on how families’ original search for “nursing homes” changed as they became more educated about the many senior care and housing options:

The Growing Senior Population, From 1900 to 2050

graph describing how senior citizen population is increasing

“Nursing Home” Searches Turned Into Senior Living Options’ Awareness 

nursing home searches

Dana Larsen
Author
Dana Larsen

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