I was at Ridgewood High School talking to freshmen about money decisions and their future.
In our spending simulation game that we are playing, I tell the students that they are now 27 years old. They work full-time and their spouse is a full-time student.
One student asked in disbelief, “My spouse is still in high school?” That’s when I realized I had to be more specific, full-time college student. Sometimes, no matter how old we are, it can be difficult to imagine ourselves older in the future.
My colleague Kathy Tutt, a Clark County counselor, recently wrote an article about housing for older adults on the OSU Extension Live Healthy Live Well blog. Tutt says that as America ages, the retirement housing industry has grown exponentially over the past decade, offering a wide variety of housing and care options for today’s and tomorrow’s seniors. Understanding the housing options on offer can make your choice easier.
My husband and I have thought a lot about this for his mother over the past few years. His move to Coshocton County changed his usual 10-minute drive to a 2.5-hour drive to visit. Despite this, he remains the closest of his siblings. She is surrounded by an extended family and many friends that make the thought of moving away from the farm very unattractive to her.
If you choose to stay at home, think about possible changes that can be made around your home to make your later years easier. This concept of making the home more accessible and safe is called universal design. The Virtual Universal Design Tour features ideas for modifications that can be made to your home at go.osu.edu/universaldesign.
The next option is to move to an outside facility. Understanding the different options is important in making your decisions. Here is a brief overview of housing options for older people:
independent life refers to a shared-living lifestyle designed specifically for those who have reached or are approaching retirement age but wish to remain active and independent.
Assisted living is a collaborative lifestyle for seniors who need help with various daily tasks such as grooming, bathing and medication management, but still want to remain as independent as possible.
Competent care is a level of care provided by a registered nurse who monitors and treats a patient’s medical condition 24 hours a day.
nursing homes offer personalized service, often in a standard single-family home, but are usually only state-licensed for two to six beds.
long-term care refers to any church that provides 24-hour care on a long-term basis. Support generally includes regular monitoring, assistance with activities of daily living as needed, medication reminders, housekeeping, meals, and social activities.
memory maintenance is long-term care that helps people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Remembrance care is provided either in a stand-alone community or as an adjunct service in some assisted living facilities, senior communities with ongoing care, and nursing homes.
Tutt says that housing decisions are unique to everyone and depend on personal preferences, financial resources, and care needs. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging offers “A Guide for Making Housing Decisions,” which provides more detailed information on housing options for older adults.
Today I leave you with a quote from Tad Williams: “Never make your home in one place. Create a home in your own mind. You’ll find what you need to set it up – memory, friends you can trust, enjoyment of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you everywhere.”
Emily Marrison is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and can be reached at 740-622-2265.