Alternatives to a Nursing Home


As you’re making eventual arrangements for a long-term care option, you’re probably considering moving to a nursing home. But, a long-term care facility can be expensive and not necessarily provide the services you need. Here are some other eldercare options to consider.

In-home care

Instead of moving into a group home, where caretakers are always present on-site, you could continue living in your home and have servicers come and attend to your needs periodically. Some agencies and volunteer organizations provide at-home assistance for home-bound elderly individuals, and that may be all you need to continue living at home.

For example, Manish Sahajwani of Investopedia points out that “Groups like Meals on Wheels provide meals to elderly people who cannot make their own. This service is conducted by volunteers.” Home care agencies can assist with bathing, eating and basic chores.

If regular medical monitoring and care are required, Medicare covers some home health care services if you qualify. According to The My Medicare Matters Team, you could receive skilled intermittent nursing and rehabilitative care from approved home health care service agencies.

Accessory dwelling unit

If you cannot live on your own but you don’t want or can’t afford to move to an independent living campus, you can move into a family member’s unused guest suite so they can lend a hand whenever you need help.

If you both desire greater privacy, you can add an accessory dwelling unit to the property. “A private, smaller home in your backyard, above the garage or elsewhere can provide your loved one with independence, while still allowing you to conveniently care for them,” advises David Lohmann of Caring on Demand. These mother-in-law suites take some time and money to build initially, but in the long run they’re a much more affordable solution than other independent living solutions that require steep rent and admission fees.

Senior apartments and independent living

Instead of living alone in a large, multi-level house and tending for its maintenance needs, you can live in a residential campus specifically admitting only those over 55 years old. These independent living facilities can be apartments, townhouses or condominiums. “These apartments have senior-friendly amenities,” explains Sahajwani. “Communal eateries, transportation and recreational activities are made available to residents.” These campuses offer elderly tenants day-to-day independence while inviting them to be part of a community of their peers.

If you can handle most all daily activities on your own but need nursing and select medical assistance now and then, a Continuing Care Retirement Community could be ideal. It’s very similar to a senior apartment campus except more professionals are on staff to assist in personal needs on occasion.

CCRCs are very expensive and require a large initial enrollment fee and monthly admission costs, but they offer a variety of specialized, convenient services to attend to your needs. Plus, “this alternative allows for the transition from apartments to assisted living to nursing home all within the same campus,” Sahajwani points out.

Assisted Living Facilities

If you require more assistance with daily tasks like making meals, being transported around town and cleaning yourself, an assisted living community could be the solution. These properties are typically structured in an apartment- or dorm-like campus with around-the-clock on-campus staff who arrange daily activities, scheduled meals and emergency assistance. This is a good solution if you need more assistance than living in a senior apartment would provide. “Assisted living communities are ideal for seniors who may require assistance with some tasks, but do not need extensive or constant medical care, in contrast to seniors in nursing homes,” explains Lohmann.

When you’re ready to downsize and find a new place to live that offers assistance with daily chores or medical needs, look at all your options to find one that’s right for you.

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