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Choosing the Right Living Situations for Your Loved One

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 death.

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.

In-Home Care

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 activities

Nursing Home

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.