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Senior Housing Options

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In general, there are three main senior housing options. However, within the three categories - living at home, assisted living and retirement homes - there are numerous options. For many seniors, a decision on senior housing comes after a traumatic event, such as the loss of a spouse or a debilitating medical event. Here is a closer look at some of the necessary considerations with the three main living choices for older Americans.

Senior Housing - Staying Home

This is often the top choice for many senior citizens, in part because it offers little upheaval. However, experts say it's important for loved ones helping seniors to be certain that remaining in the house is the best choice. That includes a determination of whether the neighborhood remains safe and offers the amenities of life - doctors, grocery stores, shopping centers - necessary to sustain a senior. Is the senior capable of maintaining the house - either arranging for or handling such issues as monthly bills and yard and indoor maintenance? Remember that it's possible to pay for daily home health care using both Medicare and Medicaid.

Senior Housing - Assisted Living

A senior who retains much of his or her independence, but who either cannot handle all the obligations of maintaining a household or doesn’t care to after the loss of a spouse, is a perfect candidate for assisted living facilities. Choices in this area include senior apartment complexes of all sizes. Independent living centers offer mostly minor help with daily living chores - usually by offering daily meals, cleaning services and transportation to doctor's appointments and recreational outings. An advantage for some seniors is a lifestyle with a community of senior citizens. There are also assisted living centers that offer more daily care, but still require a large degree of independence on the part of the senior.

Senior Housing - Nursing Homes

A sometimes difficult decision for the senior and family members is the point at which the need for daily assistance makes a nursing home - and its 24-hour medical care - a necessity. There are similarities to assisted living facilities, such as a community of seniors who engage in a variety of social activities. However, skilling nursing and medical care is always available and the degree to which seniors can mingle and take advantage of social activities depends on their medical condition. Nursing homes are often used as transitional housing for seniors who have been hospitalized and are recovering and are expected to be able to return to a more independent lifestyle.

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