There are numerous living arrangements to think about as we age. What type will meet your needs? Which will you enjoy most? Which is most cost-effective, not just upfront but over the entirety of your life?
Options are endless and each has its pros and cons. You will need to balance what you can afford, with the level of living and healthcare assistance you will need when you consider what is best for you. Your options may include:
- Retirement Village living,
- Staying in the larger family home (with care support services coming to you, when needed),
- Buying or renting a strata title apartment or a smaller house,
- Moving into a home park,
- A granny flat attached to your children’s house,
- An independent living unit (sometimes called low care units),
- Living with friends in a share house,
- Living permanently on a cruise ship (some people are doing it!), and
- A nursing home.
Which is Best?
When considering what is “best” for you, think about:
- What will increase or maintain your emotional wellbeing?
- Can you and your life partner remain together, even if you each have differing care and health needs?
- Your social community (a common issue as people age is social isolation – it important to remain socially active).
- The costs of the accommodation over your lifetime – don’t just think about the upfront purchase costs, but the daily costs and the costs when you leave that accommodation.
- Accessibility in and around the accommodation (for example, does it have too many steps which you may find difficult to use, is there only a bathtub with high sides which you can no longer easily step in and out of).
- Will you be able to continue to live in the accommodation if your health deteriorates and you need more support or care? This is sometimes called “aging in place”.
- Public facilities near the accommodation. Will you need public transport? Do you like going to the local swimming pool or gym for exercise? Are the shops, banks, library, and other services you use nearby?
- Your ability to understand, manage and advocate for your rights and responsibilities relevant to the type of accommodation your choose.
While facilities specifically built to meet the needs of older residents are rapidly increasing in number, these types of accommodation in particular have complex and often confusing terms and conditions regarding YOUR rights and responsibilities, and the rights and responsibilities of the accommodation provider.
Your decision regarding your living arrangements as you age is probably one of the most important life decisions you will make, so get the best information you can so you fully understand what you are signing up to.
Contact Faileen James for professional assistance on determining the best living arrangements for you or an older person you care for. With over 20 years experience in social services and nursing, Faileen understands the multiple factors that must be addressed before determining the place that will best meet your needs as you age.