Many people act proactively and consider a senior or assisted living facility at the right juncture in their life, long before they need it. That’s the right way to do it too. But to be fair, there are many fears and factors that lead to others delaying these plans until it’s very late or until circumstances force them to decide quickly without enough time for due diligence. So, let’s dispel some of these fears and misconceptions that prevent us from planning for our golden years or that of our loved ones. Because, well, there is a lot to be said about being proactive and planning for what could well be the best years of a person’s life! What is the right time to move into a senior living facility? How can you plan ahead for the move to assisted living, for yourself or a beloved elder in your family?
Be proactive, not reactive.
In many cases, the assisted living option is considered only when something goes wrong; such as when a fall or illness reduces mobility or causes some infirmity, making some sort of assistance necessary. This means that you have to make a hurried decision while you’re likely to be under significant stress. You may not have the time to examine all options and make a truly informed choice. Here you’re forced to react to a situation that you had not planned for or even envisaged. Why wait till something goes wrong?! Be proactive and plan now to make the most of your later years.
While most people save for their later years, there are other aspects of the later years that fewer people consider. You must clarify to yourself your preferences for senior living and make sure that your family is also aware of your wishes and preferences for long term care. Your choices should be based on your lifestyle, your hobbies and your level of activity. Your choices also have to factor in financial resources, insurance, Medicare coverage and so on. One study estimated the cost of home care at over $44,000 and assisted living costs upward of $43,000 a year, so there are significant costs to factor in. Perhaps you may also want to give a thought to other eventualities by making a will, a living will (spelling out your healthcare wishes to family and physicians) and designating a power of attorney.
Planning ahead for this is not only practical because it makes provisions for future eventualities, it actually gives you great peace of mind and enhances your overall wellbeing. One Proactive Aging study found that such advance planning can help to ease and improve the wellbeing of elder people; reducing the usual stress of aging. Those who looked after their health, have familial support and planned ahead were seen to have the best quality of life.
“I wish I’d done this sooner.”
One 2009 study demonstrates that people who join an independent living retirement community are more likely to try out new experiences and make new friends. Most seniors who become a part of such a community report that their experiences were more positive than they expected. So how should you find the right community? Visit assisted living facilities in Fort Mill to meet the caregivers, get a firsthand idea of the facilities available and gauge the happiness levels of the seniors there, even long before you need the services yourself. This way, you will surely end up making the right assisted living facility choice. Then when the time comes to move in, you’ll be glad you did your homework much in advance.
Most seniors then revel in the positive atmosphere they find. They are further cheered by the fact that many of the other residents turn out to be fun, like-minded people with whom they engage in fulfilling, meaningful and enjoyable activities. In fact, “I wish I’d done this sooner,” is an oft expressed sentiment!
Becoming a part of such a community can have so many benefits: there are activities that not just occupy your time but do so meaningfully. You can choose to involve yourself in events that challenge you to remain mentally agile and physically active; both vital components of healthy aging. You make valuable new connections and forge new friendships. You join and become integrated into a community which becomes a valuable support system for you and which in turn values you. Now in the unfortunate event of an illness or a fall that reduces your mobility or otherwise restricts you, you are already part of a community that is helpful and sympathetic to your recovery process.
More reasons to plan ahead.
If you are worried about the costs of moving into assisted living you may also want to consider the hidden, often overlooked costs of living at home. At this stage of your life, you’ve probably paid off your mortgage. However, there are maintenance and running costs of a house to deal with. Repairs, replacements, upkeep costs and security systems can add up to quite a lot. In fact, the annual maintenance costs of an average home total up to about 1% to 3% of the price of the house. You also have to factor in costs that may be incurred in making elder related modifications to a house, since only about 1% of homes are suitably equipped for elders.
Having a plan in place does not mean making a shift right away. It is about considering and knowing what you want. It is about identifying your new home. It is about planning for your own future happiness and wellbeing. You can find out about plans, inclusions and pricing details by calling (704) 661-8183. Plan ahead for assisted living today; so that you don’t find yourself saying “I wish I’d done this sooner” later.