Dear Family Resource,
Mom is 89, lives alone, and has really slowed down. She used to be socially active but many of her friends have passed and she spends a lot of time alone. I take her shopping and to the doctor but she says she’s lonely and wants to move to some kind of senior residence. But she’s not sick, just old. I know there are different types of places for seniors to live but I don’t know what to look for, or how to choose one. Can you help?
It’s great that your mom wants to stay socially engaged. Studies show that keeping up friendships and social activities is as important to maintaining an older person’s physical and mental health as good nutrition and exercise! You and your mom have lots of options.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC), offer what we call “a continuum of care.” They have accommodations for independent living such as small apartments with or without a kitchen, community dining, assisted living, and long-term care. CCRCs offer social activities from book discussions to movie nights to arts and crafts to live music events. A person can spend the rest of her life in a CCRC, moving between levels of care as needed.
Another option is an Adult Family Home (AFH). These are residential homes licensed to care for up to six residents who share communal space and meals. AFHs provide room, board, laundry, necessary supervision, and help with activities of daily living, personal care, and social services as needed. Or you might want to look into apartment buildings that cater primarily to older adults. With this option, your mom would have other seniors nearby with whom to socialize but there are no added services or organized activities.
I highly recommend that you hire an eldercare consultant or care manager to do an assessment of your mom’s needs, wishes, and finances. They will be able to show you what is available that fits your mom’s needs and finances.
Finally, if after all this your mom decides to stay in her own home, you can contact a home care agency like Family Resource Home Care. Our caregivers provide wonderful Companion Care offering the type of social interaction that helps seniors lead richer lives. If down the road, your mom needs more help, it is simple to add additional services such as housekeeping, meal planning, and personal care.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to stay involved and make sure nothing is overlooked because you only want your mother to have to move once!