Everyone knows what assisted living and retirement homes are, but no one knows what they are truly like until they at least go for a visit. In truth, you won’t know precisely what living in a retirement facility is like unless or until you actually stay there. At the same time, you can get a lot of detailed and anecdotal information on retirement home living by doing a little background investigative work. The first thing you should know is that retirement homes and assisted living facilities can be one and the same, or entirely different. Second, each individual facility has its own rules and merits, so you have to know how you want to live in order to find the places most suitable for your needs. Here is all the dirt on retirement and assisted living.
What Really Goes on in Retirement Homes?
Retirement facilities are generally quiet, orderly places where the aging population goes to live in peace. At a certain age, many people find it too difficult or burdensome to continue living in their private homes. Concerns related to maintaining their homes or even keeping up with household bills can start to wear on people as they reach their golden years. In addition, health concerns might also be a reason for them to start considering living in assisted living. Facilities that cater to older people are created with them in mind. So, there will be fewer stairs, more ramps, and better tools for them to stay active and independent.
Assisted Living – Not Just for the Elderly
Now, another distinction that has to be made between retirement homes and assisted living facilities is that they are not all unilaterally created with older folks in mind. Anyone with a disability or severe injury may be moved into assisted living, no matter their age. With retirement homes, virtually the only people living there are those who have reached their 70s, 80s, and beyond. In retirement homes, residents can live completely on their own. They don’t necessarily have nurses or home healthcare aides who care for them. They can live in their own apartments or even houses, only coming in contact with staff as needed. By comparison, assisted living is much more hands on.
Making the Choice to Go into Assisted Living
No matter whether you are considering a retirement home or assisted living, you have to make the choice as to what is right for you. Some people have detailed, long-term retirement plans where they go ahead and pre-pay for space at assisted living facilities. They sometimes do this as space can be limited. In other cases, going to live in assisted living is a matter of circumstance. If you lose mobility or just find that living on your own has become too difficult, then going into an assisted living facility might be your best and only choice. The good news is that you can still expect to maintain some level of independence, no matter where you go.
How Retirement Facilities Compare
Facilities for the aging are all unique and different when you compare them by facility, region, level of care, and other factors. You may start looking at retirement homes in the southeast part of the United States because the weather is warmer and the cost of living is generally lower. On the other hand, assisted living facilities in the northeast are known to have a very high standard of care for residents. So, if you have any medical issues or concerns, this might be an ideal place for you to start looking. You have to compare each facility individually to get the best information.
Getting Brochures and Promotional Information
While you can go for a visit and see how different places compare, it is easiest to just look at the promotional materials that you can find in person and on the internet first. Brandywine Living has a comprehensive website that shows what their assisted living facilities actually look like. Find a location that is close to your existing home, or look for one that is in a part of the country that you have always wanted to live. Look at various brochures, websites, fliers, and other materials so that you get a good look at all of your assisted living options.
How Much It Costs to Live in a Retirement Home
Figuring out how much it costs to live in a retirement home or assisted living facility is kind of like trying to determine how much it will cost to buy a house. All houses cost different amounts of money. While you may prefer to live in a mansion, you could only be able to afford to purchase a modest condo. Likewise, a home in one part of the country could be three to four times as much as a comparable home somewhere else. The long story short is that people are urged to prepare financially for retirement in advance for good reason. In addition to retirement home and assisted living costs, you have to pay for all of the extras. So, if you are planning to go to the movies every week or even purchase a new car, all those costs also have to be calculated.
Awards, Accolades, and Other Ratings
Interestingly enough, assisted living and retirement facilities are often rated and awarded on different scales. First and foremost, most states keep track of retirement facilities, how safe they are, the number of complaints made, et cetera. The best facilities often receive awards and recognitions, making it easier for those looking for a high standard of care to find them. If you become interested in any place specifically, see how it has been rated, monitored, and awarded in the past.
Seeking the Opinions of Residents
If you can, talk to people who already live at the assisted living facility you are thinking of moving into. Existing residents have the best firsthand information you can get access to. While you will get honest answers, you also have to consider any biases or grievances they might have. Therefore, talk to several residents and don’t just base your choice on the opinions of one person.
Most, if not all of what you need to know about different retirement and assisted living communities can be found online. People of all ages are increasingly using the web to do reach and find contact information. Now that you have the dirt on retirement and assisted living facilities, you will be much better off when you make your ultimate choice.