When is it time for Assisted Living?

It is never too early to discuss assisted living – or alternative living arrangements – with our elderly parents. As with most things in life, communication and caring are key; keep in mind the range of emotions that they may experience on this subject. The decision will be much easier and less painful for all if it is discussed before a decision needs to be made or action needs to be taken.

When is Action Needed?

Living on their own as long as possible is the best alternative for a sense of control over their lives. There are situations however that prompt action:

  • a spouse dies
  • one becomes physically incapacitated
  • one increasingly becomes less mentally fit

Alternative Resources

assisted livingThere are several types of resources upon whom the elderly can call on in order to prolong their living at home…

  1. family members – preferably more than one!
  2. neighbors (friends in close proximity who have the inclination and schedule availability)
  3. elder care (state and local government programs designed to aid the elderly)

Note that the elderly will not call upon the people who can be their resources- the resources, whether it is their adult children or concerned friends or family members, must initiate the discussion and volunteer the assistance. Insistence may be necessary yet we must always be sensitive to people’s feelings and desires.

Assisted Living

‘Assisted Living’ typically refers to living in a facility where one’s needs are provided by a caring staff; however, it can also have less drastic (and/or costly) instances:

  • moving in with a family member
  • a family member moving in with the parent
  • a resource network that can provide for the elderly while continuing to live alone

As our seniors age, there are basic activities that become increasing difficult for them and are indicators of a need for assisted living:

  1. home maintenance
  2. shopping, errands
  3. transportation
  4. house cleaning
  5. laundry
  6. cooking
  7. bathing

The earlier activities listed are easier to manage through alternative resources. When cooking (and certainly bathing) becomes difficult for the elderly to manage, it is time to take action!

Retirement locations… best and worst

It’s no secret that our society is much more mobile than we were a few decades ago. It used to be that people would live their entire lives in one community – their children would be there too. Today, we may live where our career brought us, and our children are spread far and wide.

Retirement has the advantage of being a milestone. An opportunity to ask ourselves,  “Where would I really like to live?” And more specifically then, “In my sunset years, would I prefer a more rural (or urban) setting?”, or “I really prefer a warmer (cooler?) climate!”, or even “I want to live closer to my (grand) children!”. “You know, I always wanted to live near the [fill in: beach, mountains, desert].” Some, having spent 2-3 years in a foreign country as part of their corporate career or taught a foreign language for thirty years, became enchanted with that culture and wish to live in that culture permanently.

I recently came across a couple articles that got my mind stirring and I want to share them with you:

The worst… states in which to retire

MoneyRates.com ranked the U.S. states in regards to desirability for retirement living. They based their findings on: economic factors, climate, life expectancy, and crime rate. Remember that these rankings are based on the state as a whole and not individual areas within the state. The least desirable according to Worst Places to Retire: MoneyRates.com Lists the Lowest Ranked States (‘1’ being the least desirable) areretirement places:

10. Wisconsin
9. New York
8. Washington
7. Rhode Island
6. Maryland
5. Alaska
4. Connecticut
3. Massachusetts
2. Michigan
1. Maine

The best… states in which to retire

The top ten most desirable U.S. states according to Best Places to Retire: Latest MoneyRates.com Survey Ranks Top States in ascending order are:

10. Kansas
9. Tennessee
8. South Dakota
7. Mississippi
6. Virginia
5. Louisiana
4. Iowa
3. Oklahoma
2. Kentucky
1. Texas

The best… abroad

And to be fair to the more adventurous among us, I found Best Places to
Retire Abroad in which AARP  lists their top ten destination countries for American retirees (in alphabetical order):

  • Argentina
  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • France
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Portugal
  • Spain

What do you think- stay put or relocate for retirement? Let us know your thoughts!