Housing - Know the Options

Older adults may soon need to consider alternatives to how they live. But they
may be reluctant to leave a long-time residence and give up some
independence. Ultimately it's got to be their decisions. What you can do is help
them review their options.

What Are the Options? The good news
is that older adults have plenty of
choices, such as:

* Move In With Adult Children Parents may move into the adult child's home,
live in an accessory apartment attached to it, or stay in an Elder Cottage
Housing Opportunity (ECHO), a temporary cottage put up on the adult child's

* Homesharing In this option,
two or more unrelated older
people share a house or
apartment. Each usually has his
or her own bedroom, but they
share the kitchen, other living
space, and sometimes the
bathroom. They share household
chores too. Sometimes an older
homeowner who prefers not to
live alone or who needs the
income rents rooms to other older persons. Some homesharing occurs when
the older homeowner shares the home with someone in exchange for
assistance with cooking, cleaning, and other chores. Some larger homes are
sponsored by faith-based or community groups. Shared housing usually costs
less than other rental options. While public assistance will not typically cover
the rent or shared expenses, people sometimes contribute chores as a share
of their rent.

* Foster Care Some families will take in an older person who needs help with
daily living. The foster family cooks meals and handles laundry. Ideally, the
older adult becomes a surrogate family member and receives emotional
support and companionship as well. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may
cover the cost of foster care.

* Board and Care Homes In these homes, the residence provides room,
meals, and help with daily activities. It's an attractive option for folks who need
some assistance. In general, board and care homes are smaller in scale than
assisted living residences. But they're not always licensed, and aren't always
monitored by local authorities. In some states, board and care homes can
provide some nursing services, but they are not medical facilities.

* Congregate Housing/Senior Retirement Communities Call these senior
retirement apartments. Residents who are mobile and can take care of
themselves live in their own units in buildings but share some meals in a central
dining room and take advantage of housekeeping services. The residence
often provides a variety of social and recreational activities. Rental fees vary
widely, and meals and other services cost extra. There is usually no entrance
fee. Some residences receive public subsidies that help keep rents down, but
these places often have long waiting lists and stringent income requirements.

* Assisted Living Residences These residences provide housing for those
who cannot live independently but don't need skilled nursing care. The level of
assistance varies among residences and may include help with bathing,
dressing, meals, and housekeeping. Costs at assisted living residences vary
sharply depending upon the services required.

* Nursing Homes The most widely recognized option, these residences offer
skilled nursing care and substantial long-term assistance. These homes
provide medical and personal care and meals. Bedrooms and baths may be
privateóalthough only for private-pay residents or shared. Medicare may
provide brief, short-term coverage following a hospitalization. Medicaid may
offer coverage to residents who meet medical and financial eligibility

* Continuing Care Retirement Communities These facilities provide a
variety of housing options and services located on the same campus. These
communities are designed to meet the changing needs of older people. A
common scenario involves the older resident, who starts out living
independently in a separate apartment, moving to an assisted living unit when
he or she needs help with daily activities. Residents can stay periodically in the
nursing unit when they need ongoing skilled nursing care. Prices vary, and this
option may not work financially for some older people. Be ready for a sizable
entrance fee and monthly charges.

Genwich Life Services LLC

"Successfully guiding multi generational families through life stage planning"