Planning For The Future
By CarePatrol of Western Michigan-Grand Rapids East
If people were surveyed, I suspect most would want to die in their sleep. It seems like such a peaceful way to go. And according to statistics, approximately 1 in 8 people will do just that. But, even if you’re the “one,” you don’t know in what condition you’ll be prior to your death or at what age it will happen. No one knows, which makes planning for the final stages of life difficult and something many don’t even want to consider.
In the past five years, I’ve worked with the senior population, and with the hundreds of people I’ve worked with, I see four controllable elements that make a difference in living the best life possible. Those things are eating right, exercising, taking medications correctly, and socializing. Not eating right, sitting for hours a day watching TV, forgetting to take medication (or taking too much) and being isolated leads to hospitalization and rehabilitation stays for many seniors.
Though many people want to stay in their homes until they die, staying there does not offer the advantages that are offered when moving to a senior living community. When I was younger, this meant going to a nursing home. Things have definitely changed since then, and there are many living options that will add years to your life, and life to your years.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) offer independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled care normally all on the same campus. The advantage of moving into a CCRC is that no matter what level of care you need, the CCRC has a place for you to get the care you need.
Generally, if you qualify financially to be in a CCRC, if you outlive your funds through no fault of your own, a benevolent fund can allow you to stay in the community through end-of-life.
When moving into the independent living area of a CCRC, many times a large payment from between $80,000 and $300,000, depending on the community and the size of the apartment, is required. A monthly payment is also made. CCRC’s tend to be quite large and many offer amenities, such as a pool, meals, exercise room, covered garages, and on-site medical care.
Independent Living Facilities are stand-alone communities that provide apartments for seniors as well as meals, housekeeping, linen service (Who doesn’t like to have their sheets changed weekly?) activities on- and off-site, as well as transportation to doctor’s appointments and stores.
Many of these facilities offer “in-home” care that can come to your apartment to assist with medication management and general care. There is no buy-in, as with the CCRC’s, but the monthly rate tends to be higher. These are not licensed facilities.
Assisted Living Facilities in Michigan are licensed as Homes for the Aged (over 20 residents to the building) and Adult Foster Care (20 and under residents to the building). These facilities provide a room, medication management, meals, housekeeping, laundry, activities, and care. This can include help with personal care, such as dressing, bathing, grooming, transfers, and toileting.
Some assisted living facilities now offer residents assistance by two people or even a mechanical lift, which many times can eliminate the need to move to skilled nursing facilities. Some assisted living facilities have secured memory care units, which are designed to keep dementia patients, who may attempt to leave the facility, safe.
Which option is right for you? This depends on many things including your care needs, your health situation, your finances, in what area you would like to live, and, if you need a place quickly, who has an opening. A professional placement service can save you time and effort by learning about your specific situation and providing options that fit your needs. These services are generally free to the client and paid by the network of communities.