You may find yourself in the unenviable position of choosing
the right living situation for a loved one. As a loving spouse, parent, child
or friend, you take your responsibility seriously. You want to choose a living
environment that is safe and comfortable but may be unsure where to start.
Perhaps the best place to begin is to remind yourself of what your loved one
could gain by making a change in their living arrangements.
Benefits of Living in the Right Environment
Living in the right environment can help your loved one live
life to its fullest. You can extend your loved one’s independence by providing
an environment with the appropriate level of medical and personal care.
Accepting a little help walking, today, for example, can reduce the risk for a
debilitating hip fracture, tomorrow. The living situation should be as
supportive as possible, while still fostering a sense of independence.
A new home often brings new experiences, interests, and friendships
in a way that combats loneliness and isolation, which are significant problems
in older populations. In fact, a February 2014 paper by University of Chicago
professor of psychology John Cacioppo shows that extreme loneliness is twice as
unhealthy for older people as obesity. The study shows that, in comparison to
an average person, loneliness caused a 14 percent increase in the risk for
The right living environment provides peace of mind for you,
your loved one, and the rest of your family. Choosing the proper level of
supervision for your loved one helps everyone sleep soundly at night.
Determine Your Loved One’s Needs
Your loved one’s living situation should reflect his or her
personal and medical needs. Start by asking your loved one where they would
like to live, while assuring them you will try to accommodate their wishes.
Then ask their physician about your loved one’s medical needs. Discuss your
findings with other family members to gain their input. Finally, visit with
home care agencies, assisted living facilities and nursing homes in your area
to learn about the various services they provide.
Home care agencies offer a wide variety of services to help you loved one stay at home. Services may include personal care, homemaking, meals, help managing money, and more.
Staying at home may be a good idea if your loved one:
• Has a close network of friends and family members who live nearby and are willing to help
• Has easy access to transportation that does not include driving
• Lives in a safe neighborhood
• Lives in a home that can be modified with handrails, ramps and other safety devices
• Is not overwhelmed with housework or yard chores
• Does not require a high level of medical care
Is willing to reach out for help and support
Assisted Living Facility
An assisted living facility provides a moderate amount of personal and medical care to your loved one. You may wish to consider an assisted living facility if your loved one:
• Needs minor assistance with housekeeping, dressing, cooking, and other activities of daily living
• Does not need round-the-clock medical care
• Wants to live in a place free from upkeep and maintenance
Likes the idea of socializing and easy access to interesting
Nursing homes provide the maximum amount of medical care and supervision. A nursing home may be the appropriate residence for your loved one if:
• Their chronic medical and personal care needs become too great to handle at home, even with professional in-home care
• They have temporary medical needs that require short-term attention by a trained medical staff
Contact a local home care agency for more information on the types of living arrangements appropriate for your loved one.