Written by Harry Cline, NewCaregiver.org 

Structural modifications, safety precautions, and technological upgrades can make it easier for older adults to age in place. From handrails in the bathroom to automatic chair lifts, there are many ways to make a home more livable and senior-friendly.

However, seniors who struggle to perform activities of daily living or lack support at home may need the care that assisted living can provide. If you face this situation, be aware that there are several factors to consider – including your physical stability, available support network, and financial situation – before coming to a decision. To help you consider your options, Community Senior Life offers the following guidance.

Advantages of Aging in Place 

Most older adults prefer to age in place and maintain total, or near-total, autonomy. Remaining at home keeps you close to cherished memories, family and friends, and places you know well. If you need assistance from time to time, you may be able to call on loved ones, friends, or neighbors. For a senior who can function more or less independently, purchasing a senior-friendly property or adapting your current home may be perfectly viable options.

Buying a Senior-Friendly Home 

Finding a new home that suits your physical needs takes patience and plenty of research. You’ll probably need the help of a realtor who has experience working with seniors. Online resources are scant, so someone who knows the real estate market inside-out is not just an advantage; it’s a necessity. Spend plenty of time surveying the market, and keep a close eye on areas where you want to live. If cost is an obstacle, there are government resources that can make accessible housing more affordable.

Community Senior Life offers homeownership opportunities at Live Oak Village, the Gulf Coast’s premier active-lifestyle gated community for age-qualified owners. Located in Foley, Alabama, Live Oak Village’s gated retirement community is made up of three subdivisions, each offering different features and benefits. All three are conveniently located near shopping and medical centers and under fifteen miles to the beach, making it an ideal retirement destination!

Modifying a Home

Modifying your home is a sensible option, especially if you’re having trouble finding a property that meets your living requirements. “Modifying” can mean anything from widening narrow doorways to outfitting bathrooms with proper safety features.

The baseline cost of modifying a one-story residence can be as high as $10,000, so carefully compare the cost of a home modification to the price of assisted living. Paying a five-figure invoice to upgrade a home may not be a good idea if there’s a possibility you’ll need ongoing care, which may not be available.

Advantages of Assisted Living

If living on your own has become burdensome, it’s probably time to explore assisted living. Assisted living liberates you from the upkeep, expense and stress of maintaining a home while receiving the necessary level of assistance and support.

At our Community Senior Life communities, residents have plenty of opportunities for socializing, exercise, and group activities. You can make new friends or keep to yourself if you prefer. In addition to medical assistance, assisted living provides help with everyday needs like bathing, dressing, and medication management.

Cost of Assisted Living

Look for a community that includes caregiving services, food, transportation, and other services in its monthly fee. The average monthly cost of assisted living is about $4,000 a month, so try to find a facility that includes basic services with your monthly payment.

Finding the right living situation is as much about finance as it is about logistics, amenities, and quality of life. Those are all factors that have to be considered. Ultimately, your health condition and mobility will dictate whether you continue to live at home or require the ongoing care that an assisted living community provides.

To learn more about our assisted living communities in Fairhope, Foley, Madison, and Montgomery, Alabama, we invite you to visit our website.

Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.