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Aging Issues: Pros and Cons of Assisted Living

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If you’re approaching age 65, statistics show that you’ll need assisted living or nursing care soon. And though there are numerous options on how you will live out your golden years, these odds are enough to warrant at least considering the possibility of eventual long-term care. The more information you have before this time comes, the better.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons of residential custodial care and what you can do to prolong your independence. But first, let’s look at the options for paying for long-term care.

Paying for Senior Care

If you’ve yet to make a plan for the future, it’s never too late. And fortunately, if you already have an existing life insurance policy, you may be able to cover the cost of your own care without further burdening your family.

Life insurance is an asset that can be utilized for more than just a death benefit. Selling your life insurance policy is a relatively simple process that can help you get cash immediately, and often in a larger lump sum than the policy’s surrender value.

Other care funding options include personal savings, retirement accounts, and, if you have an income that meets poverty guidelines, Medicaid.

Now that we’ve covered the costs associated with long-term care, let’s look at the pros and cons of assisted living and other options.

Pros and Cons of Assisted Living

Pro — Assisted living offers help with the activities of daily living.

Assisted living facilities offer their residents help with meal preparation, medication management, transportation, housekeeping, and much more.

Con — It’s expensive.

The average cost for assisted living in Nevada is $3,750, which is much more than most seniors bring in via Social Security. It’s important to note that assisted living is less expensive than in-home care in some situations.

Pro — Assisted living offers an opportunity to socialize with peers.

Isolation is dangerous for seniors, and if you live alone, you are more likely to suffer from depression and all the issues relating to it.

Con — Staff turnover rates are high.

The average turnover rate for assisted living staff is 50 percent annually. This means you may not enjoy long-term companionship or care from the same workers.

Pro — Assisted living relieves stress on caregivers.

Caring for someone with significant needs can put a strain on the family. Assisted living and skilled nursing care facilities ensure these needs are met.

Con — Assisted living may not provide 24/7 skilled nursing care.

If you require day-and-night supervision due to a medical issue, then you’ll be better off in a skilled nursing facility where you can get the care you need.

Prolonging your independence

No one has a crystal ball to see into the future. However, there are things you can do in the present that will give you a better chance at maintaining your independence and living in your own home. This starts at the dinner table.

Eating a variety of healthy foods and turning your back on boxed and bagged store shelf products gives your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy. Stock up on healthy snacks like apples and nuts and avoid unhealthy options like chips and candy bars. You should also consume a healthy breakfast that can give you the energy needed to face the day. Exercise and mental stimulation can also go a long way toward keeping your mind and body strong and healthy. The AARP has an extensive library on the subject of senior longevity.

If you’re in danger of falling or injuring yourself in your current home, you can prolong your independence by finding an accessible home. When searching for homes, pay close attention to the accessibility features that are already built into the home. Ideally, you should be looking for features like wide doorways, ramps, and control panels that can be easily reached from a seated position. Additionally, you should assess your own abilities and limitations when determining what type of home would work best for you. Peruse real estate listings online and filter for accessibility to see what’s available in your area.

Whether you think independent living or assisted living is right for you, take the time to research the drawbacks and benefits of each. By understanding these options, along with knowing how you’ll pay for long-term care, you’re placing yourself in a position of power and reducing the financial and emotional burden on your family. If you’re planning on living independently, make sure to prioritize your nutrition and find an accessible home.

If you’re a senior looking for a more accessible home, realtor Laura Harbison can help. Call (702) 777-1234 to get your search started!

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